As i’ve discussed before there are loads of different ways to germinate chilli seeds and everyone has their favourite method. I usually use a regular propagator placed on top of a reptile heat mat in order to boost the heat delivered to the seeds (it’s also much cheaper than a heated propagator). I did this for the fist week after I planted the seeds then, with a long weekend away planned, I feared the seeds would dry out if i left them and any that did germinate would be short of light and at risk of wilting while i was away.
Instead of leaving them on the heat mat I decided to move the seed tray into my homemade light box. I used a regular plug timer to give the seedlings 18 hours of light each day. The low steady heat coming off the fluorescent tubes kept the temperature at a steady 19 degrees, not far off perfect for germination yet not too hot to dry out the seed tray cells. I also left the clear plastic lid on the propagator to help retain the moisture in the compost.
When I left (about 1 week after planting the seeds) just 3 had germinated so I watered them heavily and left home with my fingers crossed. I’m please to say that when I retuned home the tray was almost full of healthy germinated seedlings.
After planting some chilli seeds in the first week of January it’s now the 29th and despite my little trip away germination rates have been good. As you can see above all of the Aji hot seeds have germinated and 2 of the Rocoto Reds are also up. The Rocotos have been a lot slower than the Aji’s both to germinate and in their subsequent growth.
The Wahaca seeds that I was so sceptical about have excelled as you can see in the shot above. They have all germinated (most of them inside of two weeks) and the seedlings look really healthy and are growing much faster than the Aji’s and Rocoto’s.
I’ll soon have to cull some of the Serranos as there are several seedlings in each cell – it’s not something I enjoy doing (killing chillies!) but it is essential in order to allow the remaining plants the best growth rates. I’ll just snip of the weaker plants at the base of the stem with a pair of scissors rather than try to separate the roots and risk damaging the plants.
So all being well i’ll have a heathy crop of Seranno’s, Aji Hot and Rocoto Reds. Now that the first batch of pepper plants are underway i’m switching my thoughts to what i’ll plant in batch number two….