Monday, 28 February 2011

My chillis are on the way...

This year I have been determined to resist the temptation to sow seeds too early. I don't have a greenhouse, and my house is aligned in such a way that none of the available windowsills get more than a few hours of sunlight per day, so there is a serious risk of my seedlings going drawn and leggy. I often ferry my seed trays from one side of the house to the other twice a day!

The first seeds I sowed this year were some chillis, and I sowed them on Valentine's Day, 14th February. I sowed six different varieties, two pots of each, and two seeds in each pot. They went into unheated propagators (i.e. seed-trays with clear plastic lids), and lived in the airing-cupboard for a couple of days until they had mostly germinated, when I took them out and put them on a suitable windowsill.

One of the jobs I like least is pinching-out one of the two seedlings, when both have germinated, especially when they come on at the same rate and seem equally strong. I always think "what if I make the wrong choice, and the one I choose to keep turns out to be a weakling?"

So which one of these gets the chop then - left or right? I think maybe the left one, because it isn't standing up quite so straight. But they both look pretty good. Oh dear, this power of life and death thing is such a big responsibility! *sigh*...

P.S. I made my choice (left one). I've added this final picture to my post just to demonstrate how big the root systems are on even seedlings as tiny as this...


  1. Looks like your pepper seedlings are doing well. I understand your pain in the thinning out process. It's always so nerve wracking! I just planted some pepper seedlings myself. I have high hopes for them!

  2. I always feel like a murderer when I thin out seeds!

  3. I've chillis in a pot covered with plastic wrap sitting on a window sill. My airing cupboard is bare as I'm still waiting on flood damage repair work to be done... so I should be using it to propagate seeds, good idea!

  4. I am always amazed at the root growth of teeny tiny seedlings, you think they are this delicate little thing and then you notice that they are actually growing through the bottom of the pot!

    I am also guilty of sowing seeds too early. Funnily enough, it's our planting season here too, the sun here is very strong in summer and not much will grow, while winter in Brisbane is perfect, we have lovely sunny days for most of the season.

    Bring on the chillis Mark!

  5. Your peppers look great! Right about where ours are at. I have the same trouble...I hate thinning seedlings, but it's a necessary evil for healthy plants. What do you plan to do with all these peppers? Hope you like hot sauce! ;)

  6. Looking good Mark!
    My chilli's are at about the same stage as yours... i potted up my first seedlings 'Alberto's locoto' last weekend, and i have the other seven varieties to do this weekend coming.
    Don't you just love growing chilli's!!!!

  7. I think that we all hate to thin out the seedlings. It's so wonderful to watch them grow and then to have to pull one.

  8. Oh I sympathise with the lack of greenhouse :(
    We had one until two years ago as it kept getting knocked by the harsh winter winds.
    I now start my seeds the same way as you, on the window sill. This year will be hard as there is no space on the window sill, I've managed to fill it up with nick nacks.
    In the past when my chiili seedlings grew, instead of choosing one. I potted the other, maybe thats why my chilli growing has been dismal.

    PS You may want to invest in those mini outdoor greenhosues, I know its no substitute for the real thing, but its a start :)

    Looking forward to seeing your garden grow.

  9. I always feel mean thinning out too. This year I station sowed my chillies in quarter seed trays, making pricking out into small modules for later growing on easier. I was expecting to lose lots, but so far they are all growing strongly. I might have a glut already. Throwing away nice established seedlings is worse than thinning!


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