Monday 19 March 2018

Chilli update

You might recall that about a month ago I sowed seeds of 20 different varieties of chilli. They germinated at different rates, keeping me guessing (and checking the propagators in the airing-cupboard at least twice a day). Well, 16 of the 20 varieties have germinated now. I think it is unlikely, though possible, that the others will eventually show up. I certainly haven't given up on them yet. However, I did sow "one or two" more varieties, just to make up for the No-Shows.

For the record, the No-Shows were:

Piri Piri (seeds from a Twitter friend, so age of seeds not known)
Turkey Long Red (seeds brought home from a holiday in Turkey in 2012)
Tenerife (seeds saved by me in 2016, but all from a single fruit)
Panama 3 (seeds from dried fruits brought from Panama by my daughter in late 2015)

I think you can probably understand why I am not really surprised that those ones have not germinated!

My first sowing of Aji Limon (one of my favourite varieties) failed to germinate, but then I sowed a second batch, and 4 out of 5 came up. This is curious, because the second batch used older seeds - from way back in 2014. Whilst I am relieved that I did eventually manage to get some of these to germinate, I am also a bit annoyed, because they are now well behind schedule. Aji Limon is usually one of the last varieties to produce ripe fruit and it looks as if this year they may be later than usual! [Except that one of my over-Wintered plants is an Aji Limon...]

Aji Limon, the second sowing

This year, I am growing mostly chilli varieties that have some special significance for me - ones acquired while on holiday for instance, or ones given to me by friends. Here are a few examples:

"Nepali" - seeds from Allan in Brussels

"Fish" - seeds from Paul in Chorley

"Scotch Bonnet" - seeds from Dee in Hawkinge

As you can see from my photographs, the chilli plants are still small, but they look very healthy. I haven't yet had too much of a problem with aphids (tough wood!). The ones seen in the photos above were transplanted into individual 9cm pots about a week ago. Even when all the seeds I had sown germinated, I kept only the two strongest-looking seedlings of each type, and my intention is to give away one, so that I'm only left with one to grow on to maturity. This selection will probably be made some time around the end of April.

The potted-up plants have been doing the usual "Indoors-Outdoors" dance, being taken out to spend a few hours each day in the coldframe whenever the weather has allowed, and brought inside for the nights. In my opinion it is a good idea to toughen-up the plants as soon as possible, and as long as they get good (natural) light they will tolerate slightly lower temperatures. Last week the temperature in my big coldframe was mostly somewhere between 14 and 16C during the day, and on one occasion reached 20C.

Chilli seedlings admiring the snow from a safe distance - March 17th

The later arrivals are a lot smaller and still being nursed in the Growlight House.

I think most of those will be ready for potting-on into individual pots in about another week or so.

Meanwhile, the over-wintered ones are still hanging on - the ones that had the benefit of the self-watering system, that it. The others didn't make it.

Over-Wintered "Aji Benito", showing the self-watering kit

You can see the snow covering my garden in the background of this photo.

I have started giving the over-wintered plants a weak feed of tomato fertiliser ("Tomorite") every few days now, so I'm hoping they will buck up and produce some new growth. At present I would say they are just surviving, not thriving. Still, if I can keep them going for just a few more weeks, until the weather warms up, I think they will be OK.


  1. Awesome update and they look great! I just started growing chili plants (Thai chili pepper, I love their flavors so much haha) from seed for the first time. Only week 2, no sprouts yet. I hope they come up nicely like your chili plants look!

    1. I wonder what the "Fish" variety is like. It certainly has an interesting name for a pepper variety.


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