Hi guys! Well the sun is shining here today and I feel that I need to give my blog a serious update. I’m sure all you growers feel the same that this is a very busy growing time of the year! These pictures were taken a few weeks ago when I transferred my new seedlings into their new homes for the next month or two. I’ve had a bit of a mixed bag in the early stages of growing with a lot of varieties slow to get going with our season starting quite late, but it’s picking up now quite nicely.
These guys are Jamaican Reds which are a variety of Scotch Bonnet used widely in the Carribean in nearly every dish I’m told :) I’m very happy with the progress of these as they were first to germinate, first to sprout and of now first to plant out – you might think well of course they are the first to plant out since they were first up, but that is not alway the case with Chillies I’ve found. I’ve experienced plants that look to be doing great only to slow to a dead stop a be overtaken by another variety. The race is definately long when it comes to these guys as Baz Luhrmann says in that song, and their behaviour both is deliberate but random and that’s why I love growing them.
Over the past few years of planting out I’ve found there are a few ways you can do it depending on your patience levels and growing methods. It is quite common for people to plant out at the establishment of the second set of leaves but sometimes it’s a bit too early. I tend to wait a bit longer until the third set are starting to grow and that ensures a strong seedling that is bursting to get to the new bigger pot. This is evident when you take it out of is tray and can sit proud in a nice wee cube of soil which is held together by it’s system of roots :)
All that is needed after that is some good compost and a bigger pot – I like to to put them in a slightly bigger one than they are ready for so they can stay there for longer, much like when your mum gets you a new pair of shoes as a kid that are slightly too big and she tells you that ‘you’ll grow in to them!’
It’s best not to disturb the existing cube as it were but it’s fine to break a bit off to expose the roots leaving them free to explore the new space and surroundings. Planting out into too big of a pot will stunt the upward growth of your Chilli as it concentrates on expanding it’s roots throughout the soil, so choose a pot that is roughly twice the space for this first plant out and you should be grand.
As it has been a few weeks these have developed very quickly and are looking great (update soon). The key really is timing and care but overall not to be too afraid to just go with it. Like everything, practice is the way forward and if you are a planting out rookie and anything like how I was at the start, it will take an hour for a couple of seedlings but will soon become second nature as time goes on.
I’m always keen to hear other peoples methods, be it from rookies, regulars or experts. Have you a particular approach that you find works best?