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Chillie Growers…Start Your Engines

Now that the New Year is upon us it is time to start thinking about the 2010 chillie growing season. Last year I made the mistake of planting my seeds too late, a mistake I am not going to make again this year.

Firstly I have been overwintering some of my plants in order to get a head start on the season. It will be interesting to see how much more fruit I get from these plants compared to ones I intend to grow from seed (assuming they do make it through the winter!).

Planting Chillies Early Requires Extra Lighting

Growing chillies in the Northern Hemisphere is a bit of a battle against the weather. Ideally you should plant your chilli seeds as early as possible in order to get the most fruit from the plants. By planting my seeds this early i will definitely be using some artificial lighting to help their growth.

I’ll go into more details about lighting at the time but once the seeds germinate i’ll be using ordinary fluorescent tube lights initially. Once the plants get a bit bigger i’ll switch over to a Compact Fluorescent Gro Lights. As i found out last year this is a great light to give the plants a strong burst of growth until the weather is warm and light enough to move the plants outside here in the UK.

The Varieties I’ll Grow

I have got far too many chilli seeds for my own good. While they store pretty well if kept in a dark airtight container in cool conditions germination rates do fall the older the seeds get. As a result this year i intend not to buy any new seed but instead to try and use up as much of the seed i have already.

On my grow list for sure are habaneros, scotch bonnets (you can’t not grow these varieties!), fatali, tepin, tabasco, cherry bombs as well as several mystery packets that have somehow gone unlabelled.

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