Potting Seeds & New Aspirations

Chilli Seed Growing

With the cold weather looking like it’s finally past and the nights are getting longer, it’s time to grow some Chillies! February is the classic time to grow them here in Ireland and usually the earlier in the month the better. You may have seen previous that I started my growing season a good few weeks ago with my harder to grow varieties but it was too cold to pot the rest of the seeds into their trays at that time. At the moment though it’s pleasantly mild and stays light until 6.15pm approx, so I’m starting to get that brilliant Spring time feeling!

The good thing about the winter time is you can re organise and get prepared for the next year, so I had my ‘potting station’ all ready to go. I spent a whole day and with the aid of 7 cups of tea as I was on a mission to have all potted by dark!

It’s always good practice to prep your seed trays by dipping them in hot water and giving them a good clean to get rid of any types of fungus, mould or covert rogue snails.

I use a mix of compost and good old Irish soil when planting out to bigger pots later in the year but for now all you need is a good multi purpose compost.  I’m going for 6 of each variety and a few more that I’m trying through different growing techniques so I should have a good few Chilli plants come Summer. This part is pretty simple which is great, all it takes is a good bit of time so I’d recommend keeping at it until it’s done.

Chilli Seed Potting

Chilli Seed PottingChilli Seed Potting

Chilli Seed Potting

I have now planted an array of exotic types and I can’t wait to see how they get on. This year I’m keeping all seedlings in the house throughout the early stages to keep the temperature constant and increase the success rate. Our conservatory is the spot for any homegrown to be :)

Chilli Seed Growing

Like last year I have chosen a nice selection of Chillies with a broad range of heat when ripe – from the very mild Jalapeno to the silly hot Mid African Fatalii. I have so many plans for them this year including having a go at making my very own Chilli Ninja Sauce – very excited.

So now there is not much else to do but to just kick back, stare at them until they feel awkward and start to grow just so I walk away.

Meet Cara - The Seed Destroyer.

Just wanted to give a shout out to my kitten Cara. The effort you must put into taking time out of your busy day of meowing in mine & Astra’s face even after we’ve just fed you, teasing the neighbours dog,  jumping up on the kitchen counter, drinking from the toilet, and knocking things over to turn my seed trays upside down in the night is very admirable. I salute you but this year it’s not going to happen.

I love to hear from people telling me about things they are growing and the techniques they utilise during the early growing season. Chilli Ninja.

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18 thoughts on “Potting Seeds & New Aspirations

  1. Chilli Ninja Sauce!? That’s sounds very exciting! I hope I get sent a sample bottle to try out and post new recipes :p

  2. Thanks for this post, great to know, I’ve just potted up my first batch of outdoor chillies from the real seed co, and have ordered some padron seeds.
    Look forward to hearing about your chilli ninja sauce.
    Have you tried the Ribmans “Holy Fuck” sauce yet?
    Cheers
    Marcus

  3. Hey Chilli Ninja,

    Great pre-season organization, we have come down the other side of summer and are about to start preparing for the autumn flush.

    Just a couple of questions from a novice chilli grower:

    How do you tell when the little buggers are ripe? I have a couple of Jalapenos on a bush that has survived the attentions of a possum (think feral plant/fruit eating animal) and as they may be the only chillies I harvest this year I would like to make the most of them.

    Which brings me to my next question, if you only had a couple of Jalapenos how would you use them to maximize your chilli experience?

    Cheers mate,

    Dalles.

    • Chilli Ninja says:

      Hi Dalles. Thanks for your intriguing questions.

      Mmm, well you will know that your Jalapenos are ready to pick when they are a bright green and firm. You should also wait until they have a nice sheen or shiny surface. They will eventually change to red but only after quite a long time. They’ll have a nice medium heat and a sweet flavour.

      As for making the most of them I recommend that you keeping picking them as they ripen which will encourage new chillies and increase your yield substantially.

      For culinary uses, depending on the extent of your crop, you might decide to either use them all up with fantastic spicy meals every day for a few weeks or go for drying them out and that way you’ll be able to add them as a sprinkle to your meals for months to come. Check out my drying posts here & here.
      I have also been experimenting with chilli ice cubes which is another great way to store your spoils.

      I hope these are helpful and I’d love to hear of your progress!

  4. I seem to kill every plant I try to grow which is a huge pity as I’m a Chilli addict, I’d love the opportunity to try one of your sauces though.

    • Chilli Ninja says:

      Thanks MBC! Maybe have another go at it by trying a few different techniques and you might get better results. If not you can just keep on enjoying the wonderful chilli anyway.
      If I perfect a sauce maybe I’ll send out a few samples to get peoples opinions. Thanks for checking out my blog.

  5. Dave says:

    Hey man, another Irish chilli grower here!
    First time trying this, picked up some Piri Piri chillis down in Portugal on honeymoon and decided to try growing them. So far so good, have a few plants up to 12-15cm after starting germinating mid january (I think). Much quicker to get themselves going than Habeneros and more exotic stuff.

    As there’s no easy way for me to get more seeds from the particular area I got them, I’ve erred on the side of caution and invested in a basic heated propagator (€20) and a homebrew light system (neighbours are probably a bit suspicious!). Nearly 12noon here and the sun has yet to hit ANY windowsill in this house so the lights were a big help so far.

    If you’re looking for sauce inspiration, Mic’s Chilli Inferno sauce is a tasty Habenero sauce, it may be bigger Centra’s or some Supervalu? Tasted a really tasty habenero relish about 2years ago, Rebel Chilli down in Cork. Hard to find outside of Cork city tho. They have a few other sauces too.

    Me, I’m looking forward to some homemade PiriPiri marinade for BBQing chicken!

    • Chilli Ninja says:

      Hey Dave! Great to hear from a fellow Irish grower :) What part are you from?
      Well done on your first go at growing Chillies, sounds like you are doing good. Never grew Piri Piri, but maybe next year I’ll try them.
      Propagators can be very expensive so you did well at £20. Thanks for the sauce recommendations! Please keep me updated with your progress this year.

      • Dave says:

        In Limerick. If I get any decent fruit this year I can send you on some seeds!

        The propagator was well worth it, very basic unit no thermostat or anything but a vast difference between the PiriPiri tray that was kept in the propagator and the other tray (Tesco Habeneros and extra PiriPiri seeds) that was just near a rad, then on a windowsill. Propagator was especially valuable as I was away for over a week (heating off in house, propagator and lights on a timer) in mid Feb when the temperatures dipped. The PiriPiri tray had already been transferred into pots, so the pots that were in the propagator continued to grow while the pots outside stalled for a while, with 2 or 3 dying off.

        Almost all have outgrown the propagator now and have been weaned off my homemade light system. At least for a while.

        http://tinyurl.com/BandQbasicPropagator

        As noted in the reviews, the corner trays of standard seed trays are useless as you need to cut them to fit into this model…

        • Chilli Ninja says:

          Thanks fro the link Dave and this looks very reasonable for anyone wanting to give growing Chillies a go.
          It’s my philosphy though to not use any growing aids at all (even though they can be useful) as I like to keep it old skool if you like :) I also get more pleasure out of gardening when it doesn’t cost anything or very little. Even though this is only £10, I like to challenge myself so I’ve other ways to create the similar heat needed during germination for free.
          Thanks for the offer of seeds – perhaps we could do a seed swap at the end of the season for 2013?

  6. Karen says:

    I admit to not being very adventurous with chilli growing, if I do grow from seed (I sometimes buy plug plants to free up space in the greenhouse) then I usually grow Jalapeno or something equally as mild. I enjoy eating chilli-fired food, so I have no idea why I haven’t tried something with a little more ‘kick’!

    Thanks for your visits to my blog :)

    • Chilli Ninja says:

      Hi Karen. A greenhouse is the perfect home for chillies so why not corner off a bit more space and give one of the more exotic varieties a go like Habanero or Thai. Both are ferocious though so maybe if you want to take a smaller heat step up, try Cayenne.
      Thanks for checking out my blog!

  7. Karen says:

    Thanks! I will give Cayenne a try. My greenhouse will be bursting at the seams by next month so I need to make sure I have enough space for everything.

    • Chilli Ninja says:

      Cayenne’s are very versatile and low maintenance, so I’m sure you’ll be surprised at the yields you achieve. Good luck with it Karen and let me know how it goes!

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