It’s Chilli Weather

Just when we thought the nasty winter was behind us we get more sub zero temperatures, snow drifts and wind that cuts like a knife.  So I thought it rather appropriate, given the weather, that I give an update on an area of gardening that is always sure to warm you up – Chillies!

The 2013 Chilli Growing season

After a rather dismal growing season in the chilli department last year I was wondering whether to grow chillies again this time but as any chilli fan knows, you just can’t let them lie.  Chillies must be grown, it’s a need!

So it was with great trepidation that I bought all new varieties of seeds to sow and was also kindly given some seeds by Chris Saunders from the Chilie Foundary to have a go at too.

My choices this year came from other chilli growers who recommended their favourite varieties and where I couldn’t obtain them I got as close to the variety as I could.

I also did something else new this year.  For the first time ever I purchased a heated propagator.  After much researching and debating over size, KWs etc I settled on a medium Sankey propagator.  With seeds and compost I was ready to go.

First sowing took place on 7th February:

  • Aji Umba x 8
  • Loco F1 x 9
  • Rocoto Orange x 8
  • Basket of Fire x 9
  • 7 Pot Brainstrain x 8 (thank you Chris)
  • 7 Pot Jonah x 8 (thank you Chris)

That made a total of 58 seeds.

I didn’t want to over crowd the propagator and didn’t know really what to expect from it so just the 58 it was.

That sounds a lot but in 2012 I planted a total of 202 seeds!

After two weeks of sitting in the outside shed it was apparent the propagator wasn’t being aided what so ever by the weather.  The cold was too much for it or the seeds to stand, so indoors came the propagator.

By this point it was obvious I may well have been putting too much hope on just the propagator.  For one thing it was only heating the very central points of the base.  Nice and warm, but not right to the edges of the base as I had been expected which meant that every seed line sown would have each end left precarious out in the cold edge.

Once inside the seedlings slowly began to appear and by the 15th March those having germinated were now ready for potting on.

wpid-2013-03-24-20.05.14.jpg

Out of the 58 sown – just 26 germinated.  A smattering of all the varieties apart from the Aji Umba.  Zero.  It may have been that they needed longer to germinate but after five weeks nothing had been thus far spotted.

wpid-2013-03-24-20.03.57.jpg

Not to be knocked back by the first sowing I got the propagator cleaned and back ready for sowing that same March day:

  • 7 Pot Yellow Large x 7 (From Chris)
  • 7 Pot Red Large x 9 (From Chris)
  • Aji Umba x 6
  • 7 Pot Burgundy x 9 (From Chris)

Fortunately not only did I have a few remaining Aji seeds but I also had a few more new varieties to try out as well.

This time the seeds were kept closer to the centre of the base and the propagator has been kept indoors.

Having checked the propagator yesterday, seeds germinated equal four, and that’s just in 7 days.  Not bad going.

wpid-2013-03-24-20.03.01.jpg

This year I’ve told myself not to be caught up in the quantity.  It’s all about looking after the few.  Getting them to flower and fruit well enough for me to be able to experiment in cooking with chillies, and preserving them.

I’m being much more selective with the inside space I am ‘allowed’ in the house (before the Boss gets fed up with all the trays and pots), and can concentrate on getting these to a size ready for the grow house later in the year.

After all, in this weather I’m using hot chilli sauce in nearly everything I eat.  It just can’t be beaten in these cold freezing temperatures for warming your insides up.

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14 responses to “It’s Chilli Weather

    • That’s good to know. Last year I had a lot of green chillies so I preserved them in vinegar and I’ve still got a few left now although finding how to use pickled chillies is slightly harder. Thanks for reading the blog 🙂

  1. Sounds like you’ve got an interesting collection of varieties there. I’m struggling to get chillies to germinate again this year – last year was the same… but, like you, I just can’t give up on growing them.

    • Last year was a real pain. Waiting so long for the seeds to germinate only to have healthy plants grow but no ripening pods due to lack of all round sun but the challenge is still there. I see so many, like yourself, growing them that it’s just too tempting not to try again! What varieties are you growing this yr?

      • The only ones I’ve got to germinate and survive so far this year are ‘Hungarian Hot Wax’ – one of my favourites, but I would have liked a few different kinds…

    • Thanks Linda although I’m not sure about the photography. I should have taken the picture in better, natural, light I think. Hopefully when the plants get a little bigger I’ll take some more snaps.

  2. My chillies rarely work… although I keep on persevering! One year however, we got a huge verdant shrub, which completely took over the greenhouse and gave us enough chillies for the next year! We dried some, froze some and stored some in olive oil, which gives you chilli oil as well.

    • That sounds really good. Where abouts are you based and what varieties have you tried so far? Don’t give up hope. Some seeds take weeks to germinate – literally as I found out last yr. Failing that you could always buy the plants ready germinated 😉 Thanks for reading the post.

  3. Ace! Looking good! My other half passed on some chilli-growing advice for me to another friend recently and said not to over-water the plants later on in the season if you want hot chillis. He has just built a homemade propagator using a fluorescent lamp to keep his lettuce seedlings warm in our freezing rental house. Let us know how you get on 🙂

    • Your husband is absolutely right. Less is more when it comes to watering chillies. I like the idea of a home made propagator, you could probably control the heat much better that way. Where do you buy fluorescent lamps, or has he posted about it on his site? If so I’ll go and check it out. Let me know what varieties you’re growing. We can compare later on 🙂

  4. Pingback: Chilli-tastic – May Update | The Forget-me-Not Cultivation Blog·

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