Growing chillies has become one of the most popular garden pastimes. As cooking has also hit an all time high, budding heat seekers have seen this as a chance to spice up their food.
Chillies may be a hot topic, BUT there is something for everyone in the world of peppers. If you don’t like it hot try a sweet pepper. Impressive looking and tasting, sweet peppers are fast becoming the favourite salad filler or BBQ accompaniment. These great little fruits are surprisingly easy to grow and there are more than enough varieties to keep everyone happy.
When to Plant your Peppers
Many budding pepper growers wait until the sun comes out and the world feels a little warmer to sow their seeds. By the time the plant has matured, flowered and set fruit it is nearly November! Way too late for a bbq or summer salads
Chillies and peppers are best sown in January/February in order to harvest in July/August
In Jan and Feb (your ideal sowing time) it is freezing cold outside and peppers need approximately 20⁰c to germinate. How do you do it then? Invest in a heated propagator to get to the desired temperature. They come in varying sizes both with, or without thermostats. We would suggest a small one if you are just growing peppers. If you plan on sowing seeds for your borders and pots too, invest in a large size. If you can stretch your budget to a Propagator with a thermostat it will keep the heat at a constant temperature and saves energy when the sun comes out.
Growing your Peppers
To look after your peppers and chillies, a standard potting compost is fine for seeing your peppers through the growing season.
A Chilli or tomato fertilizer is great for feeding throughout the growing season.
Once the seedlings have germinated, move them to a 9cm pot until they have filled with root. Pot on again to approximately a 30cm pot. This will ensure the plant will receive enough water in mid summer.
Freeze peppers to spice up your food on a cold winter night.Chilli Peppers freeze really well, especially the smaller varieties. Sweet and bell peppers can also freeze well but are slightly more delicate so ensure they are in a container when freezing.
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