Here is a great little video from those nice people at Greenhouse Sensation showing how they recommend you sow your chilli seeds.


Thanks to Matt Simpson at Simpsons Seeds, we have a packet of each of the super hot Katie and Lucy Habanero seeds to give away to one lucky winner.

Katie - Simpsons Seeds

Katie & Lucy are both types of Habanero, they became well-known when Matt had them tested and Katie clocked up an impressive 1,590,000 SHU, making her the hottest chilli ever grown in the UK (as far as we know).

Well now you have a chance to win a packet of Katie Habanero seeds as well as her sister Lucy Habanero, you don’t have to answer any questions. Just enter your name and email address below to be included in the draw. We unfortunately will only ship these seeds to a UK address.

Congratulations to our winner.


For those of you that grow chillies, especially the superhot varieties, you will know one thing. That being the seeds can be notoriously difficult to germinate, with some varieties taking 6-8 weeks or more. Unlike tomato seeds which can only take a couple of days to ‘pop’, chilli seeds will often test the most patient grower waiting for the little green hoop to emerge from the compost. Chilli seeds need between 28-30 degrees for optimum germination so a good propagator should be part of any chilli growers equipment list, and the Vitopod Heated propagator from Greenhouse Sensation is one of many on the market.

photo(4)So is it any good? Well I have the large single height Vitopod to trial, the Vitopods come in small (56cm x 55cm x 24cm) or large (111cm x 58cm x 23cm) with the option of buying both versions in a double height version. In fact you can buy the height extensions separately too.

The unit comes with a very solid feeling base which houses the heating elements and the plastic sides and lids come in pieces and require a small amount of assembly. The end panels and lids have green twist open vents to help regulate the temperature and humidity levels. All the materials used ooze quality, something we have come to expect with Greenhouse Sensation products, designed in Britain and made in Britain.

There are many heated propagators on the market but a lot do suffer with hot spots and irregular heating but it is good to know that the Vitopod can maintain a set temperature.

photo(1)The Vitopod comes with an electronic thermostat to enable even heating, which plugs into the wall socket and then the propagator plug gets plugged into that so it becomes a switch, turning the heating element off when the desired temperature is achieved.

This thermostat has had a revamp at the end of 2013, it now looks very futuristic and unlike it’s predecessor now has a backlight so the display is much easier to read. There is also a handy slot on the back enabling the unit to be hung away from the floor.

The Vitopod can be programmed to heat to and maintain any temperature between 5 and 30 degrees, accurate to 1 degree. There is a sensor on a wire which you feed through one of the side vents. Obviously the units ability to heat to a specified level is subject to the ambient temperature around it.

I have been using it under growlights which add radiated heat through the plastic so I have to make sure that all the vents are open when the lights are on otherwise the air inside will continue to heat up past 30 degrees.

The thermostat is very easy to use, a quick press of the green circle button enables you to set the desired temperature using the + & – buttons, the bottom figure is the set temperature, the top figure is the current temperature and while it is heating up, the blue circle is displayed.

I started sowing superhot chilli seeds so set the Vitopod to 30 degrees which takes about 15 minutes to achieve. I have so far achieved great results with it with seeds germinating far quicker than in previous years using cheaper propagators. I have only had one variety fail to appear but I am putting that down to bad seed.

Now on to the price, I have to admit they are far from cheap but as with a lot of things in life, you really do get what you pay for, great build quality, great functionality and great customer service and the product is British made too.

The prices are as follows (heated versions):

Small single height – £110.90

Small double height – £120.85

Large single height – £149.95

Large double height – £165.95

Plus £4.95 delivery

These propagators are used by some of the top vegetable and chilli growers in the UK, The Upton Cheyney Chilli Company and Simpsons Seeds plus River Cottage.

They may be out of some peoples budgets but if you need reliable germination then frankly there is nothing better out there.

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Now we all want the biggest yield from our crops whether they be tomatoes, chillies or any other veg. Well for many decades work has been going on by the Chinese on this very subject. They have been sending seeds into space on their Space Breeding programme and then on return, sowing these seeds. It has become apparent that the trip into outer space is creating higher yields, bigger produce, and an increase in the levels of nutrients in the resulting fruit. Now whether that is due to the radiation or the lack of gravity, who knows.

T1DhFtXXhlXXbMSHoY_025505.jpg_310x310This has been fairly secretive and to a certain degree it still is, and as such these seeds are very hard to obtain for obvious reasons, some people may be quite skeptical especially when you see the pictures. But China Spice, the specialists in obtaining the best Chinese ingredients are actively looking for these vegetable seeds, especially chillies and peppers.

Here is an excerpt from Smart Planet who have spoken to Space Breeding Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences;

Chinese research into “Space breeding,” as the practice is known in China, began in the 1980s, when the first batch of Chinese seeds entered orbit attached to a satellite, returning to earth five days later. Satellites continued to carry Chinese seeds into space through the 1990s, but the pace of the program has accelerated rapidly in recent years. “In the past five years the government doubled its investment in the program,” Professor Liu Luxiang, director of the Space Breeding Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences said. “That helped us increase the number of new seed varieties produced by Space breeding from just 20 to 110.”

The first improved variety of plant to be grown from a space seed was a strain of rice known as Huahang 1, yields of which were reported to have improved by more 4%. But Liu is proudest of the new varieties of wheat produced by the breeding program, some of which are now being grown commercially in China. One variety, named Taikong 6, is “more nutritious,” than normal varieties, because it contains elevated levels of protein. “Its great for baking,” Liu said.

A recent paper published in the journal Space Policy touted other space seed successes, including a kind of soybean with 11% higher yields than usual, supersized green peppers weighing in at 500g, as well as oversized cucumbers and tomatoes with unusually high sugar content, whose taste is “comparable to oranges,” according to the report.

Source :

So there you have it, we will let you know when and if China Spice get hold of seeds. We can then see if the claims are true.


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