Craig McKnight – Guide to Growing Chillies

by wegrowourown on January 15, 2012 · 1 comment

in General Information

People associate growing chillies with hotter climates, but it is really easy to grow them even here in the rainy UK! All you need is some multipurpose compost, a multi-celled seed tray, and obviously some seeds!

Get your seeds from a specialist seed supplier. Not only can you be sure that the seed is fresh, and has the best chance of germinating, but you can try varieties you have never heard of before, and will never find in your local shops!

Ideally, the best time to start planting your chilli seeds is January or February. The reason for this is that it will give your seeds and plants a good head start, so that you can enjoy lots of lovely chillies throughout the summer months.

Here are my 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 and lightly cover with a half-centimetre of 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 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 the 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.

When your chilli plant has developed its second set of leaves, it is time to repot it … but I’ll tell you all about that in the next installment of my growing guide!

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