This is an overview of a previous season with it’s findings, musings, failures & successes! It provides a brief insight into a full growing cycle from germination to harvest.
This particular year (I believe it was 2011) I bought ten varieties of seeds to try – Some of which are notoriously difficult to grow and others with a long germination period, so I knew that I would need a lot of patience. These were all sown 6th Feb:
Jalapeno / Habanero White / Habanero Chocolate / Scotch Bonnet Orange / Fatalii / Black Hungarian / Jamaican Red / Tabasco / Filius Blue / Culinary Thai as well as a Cayenne Hybrid that I named Mayo Fury (from the originals I grew when we lived in County Mayo, Ireland)
I bought the seeds from a reputable Chilli grower on Ebay and I must say, after their first growing season, they are top quality seeds.
I sowed 6 of each type which I knew that potentially 60 plants was more than I had space for, but I have found that it’s best to plant more to account for non germination, pest infestation, unsuccessful results, and in our case kitten attack! Very early on our kitten Cara pounced onto 4 of my seed trays in her pursuit of a fly and created a NNOOOOOOOOOO moment with a soil/seed armageddon result.
I grew my seedlings mainly in the house on every single free surface that had access to direct sunlight to maximise a natural growing process. This way they get natural light and heat from the sun which is magnified by the glass in your windows – this is why utilising the windowsills around your house will yield best results. When in County Mayo I had a lovely greenhouse and lots more space so that is why this particular year I had to diversify and try new approaches. Never worry if you don’t have much space or other conventional growing resources because unless you want thousands of pods to sell or to make Chilli products to sell to the public, you will be provided with ample Chillies for your own home use and various culinary masterpieces throughout fruiting season later in the year.
I had very successful results with my seedlings producing young, healthy plants that went on to yield lots of Chillies. However I had one no show in the Habanero Chocolate which I was disappointed about (this one still gives me many issues)
I also experimented with a few indoor growing techniques as shown above. My wife found a lovely large glass wine bottle that the bottom was missing from and I thought was perfect to get more heat to some of the more rare kinds that need maximum heat available for the best results. I used it on my Fatalii plants and it was amazing how much heat I could generate on a hot summers day here. It is important to note that if you are isolating your Chillies like this you must let fresh air in regularly or you will be left with a very wilted or dead Chilli plant!
I wanted some nice Chilli plants that could grow into small bushes on my windowsill and would look decorative as well as providing lovely fresh Chillies, so I planted out 2/3 seedlings in some terracotta pots that I bought for only £1.50 each and nurtured them for months. I also bought a small plastic greenhouse for £20 during the summer to take advantage of the good weather and also for a place to store my now thriving plant collection. I split them up into half in the house & half in the greenhouse. Retrospectively, the plants that I kept for their full lives in the house did better overall and I think that this is key in Ireland as I have found this to be the fact year on year.
By October time and I still had Culinary Thai, Filius Blue producing pods as well as my Fatalii, White Habanero, & Scotch Bonnets which matured very late in the year and were yielding lots of scorching fruit! I prepared some of my best plants for overwintering, something I had never bothered with before but turned out a success, starting up so automatic again the following Spring.
I hope this short overview was helpful. I’d love to hear of the different varieties you guys have grown or hoping to grow. If you have any questions about these chilli types or chilli growing in general, I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned with you.