OT: Update on The Open Sourcerer’s Chillies

What seems like many moons ago, I posted a brief article about starting this year’s Chilli crop. I “planted” the seeds much earlier than usual (last day of January rather than sometime during March) and I used a different sowing technique to see if the germination could be speeded up. Here’s that first post with a couple of pictures of how I started the seeds off. I said back then that I would also plant some in the more traditional manner, but to be honest I had such excellent results from this trial I did not need to start off any more seedlings at all.

Chillies after 10 weeks
This is how they look now after just 10 weeks. I am delighted with their progress. The germination on soggy toilet paper in the airing cupboard worked really well compared to simply planting the seeds in potting compost. I found that some of the seeds had germinated within a week and most had come up within 2 or 3 weeks. By comparison, pot sown seeds have usually taken anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to just show.

As soon as the seed started to sprout I carefully cut it, and a small section of the paper it was growing on, from the rest and planted it in a small 3″ pot with regular seed/potting compost. Within 4 weeks all the seedlings were potted on and growing well. Only a few seeds failed to germinate completely, but that is to be expected. I think from 30 odd seeds I have ended up with 23 good strong plants.

Some of the most vigorous have already been potted on into 4″ pots. There are about a dozen still to be done. They all look very healthy and happy (if a plant can actually look happy that is).

Naga Bih Jolokia
These photos were taken today in our greenhouse. The plants get taken out when the day is sunny and the greenhouse is warm. On cloudy and/or cold days they have remained indoors on a south facing window sill in the living room. By the end of April I will start to harden them off and by mid-May I would expect them to have taken up permanent residence in the greenhouse.

One variety I am especially keen to grow and eat this year is the Naga Bih Jolokia. Here is one of the 4 plants of that variety looking especially radiant. For those who were not aware, the Bih Jolokia has been recorded as the hottest Chilli in the world.

This is the best looking crop of plants, this early on the year, that I have ever grown. I’m now quite hopeful of a good crop this year although a great deal will depend on the sunlight we get through the summer months. But hopefully in a few more months time I’ll have a couple more photos of fruit laden chilli plants to show off!



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