Chillies are a great plant to grow during the summer. Not only are they useful for all sorts of cooking, they make a very decorative plants for a patio or window sill. The principle for growing chilli plants from seed is the same as for growing tomatoes. Here is a quick guide on how to do it, along with a few varieties you might like to try.
You will a few small plastic pots, 7.5cm ones should do. Fill the pots almost to the top with peat free compost. Water the compost well otherwise if you water after sowing it will wash the seed around too much. Empty a few seeds from the packet into your hand and place the seeds on top of the moist compost around the edge of the pot. Sow around five seeds per pot. Sprinkle a thin layer of compost or vermiculite on top of each pot. Now cover the pots in cling film. This will act as a mini greenhouse, creating the right conditions for the seed to germinate. Place the pots on a sunny window sill and wait.
After about 3-4 weeks you should have seedlings around 6cm in height. In another couple of weeks those plants will be ready to prick out. Empty each pot of seedlings into your hand. Then gently tease out each seedling using a pencil. Pot them up individually in new pots of compost. Make a hole in the compost with the pencil and drop the seedling in, gently helping the roots in with the tip of the pencil. Firm the compost around each seedling, water well and return to the window sill. When the plants have reached around 10cm in height, pinch out the growing tip to encourage them to bush out. In late May your chilli plants will be ready to transfer to the garden or into containers on the patio. In late July you should be able to start picking a few chillies.
There are a great many varieties of chilli plant, some almost too hot to handle, others mild enough to add to salads. Habanero Orange is one of the hottest peppers you can grow. Its small fruits ripen from green to orange and are very fiery. Chilli Caldero is a very attractive variety with a compact growing habit with fruits that ripen creamy-yellow to orange and have a medium-hot flavour – an ideal variety for [http://www.gardenplantersshop.co.uk/]garden planters on a warm sunny patio.
Jo Poultney is one of two people behind Garden Planters. I have an RHS general certificate in horticulture.