Main : 2001 : That Old Tepin Plant

Mike's Pepper Garden

That Old Tepin Plant

As detailed in Overwinter 2000, I kept a Tepin plant (B3) from the 2000 season indoors that winter. Despite losing almost all of its leaves and having about 10% of its stems die, the Tepin made an excellent recovery once springlike temperatures allowed it to return to an outdoor environment.

I moved it back out onto the porch the first week in April 2001, and within 3 days it was putting out new growth at its nodes. By the beginning of May, about half the nodes on the plant showed new growth, some of which was fairly extensive.

The first week of May, I repotted the Tepin from an 8" clay pot to a 10" clay pot. It showed a good, thoroughly-developed root structure but did not appear to be rootbound. By the third week of May, about 90% of the nodes showed new growth, most of which was very extensive. Some new growth was also occurring off of the main stem, and the first few buds were just forming.

The first flower opened on the Tepin on 8 June, exactly 62 days after the plant was moved back outside. It did not take long for the flowers to turn to fruit; the Tepin set its first fruit of the season 2 days later on 10 June. I made the first harvest on 7 August, 122 days after moving the plant outside. The seemingly long period of time between fruit set and first harvest (approximately 2 months) was no surprise, as the three Tepins I grew in 2000 all showed a similarly long ripening period.

The harvest began in earnest in late August and continued through late October. Because I began moving to another house in late October, I did not do a very good job of keeping up with the multitude of ripe Tepins, and many of them ended up drying naturally on the plant over the winter. All told, I harvested 490 peppers off of that old Tepin plant during 2001, and I don't doubt that at least half that number remained on the plant unharvested.

Comparing the 2001 harvest volume to the 307 peppers that I got off of the same plant during its first season shows the benefit of overwintering some types of pepper plants, especially ones that are slow to produce ripe fruit. The dramatic change in plant size between its first and second seasons and the corresponding increase in pod yield was in keeping with results I obtained in 1999 and 2000 with a Tabasco plant, which is also an excellent candidate for overwintering (see That Old Tabasco Plant).

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