OT: The Chilli Planting Begins

It’s that time already. Gosh how the time flies when you’re having fun.

This morning, following the great success with last year’s germinations, I have sown the seeds for this year’s Chilli harvest.

Six Chiili Varieties for 2010

Six Chilli Varieties for 2010

This year I had to be a bit ruthless. I have more varieties to choose from than this but limited greenhouse capacity so I’ve gone for a mix of strengths, sizes and tastes. There’s (clockwise from the top left):

  • Portugal, a Jumbo Cayenne type that sounds great,
  • the now [in]famous Dorset Naga, probably the hottest Chilli in the world,
  • a Jalapeño which my wife bought for me, and as these are quite mild will be good for the family,
  • Thai Mound, a very hot and tiny birds-eye type,
  • Fatalii which are a yellow Habanero style that has a good reputation for flavour (citrus) and also for overwintering well,
  • and finally a regular Cayenne chilli which my Sister-in-law very kindly gave to me at Christmas with a copy of the Grow Your Own garden magazine.

I used the same technique as last year. That is take a small plastic tub (the kind we get Indian and Chinese Takeaways in round here), lay a sheet of absorbent kitchen paper (we use recycled, non-perfumed and unbleached paper) in the bottom and then dampen liberally with tepid water. When I say liberally, the paper is pretty much saturated and there is small amount of water that will collect in the corner of the tub if you tip it up a bit. I then write on the side of the tray the two varieties I will sow in the box and then just lay the seeds on the moist paper keeping a decent distance between them.

Here’s one I prepared earlier 🙂

Fatalii and Dorset Naga

Fatalii and Dorset Naga

All Set

All Set

I repeated this exercise with the other chillies, and some tomato seeds to try and give them a head start too. Once the seeds are sown, I put the lids on the tubs and put them in our airing cupboard. Last year germination was really quick compared to the more traditional pot sown seeds I’d done in the past. The tubs need to be checked every day and as soon as the seed starts to sprout I cut a small section of the paper that the seed is on and place that in a small (3″) pot with some some good seed compost. Then they stay on our south-facing window sill in the lounge until the weather warms up enough for them to go outside.



  • Thats a really interesting technique that I’m going to copy, I bet you get better results that germinating in my conservatory from march onwards!

  • […] learning, life, ubuntu Having seen other peoples success of growing chillis from seed (specifically theopensourcerer) I thought this year I’d have a go. So in what could possibly be said to be a familiar […]

  • Andrew says:

    I have never tried germinating the seeds like that, although I have read about it. I might give that a try either this year or next. I planted my chillies on the 1st Feb (last year it was mid March, and although they all did well, I think they could benefit from a head start) and I am sure they will be through in a few more days. I put mine in a heated propagator without the lid, I haven’t had much luck with leaving the lid on because it creates mold on the compost.

    • Alan Lord says:

      It definitely works.

      The Jalepeno seeds sprouted within 3-4days and the Cayenne were ready for potting on in 7. The Naga haven’t germinated yet but in a pot they can take 4 weeks or sometimes more. IIRC last year they took a couple of weeks to get going using this method.

      This method is fine for home growing but I don’t think it would be suitable for commercial growers as it requires quite a bit more time to move the seeds from paper to pot – another stage that would add time and cost.

  • […] It’s just over 5 weeks since my Chilli seeds were removed from their packets and started off in the airing cupboard. […]

  • […] picked up on the open source community interest in Chilli plant growing from Alan at the Open Sourcer, and previously blogged on last years Chilli crop, and the new batch for 2010.  Growing progress […]

  • mark says:

    Hi, Interesting, I use the clear plastic drawers which used to hold electronic components, paper hand towels and plastic “sandwich” bags (from Tescos). These are left stacked up on a wooden shelf above a central heating radiator. The towel does not let the root through so the seedlings can be lifted off without root damage for potting on. I use plastic vending machine cups with holes in the base to pot them. Of the eight seed varieties I got 95% germination on 7 types and 5% on the eighth. That is 600+ plants. Mark

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