The Chilli Challenge March Update

A progress report from Derek today for the Chilli Challenge March Update.

Chillies

Hi, Derek here.

Sowing

For sowing the seeds I used John Innes No1 compost in individual fibre pots, with the seeds placed on the surface and then enough fine grit just to cover them. The electric propagator was kept damp creating a warm, humid environment.  Whilst reliable on the whole it has been difficult to balance the needs of the first varieties to germinate with those that were slower, as once germinated the seedlings prefer to be in a free-air environment and don’t need the humidity.

The other challenge is that window cill space and therefore good quality light is in short supply. There have been a lot of grey overcast days and our windows are east, west facing. We’ve had to move things around a lot to try avoid seedlings getting ‘leggy’.

Germination

Germination seems to have fallen one of three groups. The first group, the Cayenne and the Aji Limon, germinated very quickly, in a week or so. The second group, the Ancho and Vampire, took around two weeks. Finally the Hot Wax, Carib and Habañero I would put into a third group with only the Hot Wax coming to anything. A single Carib germinated but then subsequently died back.

We sowed a second batch of seeds on the 1st March. One Habañero has germinated and is looking healthy but still no Carib.
I’m not sure why these were mostly a failure, probably more heat and possibly more light were needed. Next year may well see an upgrade from the Stewart propagators used this time, I’m also looking into artificial light sources like the Sunblaster T5, that we saw at The Edible Food Show last week. They were being used on a stand to demonstrate an irrigation system and are from America, I can’t find a UK supplier yet so that will be a work in progress.

In the second lot of seeds I also added in some Kung Pao from the South Devon Chilli Farm, it’s a hybrid and is such an easy grower, less than one week to germinate, producing a lovely bushy plant that will grow outdoors with little or no attention and some Friggitello, a very mild chilli from Franci seeds.

Potting On

All the plants have now been repotted using John Innes No2 and are in the cold frame at the allotment. This was important as we were away skiing and we need someone else to keep an eye on them for six or seven days.  The cold-frame worked well,  with its twin-wall polycarbonate windows which allows the light in but not too much heat.  The heat that is captured during the day stays locked-in. The temperatures ranging between 5ºC at night and up to 30ºC during the day compared that with the greenhouse at -2ºC and 38ºC during the same period.

The growth rate has slowed down a bit in the cooler environment but all the plants, around thirty in total, are looking very healthy.

Thanks for reading.

D.

Chillies

So as Derek says we’ve had a bit of a fail with the Carib and Habañero, rather than attempt a third sowing I’m going to try and buy some plants in. So if anyone can recommend a supplier I’d appreciate it.

I’ve put some links below to blogs that are also talking about chillies and if you’re growing them or know someone who is then please feel free to add a link to any blog posts in the comments.

The Forget-Me-Not Cultivation Blog

My Potting Bench

The Horticultural Hobbit

Allotmentinmygarden

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25 Responses to “The Chilli Challenge March Update”

  1. poplegardencentres March 31, 2014 @ 11:19 am (#)

    Reblogged this on Dunston Hall Garden Centre.

  2. poplegardencentres March 31, 2014 @ 11:19 am (#)

    Reblogged this on Dunston Hall Garden Centre.

  3. poplegardencentres March 31, 2014 @ 11:19 am (#)

    Reblogged this on Dunston Hall Garden Centre.

  4. Sophie Cussen March 31, 2014 @ 11:27 am (#)

    It’s seems to be extremely difficult balancing the germination rates of seeds when it comes to chillies. I didn’t manage to get any of Naga’s to germinate the first time but had 8 germinate the second time. However the heritage Texan varieties I’ve had no luck with simply (I think), because I just haven’t been able to get the temperature up high enough for a long enough time period. Chilli plants more than any other I know appear to be very reactive to temperature dips and highs resulting in poor growth or no growth at all!
    If anyone does find a specialist for plants please let me know as I’d like to get the ones that haven’t germinated, if possible. Good luck 🙂

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 2nd, 2014 @ 7:48 am

      I’m going to do a trawl of the internet today Sophie, so will report back.

  5. Sophie Cussen March 31, 2014 @ 11:27 am (#)

    It’s seems to be extremely difficult balancing the germination rates of seeds when it comes to chillies. I didn’t manage to get any of Naga’s to germinate the first time but had 8 germinate the second time. However the heritage Texan varieties I’ve had no luck with simply (I think), because I just haven’t been able to get the temperature up high enough for a long enough time period. Chilli plants more than any other I know appear to be very reactive to temperature dips and highs resulting in poor growth or no growth at all!
    If anyone does find a specialist for plants please let me know as I’d like to get the ones that haven’t germinated, if possible. Good luck 🙂

  6. crthompson2013 March 31, 2014 @ 5:10 pm (#)

    Thanks for the link-back. Your chillies are putting mine to shame! I’m still looking at small seed-leaves at the moment.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 2nd, 2014 @ 7:47 am

      I think you were a bit later than us sowing? We’re also finding the hotter peppers are slower in growth rate.

      • crthompson2013 replied: — April 2nd, 2014 @ 11:57 am

        I think so. My Lemon Drops have a yellowy tinge to the seed leaves which I’m hoping is just a feature of the variety. The peppers in the same compost are looking verdant so don’t thinks it’s a nutrient issue. We shall see…

  7. crthompson2013 March 31, 2014 @ 5:10 pm (#)

    Thanks for the link-back. Your chillies are putting mine to shame! I’m still looking at small seed-leaves at the moment.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 2nd, 2014 @ 7:47 am

      I think you were a bit later than us sowing? We’re also finding the hotter peppers are slower in growth rate.

      • crthompson2013 replied: — April 2nd, 2014 @ 11:57 am

        I think so. My Lemon Drops have a yellowy tinge to the seed leaves which I’m hoping is just a feature of the variety. The peppers in the same compost are looking verdant so don’t thinks it’s a nutrient issue. We shall see…

        • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 2nd, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

          Derek likes this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chilli-Focus-500ml-Liquid-Feed/dp/B005F9CQ9E shame you don’t live nearer because we have it in almost industrial quantities.

          • crthompson2013 replied: — April 2nd, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

            Thanks for the info – I’ve got some organic tomato feed so I’m going to give this a go and see what happens. I’m wondering if the nighttime temp is too low for them to flourish so might try a later sowing and see if the same thing happens.

  8. AllotmentinmyGarden April 6, 2014 @ 9:39 am (#)

    Thanks for adding my chilli update blog post 🙂 Loved reading about everyone else’s chilli pepper progress too

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — April 6th, 2014 @ 10:29 am

      I like it too as none of our other plot neighbours seem to bother with them.

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