Archive for the 'Beneficial insects' Category


Are Peppers Self Fertile?


I grew these Peppers from seed back in February. They are pretty sturdy plants right now and they were starting to flower. When I told someone that I was growing them in pots in my greenhouse she questioned whether they would need pollinating by insects. Something that wouldn’t necessarily happen in the greenhouse.

I must admit it hadn’t crossed my mind. I think because I think I read somewhere that Peppers are self-fertile and don’t need pollination (a bit like Tomatoes). But it got me worried. So I looked into it.

The definitive answer is yes, Peppers are self-fertile. Although, the correct phrase is self-pollinating. Each flower has both male and female parts and pollinates itself as it opens.

If you want to be on the safe side then you can shake or tap the stem to vibrate the plant and release the pollen. Or you can take an artist’s brush and twirl it around in the flowers. But there shouldn’t be any need if they are grown in normal conditions.


The proof of this is that all my Pepper plants (both Bell Peppers and Chilli Peppers) have set fruit without any hand pollination. Temperatures in the greenhouse are a little high right now and so I have brought them out into the garden. Mainly, to make them easier to water.

I might think about planting them in the ground too if the hot weather continues as I’ve been watering them twice a day.


Attracting Beneficial Insects


My Mesclun Lettuce mix (which includes Pak Choi, Mizuna, Mibuna and Mustard) went to seed pretty quick in the hot weather but instead of pulling it I let it flower. These bright yellow flowers are from the Mizuna in the mix. The flower stalks are amazingly tall and stay upright. And they attract a wonderful amount of beneficial insects like hover flies, ladybirds, lacewings, bees and other pollinators.


Getting the beneficial insects into the kitchen garden is the difficult bit. Once they are here they seek out aphids, mealy bugs and mites by themselves. It can only be a good thing, right? And the yellow flowers add a great backdrop to the rows of Lettuces below.