Tuesday 17 February 2015

Sowing chilli seeds

I have sowed my first seeds of 2015. They are chillis. Deciding which ones to grow this time has been a very tough decision, because so many kind friends have sent me seeds. I recently counted up how many different varieties I have, and it came to 55, and that doesn't include several unidentified ones that I have "liberated" whilst on holidays abroad.

Much as I would like to grow them all, due to space limitations I have restricted myself to having 20 pots of chillis, although that includes a couple that I will be growing for a friend. I have selected a range of different ones, taking into account shape, size, colour and level of heat. Jane and I are not keen on eating the super-hot varieties, so most of mine will be relatively mild. However, I have included a few of the very hot ones "just for a laugh" as they say! Maybe I will be able to give away some of their fruits.

So, for better or for worse, this is my list:-

Bolivian Rainbow
Brazilian Starfish
NuMex Pinata
Caribbean Antillais
Ring of Fire (x2)
Cheiro Roxa
Cayenne Thick
Albertos Locoto (aka Rocoto)
Nosferatu (Green leaf variant)
7-Pot Brain Strain
Jay's Peach
Lemon drop
Red Habanero
Scotch Bonnet
Turkey Small Red
Turkey Long Red

Many of you will know that last year a lot of my plants suffered badly from having been sown in compost contaminated with weed-killer. This year I am taking no chances, and I have sown my chillis in home-made compost - the really good stuff from right down at the bottom of my best bin. This initially presented a little difficulty, in that the compost was absolutely full of worms. My solution was to sieve it and then spread it out on an old groundsheet to let the birds pick it over. The Robins had a Field Day!

My method of sowing was to put three seeds of each type (except the Turkish ones, which are quite old) into a 3" pot of compost, and cover them lightly.

Then I put them into my Growlight House with some big plastic bags over them to increase humidity. A few lucky ones will get the added bonus of a few days in the airing-cupboard to aid germination, but there is not room for all of them.

When the seeds germinate (if the seeds germinate, because this is far from certain), I will thin them, retaining only the strongest specimen. I know this is "uneconomical", but when growing such small quantities I think it is excusable.

So there we are then, I'm "up and running" for the 2015 growing season.


  1. I think thinning to the strongest gives you strong plants in the end. So it might well be economical in the long run.

  2. I think it's always exciting when the first seeds of the year are sown. I haven't sown anything yet but my fingers are itching to get in the compost.

  3. I don't think it is really uneconomical having a small plot means you have to hedge your bets. It must be a lovely feeling for you to be sowing some seeds.

  4. :) Looks so nice! Could you tell, please, which ones have been your favourites from the milder versions...

    1. Some that I recommend are Fuego F1, Cayenne, Hot Portugal and Ring of Fire. None of these are super-hot.

  5. That's quite a list! I settled on Joe's Long Cayenne chillies this year.

  6. I do the same thing, I almost always start more than what I need and plant out the strongest. The best of the rest I give away and the weakest go into the compost. Peppers aren't on my starting schedule until April, along with eggplant and tomatoes. Good luck this year, it has to be better than last year.

  7. 55 varieties? No wonder you had a hard time choosing!

    I'll be starting my pepper seeds this week as well. Last year they took forever to germinate - some up to two months! - and I ended up pre-germinating many of them as I just wasn't confident that the ones I had already sown would come up at all. This year, I will likely pre-germinate them all.

  8. I will stand by for further updates! Are any of the chillies a dark chocolate color? Have been using mine making harissa but using far less chillies than they recommend and shaking out the seeds....still hot though! What is it about Chillies growing that just makes one smile. The photo is beautiful.

    1. Hi Bren; None of mine are a chocolate colour, but I know there is one called Chocolate Habanero.

  9. I just don't know how you find the space for them all

  10. Folks, I know that some of your comments need and deserve replies, but tonight I have got in late from work and I am too tired to respond. I will follow up on them tomorrow!

  11. good luck for you germinations! Up the chillies!

  12. I have another month before I need to start peppers. Shallots are first for me. I also have seed for Lemon Drop. Seemed interesting, hopes it's not real hot.


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