As mentioned in my last post it’s time to start thinking about growing some chillies in 2012. The first week in January seems to be an excellent time to get some seeds in the dirt and get a really good early start to the growing season.
I mentioned before about the free Serrano seeds I got from Wahaca last week. I’ve seen these before on previous visits but it’s always been the wrong time of year to plant them. Now however s the perfect time to get some germinating so hopefully I’ll have a nice crop of Serrano’s in the summer with which to knock up some good Mexican dishes.
As you can see below they come in a ‘book of matches’ with a couple of seeds stuck onto match like pieces of cardboard. A neat little gift and I’m sure a very effective marketing tool!
To plant them, you simply pull of the matches and pop them into the soil up to the line. Seems simple enough and it was. I’ll be particularly interested to see what the germination rates are on these Serranos. I’m not usually a fan of planting multiple seeds in the same hole as I feel it can harm the roots when you remove the weaker seedling so we’ll see what success I have with these seeds.
I’m using my usual potting mix which has worked so well in previous years.
In addition to the Serrano seeds, I also planted some Aji Hot and Rocotto Red. Again nothing fancy here, I just popped the seeds on top of the compost mix then sieved about 4mm of compost over the top before watering with a fine rose.
Now, if you are planting chilli seeds in January in the UK you are going to have to keep them warm. You can of course go out and invest in a heated propagator. It did pass my mind to treat myself to one the other day however the one i wanted was over £120! I couldn’t really justify that so I use my little reptile heat mat to speed up germination and simply place a regular [cheap] propagator on top of that. These mats emit a very low gentle heat, perfect for propagating seeds, and a fraction of the cost of a good quality heated prop.
As you can see I’ve left the seeds to germinate in our conservatory. After scorching some seedlings last year I’ll be sure to keep an eye on them. I generally tend to pop the vents open on the propagator during the day to prevent build up of mold and close them at night to keep the heat in.
I’ll plant another 2 or three batches of seed sin the coming weeks – it’s never a good idea to have all of the eggs in one basket. Next time I’ll plant some Lemon Drop and Ring of Fire as well as some of the usual Habanero’s and Scotch Bonnets.
Happy Growing and good luck for 2012!