Even in the dark days of winter you can make a start on your garden by growing your own chillies.
If you haven’t already planted your chillies, now is the best time to start it, as chillies need a fairly long growing season.
If you’re a regular reader of my last blog, you will remember that I was lucky enough to be chosen as ‘Wahaca’s Chilli Growing Guru’ and that I posted videos giving growing tips on their website.
My first video gives some general tips about how to give your chilli seeds the best chance of germinating, and starting to grow into big healthy chilli plants, which will produce a good harvest of chillies all summer long!
The easiest way is fill a multi-cell seed tray with multipurpose compost, firm down and moisten with water. Place a seed in each cell, lightly cover with compost. Water gently, either with a fine rose, or spray the tray with a little water, and make sure the compost is moist but not sodden.
Light is not a factor in germination, but heat and moisture definitely are. Germination can then take up to 6 weeks depending on variety, although the majority of seeds germinate in the first 2 weeks. Electric heated propagators help, and start at about £10/€15 from the larger DIY stores for a basic tray with heat. if you want better precise control over the heat, use one with a thermostat, but these will obviously cost a bit more.
If you haven’t a heated propagator cover your seed tray with cling film which will hold the heat in and humidity up and place in airing cupboard, on top of a boiler or somewhere near a radiator.
Keep a regular check on them, because as soon as the seedlings are up they will then need maximum light to stop them going straggly and getting weak. You will also need to spray them again with water if the compost looks like it is drying out. Again, the aim is make sure that your compost does not dry out, so keep your compost moist, not sodden.
I’ll do another post shortly which will give details on what to do with your chilli seedlings once they have poked their heads through the compost.