The not so solid guide to overwintering peppers – AKA our first attempt

Eddie loves peppers, hot, mild, dry, flaked, pickled, fresh – it doesn’t matter; he loves them all. We started our garden this year with multiple varieties, Pasilla, Guajillo, anchos, and Serranos as starts from ChilePlants.com. We picked up, green bell, a lunchbox variety, and a few others from Annies Annuals. And we planted jalapeño, shishitos, and pepperoncini from seed.

 
 We had vastly varying degrees of success based on where they were planted, when they were planted and how good the soil was. I really believe our first batch of soil we picked up was more mulch and dead things (not in a good way) than actual good soil – it being the start of the pandemic and all. And some of our plants suffered for it this spring.


As winter looms, we’ve had more than a few salads with fresh peppers, a batch or two of pickles to enjoy, and a lovely decorative section in the kitchen of peppers hanging to dry either for sauces or powder later on. 


Our trouble, as with many others is, we live in a mild climate (Zone 10); it takes a bit for the summer months to get warm; once it does heat up, we just don’t have enough warms days left for more than a few rounds of papers to fruit before again, it gets too cold for them to produce and we’re left with limp pants and discolored fruits. 


But after a few YouTube videos from some of our favorite CA gardeners (Epic Gardening and Next Level Gardening), we decided we’d give overwintering a try this year. 


What we did

 Once it looked like we had harvested what we could, and another round of fruit was unlikely, we

  • Pruned back drastically, taking everything off past the first or 2nd Y depending on how the plant looked. 
  • We then prepped a 3 gallon grow bag – we got ours from here, with fresh soil, a good neutral fertilizer, 
  • gently we transplanted the “sticks” from the box into the grow bag. 
  • We gave them a nice water and moved them to a sheltered area in our carport/potting area.

Hopefully, these babies will keep over the winter. Once it starts warming up in March/April, we’ll move the back out to the garden into the larger beds. I’ll make sure to keep you updated on their progress. 


Have you tried overwintering any plants?

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