One of the most important things you need to do to maximize the growth of your chilli plants, particularly in early spring when the days are short, is to maximize the amount of light they are getting. Without large amounts of light growth rates slow down and the number of ripe chillies you can harvest later in the season will fall.
This can be an issue if you are growing pepper plants here in the UK and don’t have either a greenhouse of nice sunny south facing window sill. Of course you can boost the light your plants receive by using artificial lighting but as i discussed in my last post there are cheaper ways to increase the light levels.
One of the easiest (not to mention cheapest) ways to boost light levels is to build a light reflector like the one below. The aim of this is to reflect the light coming through the window back onto the plants. This should ensure that your plants get the light they need from all angles.
Here is what you’ll need for the build;
- some flat cardboard
- some pva glue
- a roll of aluminum kitchen foil
1. First off measure and cut your cardboard. The size you require will depend on what size of chilli plants you are going to be growing.
2. Score the cardboard (or simply bend it) so that it forms a shallow ‘U’ shape. By surrounding 3 sides of the plants with the reflector, more of the light coming in through the window will be bounced around onto the plants.
3. Coat one side of the cardboard with glue then cover with aluminum foil, smoothing down with your hands to minimize any creases/bubbles. Alternatively you can simply tape the foil onto the card as in the picture above.
I get so many emails from readers asking what the trouble is with their young chilli plants. At this time of year (late winter/early spring) the answer is virtually always either lack of light or lack of heat.
The above method is great for making the most of the natural daylight if your keeping your plants on a windowsill. However be aware that a windowsill is often the coldest place in the house at night when temperatures can drop significantly. As a result i recommend you always move you plants away from windows at night.