Today I picked my first proper crop of pimientos de padron. Technically this isn’t the first of my chillies that I’ve eaten – but certainly the first time that I’ve managed to pick more than one at a time. Naturally they went into the pan, got fried and then covered in salt. Yum!
It has been very hot and dry in Sydney over the last few weeks/month. This, combined with the small pots that some of my chillies are in, means that my fruit have not been as large as could be expected – they dry out and shrivel quite easily. The red ones have been on the bush too long (hoping they would get bigger), while the big green one is probably about 7cm long. Tall plants in small pots also have a habit of getting knocked over in the wind – so the sensible solution is to re-pot a few sizes larger.
In the picture above you can see quite how small my current pots are. Having been to the local hardware store I am appalled at quite how expensive plastic pots are – over $2 a pot for the nastiest of ‘cheap’ pots. So I am using plastic buckets that I’ve sourced from the local supermarket. The deli section gets its mayonnaise and cake icing delivered in them and then they get thrown out – so if you ask nicely you can get a whole bunch of them for free. All they need is a few holes drilled around the bottom rim for drainage.
You can see from the roots that it is indeed time for larger pots. Of course you don’t want to leave plants heavily pot-bound permanently, but letting them get a little bound certainly makes repotting easier because it holds all the soil to the roots while you knock them out of their pots. Before long these root balls will have grown out into their new soil.
And finally a picture of the chilli grove with its new up-sized pots. I’m always impressed how quickly chillies are appearing on each plant – but it is quite a challenge to keep them all adequately watered. Hopefully this will help things along.