Back in 2012 we wrote an article about a new business Potters Plants that sell chilli plants online. We have always been impressed with the quality of the plugs we’ve received from them so we recently caught up with Rich & Holly (the owners) in search of some chilli growing tips!
How many plants are you growing this year?
For 2014 we set over 2,000 chilli plants and around 500 tomato plants. We had excellent germination so we are currently growing around 2000 plants in total , 50% of which are now already sold by order on the website.
Presumably you have some sort of poly tunnel or glasshouse for that many?
Yes we have three greenhouses and a poly tunnel, the largest greenhouse is sufficient for our chilli and tomato plants while they are in plugs , any we decide to keep and grow on to harvest are then migrated into the other greenhouses and poly tunnel.
How much does the weather affect your plant production?
Weather plays a huge part in how quickly the chillies grow. Warmer , sunny weather is definitely preferred, while harsh frosts mean constant nightly efforts to cover and protect the plants, even inside the greenhouse . Obviously as summer arrives, the sunny warmth is essential for getting the fruit to ripen too.
Potter Senior Inspecting the Crop
What kind of lighting set up do you use?
Last year we used some led strip lights as we didn’t have enough space in the greenhouse but this year we are back in the greenhouse and the daily light is proving much better , our plants are strong and green, we are really pleased with them. I guess there is no substitute for natural
What are you most popular varieties?
Well, people seem to love the super hot chillies for sure, Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, Bhut Jolokia, Moruga Scorpion and this year the Carolina Reaper ¬†. One chilli that consistently performs well and matches the super hots for sales is the Pimientos de Padron .
Rich & Holly Potter¬†
What are the biggest challenges you face growing chillies for customers?
Weather is obviously a challenge, but the biggest challenge is the packaging. It’s time consuming, and after all the hard work growing them, we take great care in trying to make sure the plants are securely packed for their journey.
What variety do you eat most of and why?
We probably eat pardons quite a lot, mainly because the plant produces a lot of them and they make a great tapas dish, and orange habanero , which are so tasty and have a nice manageable heat which works so well in stir fry or chilli.
Any secret growing tips for our readers?
One thing we have noticed is chilli plants love a grow bag . Standard ones you get from the garden centre – we got such a good harvest list year our freezer is still full. We have the benefit of a greenhouse of course, a conservatory is just as good if you can or a warm windowsill for growing your plant. Also , don’t over water the chilli plant, and feed once a week with chilli focus or a tomato feed.
If you’ve left it a bit late to start of your super hots or you fancy trying some new varieties you can order your chilli plants now form Potter Plants.