How To Grow Chillies and Peppers From Seed

Hi Guys

Do you enjoy the crunch of sweet bell peppers in your salad or the delicious sweet taste in your stir fry or even a little bit of  heat from some chilli, then why not grow your own? Here is how:

There are so many different varieties of Chilli and Pepper seeds to choose from, whether you like them sweet or hot.

There are so many different varieties of Chilli and Pepper seeds to choose from, whether you like them sweet or hot.

 

 

Both the Chilli pepper and the Bell (Capsicum) Pepper are from the same family so the following instructions on how to grow them are the same.  They are not the easiest seed to germinate and can take up to 21 days to pop their little heads above the soil  but with a little patience you will soon be reaping the benefits of growing your own peppers.

As peppers need a really long growing season it is best if you start your seeds off around February (in Ireland) , growing them any earlier would not be of any benefit as they will be ‘leggy’ as the light condition would be too low.  Alternatively you could, as I do use grow lights and bottom heat (heated mat) which will hopefully give the seeds the perfect condition for germination.

Fill your seed tray, cell tray or modules almost to the top with a good quality seed compost, firm in slightly and carefully pop your seeds on the top.  Cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite and place in a propagator, if you don’t have one then a plastic  bag or cling film will do the job too 🙂 Peppers need a temperature of around 21 degrees c for successful germination.

You will have all seen what a pepper seed looks like when you cut into your chilli or bell pepper.

You will have all seen what a pepper seed looks like when you cut into your chilli or bell pepper.

 

Remember to label your peppers or you wont know what you've got growing on ;)

Remember to label your peppers or you wont know what you’ve got growing on 😉

 

Cover your seeds lightly vermiculite and gently water in.

Cover your seeds lightly with vermiculite and gently water in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The seeds can be slow to germinate, so, as I said before, be patient and wait ;). and soon you will see them pop their heads up.  Once they are about an inch or sow tall you can gradually take the propagator lid off.  I normally take it off during the day and pop it back on at night for a few days, remembering they still need light and heat but will cope with slightly cooler conditions of maybe 18 degrees c.

These seeds are just about ready to be potted on into 3" pots or cell trays.

These seeds are just about ready to be potted on into 3″ pots or cell trays.

Carefully 'prick out' your seedlings as they are very delicate and the stem can break very easily!

Carefully ‘prick out’ your seedlings as they are very delicate and the stem can break very easily!

 

 

 

Make a small hole in your compost and carefully pop your seedling in. Gently firm around and water in.

Make a small hole in your compost and carefully pop your seedling in. Gently firm around and water in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The seedlings will need to be pricked out and  transplanted into 3″ pots when they are large enough to handle.  Then kept on a warm windowsill until mid April to early May, when they can be put into your greenhouse or poly tunnel. I sit my pots on top of the raised  planters in my poly tunnel as the soil is nice and warm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once your peppers reach about 6″ to 8″ they are ready to go into their final pot or grow bag, or for those of you lucky enough to live in a warmer location, they can go into the ground.  If planting in grow bags I would put maybe 3 per bag and if using pots (around the 10ltr size), only one per pot.  The larger bell peppers will need supporting as the plants can grow quite big and the fruits can hopefully, be heavy :).

These peppers are now about 4 months old and are finally ready to be potted on into their final position, in my case into pots but grow bags or directly into the ground is just as good.

These peppers are now about 4 months old and are finally ready to be potted on into their final position, in my case into pots but grow bags or directly into the ground is just as good.

Carefully take your young plant out of its pot

Carefully take your young plant out of its pot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a well in the middle of your pot, pop your young pepper plant in firm in gently.

Make a well in the middle of your pot, pop your young pepper plant and gently firm in.

Soon you will start to see the first flowers appear and this is when you need to start feeding your peppers with a good tomato fertilizer (or similar).  Bell or Capsicum Peppers do not like to be waterlogged or indeed left to dry out, so always water little and often to keep the soil evenly moist.  I usually water and feed my peppers around the same frequency as I feed my tomatoes.  However if you like your chillies hot then water only when the leaves start to wilt as these plants are originally from hotter climates and will produce the best chilies if they are given a similar environment, ie: left to dry out before watering again (stressing the plant).  It is also a good idea to keep your sweet peppers and your chilli peppers apart as they will freely cross-polinate with each other and your hot chilli might disappoint you by being milder than you would like.

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Sometimes the plants can grow a bit spindly, which I have experienced over the years.  The best way to stop this and to get a bumper crop is to ‘pinch out’ the tops of the plants once they reach about 12″ tall.  This will encourage side shoots and the plant will give you a much better yield of peppers.  I will do a short video on this in the next couple of weeks.

Chillies and Bell Peppers all start out green and as they mature they will turn into orange, red, yellow or even purple, all depending on the variety you are growing.  Remember that the more peppers you pick the more your plant will produce so it’s always good to pick a few green ones even if you really want them red.  Chilli peppers will become hotter as they colour up and the bell peppers will become sweeter.

This is a cayenne pepper which changes colour so much before it finally turns red.

This is a cayenne pepper which changes colour many times before it finally matures and turns red.

 

These bell peppers were just so sweet and crispy.

These bell peppers were just so sweet and crispy.

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This is a hot little chilli called Prairie Fire. The peppers flower, turn white, green, orange and then red.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over Wintering Chilli Plants

Last year I decided to do a little experiment and tried to overwinter my chilli pepper plants.  Chilli plants are perennials and if overwintered correctly, should last for years.  So at the end of the growing season (which was around October here) when the weather really started to cool down, I brought my chilli peppers indoors.  I left them for another month or so as there were quite a few flowers/chillies on them and I didn’t want to waste any.  After a few days I watched the flowers fall off rather than mature into peppers which was a little disappointing but the chillies ripened from green to red which was a bonus.

These are some of chillies that were overwintered.

These are some of the chillies that were overwintered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I finished picking all the chillies off of my plants I then took the drastic step of giving them a good prune, so that there was only a few inches of the plant left.  Doing this will ensure that your plant does not waste energy trying to keep foliage and fruits but instead put all its energy into surviving the winter. Great job I thought as I closed the door of my spare room, watered, pruned and all tucked in for the winter.  They looked great for the first couple of weeks but then I checked in on them and they had been invaded with aphids, which must have come in from the tunnels with them……uh oh I thought.  OK  I have managed to keep them alive for the past few weeks and I wasn’t going to let these little pests destroy all my hard work, so neem oil to the rescue.  I mixed a teaspoon of neem oil with a little washing up liquid and some water and went to war on the aphids.  I sprayed every plant until they were dripping and then watered the compost with the neem oil mix as well.  The aphids would have harbored in there too.  This was a process which I had to repeat over the winter and despite all my efforts only 6 or so plants have survived. Oh well I did try and  if it wasn’t for the aphids I think my experiment would have been a lot more successful!  PS  Overwintering is not recommended for bell peppers.  With hindsight, I should have treated the plants and soil with neem oil before bringing them indoors.  This would have lessened the impact of the aphids.  I am sorry to have to admit that I won’t repeat the experiment as the effort and work load  wasn’t worth the gain.

 

Health Benefits of Chillies and Peppers

Peppers are incredibly good for you, especially the brightly coloured ones.  They are both low in calories and packed full of essential vitamins like  A, B6, C and  E. Red Bell Peppers contain phytochemicals and carotenoids, especially beta-carotene, antioxidants and ant-inflammatory properties which is just soooo good for your health. Red Peppers also contain around 300 percent of your daily vitamin C intake and compared with the unripened green pepper they have twice as much vitamin C and loads more vitamin A.

Capsaicin,( the ingredient that makes chillies hot) in peppers,  especially chilli peppers have so many health benefits. These include reducing ‘bad’  cholesterol, diabetes,can aid in pain relief ,can  inhibit cancer cell growth, increase blood flow and even help with your libido 🙂

 

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So now you know give them a grow!!!

Thanks for tuning in and Happy Gardening

Take Care

Eve

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned and I will show you how harvest your chilli/peppers, how save your seeds from your homegrown peppers and also how to preserve them 🙂

Just Another Day At The Plant!

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Hi Guys

Well today started out with taking some of my dahlias which I grew from seed and some of my overwintered geraniums to a couple of neighbours and planted them into their gardens and pots.

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Then it was back to the tunnels to sow some spicy salad leaves, lettuce and spinach as the warm weather had sent some of the spicy salad ‘sky high’ (bolt). I sowed some lollo rossa, romaine, nymans and a mixed lettuce called all sorts, along with some organic rocket, bright and spicy, oriental leaves and mustard.

Spicy Salad and Lettuce can very easily bolt (go to seed) if it gets too hot which can be a problem the cover of a poly tunnel :(

Spicy Salad and Lettuce can very easily bolt (go to seed) if it gets too hot which can be a problem under the cover of a poly tunnel 😦

Rocket can also bolt but the flowers make really nice addition to your salad bowl :)

Rocket can also bolt but the flowers make really nice addition to your salad bowl 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also gave the tomatoes a good pruning by pinching out, side shooting and getting rid of those suckers 🙂 from the indeterminate tomato plants and gave them and all the other veg a good watering and feed.

These are the Tamina tomato plants.  They have leaves that are more like a potato than a tomato.  They are a great plant and give a high yield of medium sized fruits.

These are the Tamina tomato plants. They have leaves that are more like a potato than a tomato. They are a great plant and give a high yield of medium sized fruits.

This is a Black Russian Tomato Plant which produces massive deep purple/black fruits

This is a Black Russian Tomato Plant which produces massive deep purple/black fruits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love my tomato plants but the side shooting/suckering is a long job when you have well over a 100 plants. I use the velcro garden tape which makes tying them up a much easier job.

Love my tomato plants but the side shooting/suckering is a long job when you have well over a 100 plants. I use the velcro garden tape which makes tying them up a much easier job.

 

 

 

I have been working on my video about the chili/pepper plants and hopefully will upload it tomorrow but I have had a few technical issues with my computer which hopefully is now sorted so stay tuned!

Happy Gardening

 

Eve

LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!

Hi Guys I love this time of year, the days are longer, the sun is high enough to stay above the mountain facing us and follows the ridge all the way down into the ocean before it disappears for a few hours. Another busy day in the tunnels today, not sure which way to turn as there is still so much to do but its keeps me out of mischief 😉  First thing this morning I decided to pick some more strawberries from the 125 strawberry plants that I have growing this year….from 12 plants that were grown last year ( I will show you exactly how to do this in another post coming up soon).  So I started to pick my lovely red strawberries but as I went along the bed I began to get more and more disappointed as there were so many ripe fruits that had gone rotten 😦  I knew the reason for this was the fact that the bad ones were lying on the damp soil and should have put straw around them when I first planted them…..I forgot, or should I say, I was too busy doing other stuff.  Anyway I knew if I was going to get a good yield  from my strawberry bed I needed to do something before I lost more yummy fruit, so with the help of my hubby we carefully covered the soil around the strawberries with….yep…straw.  Very fiddly job when there are so many mature plants.  My advise is that you do this job when you first plant them, which is what I should have done!

Great bed of strawberries but having to throw a lot away due to the fruits lying on damp soil.....They need tucking into a nice straw bed!

Great bed of strawberries but having to throw a lot away due to the fruits lying on damp soil…..They need tucking into a nice straw bed!

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Nicely tucked into their new straw bed 🙂 P1000934   Once I had that job out of the way I decided that I needed to tidy up a little, especially as I fell over the hose yesterday 😦  I also planted on the courgettes in between the corn and beans (three sisters) and have a baby courgette already.

Courgettes are coming on nicely

Courgettes are coming on nicely

The lettuce has settled down now and is over the transplant shock. Also the flower hanging baskets, of which I have done 15 for both friends and myself are starting to look really good.  I will keep them in the tunnel for a couple of weeks so that when they finally go outside they will be in full bloom. P1000936 Tomorrow will once again be a busy day.  I have to transplant my peppers into larger pots, plant some more potatoes, transplant some more salad seedlings into cell trays and stake my tomato plants….not much really 😉 P1000960P1000956

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Thanks for tuning and happy gardening.

Take Care

Eve

Polytunnel Update June 2013 In The Garden Of Eve

Just a quick update of my polytunnel in the Garden Of Eve. Thank you for watching and please stay tuned and SUBSCRIBE to my video channel on the link at the bottom of the picture so that you dont miss out on lots more useful informative videos on how to ‘Grow Your Own’. Happy Gardening

All In A Days Work With The Three Sisters!

Hi Guys,

What a great productive day i’ve had today……well everyday is productive but today was ‘mental’ busy but I enjoyed every minute….and the sun shone…..yey!!

The day started well…..we had electricity ;)…sad but I really missed it yesterday.  So all my gadgets and gizmos were charged up and ready to ‘role’, including ME!!

I popped over next door to my elderly neighbours first as they love their flowers and had a load of bedding plants that needed to go in………I thought that would be a 20 minute job as most of the flowers go into pots and tubs rather than into the ground…..but not today…..my lovely neighbour decided she would like them to be planted into a corner of her lawn.  Now there is a flower bed there………BUT it was mostly covered in grass and weeds 😦 Oh well, I set to it and once I got going…..with the help of my elderly neighbours, their son in law…..and their 4 year old grand daughter……we cleared the ground…..made a new boundary with some rocks (no problem finding them here as we live at the bottom of the mountainside).  Then we planted up some buzy lizzies and a few other bedding plants…..JOB DONE…..had a lovely cup of tea with them and a homemade scone and headed back to my tunnels.

I then prepared the bed where I had previously grown my onions, added some fresh compost and planted up all my sweet corn plants Lark, Lapwing and some italian sweet corn which I bought in Florence last year.  I then inter planted them with some Courgettes/Zucchini…..Defender, Parthernon and again some Italian squash courgettes which I bought in Florence.  I also popped a few Speedy Beans around the bases of the Sweet Corn.

Why mix all these together I hear you ask…….well Sweet Corn and Courgettes/Zucchini are very hungry nitrogen plants and deplete the soil of this very important nutrient.  On the other hand the beans (or peas) actually do the opposite and put nitrogen back into the soil….so by planting these together hopefully we will have a happy balance of nutrients.  This combination of plants is often referred to as ‘The Three Sisters’, which is an ancient method of gardening.  Sometimes this is done in a mound or hill but I plant all of mine level and it works!

Corn is the oldest sister. She stands tall in the center. Courgette/Zucchini (Squash) is the next sister and she grows over the ground protecting her sisters from weeds and shades the soil from the sun with her leaves, keeping it cool and moist.  The third and final sister is the Bean (or pea) and she climbs up the sweet corn as she reaches for the sun. Beans help keep the soil fertile by converting the sun’s energy into nitrogen filled nodules that grow on its roots. As beans grow they use the stored nitrogen as food…..Lesson Over 😉

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The 3 Sisters………although there are only 2 above ground as baby sister (bean) is still waiting to show!

If you are growing more than one type of sweet corn it is always advisable to leave a few feet between as they are wind pollinated and you might get a strange corn!!  I have planted mine in 3 areas as I have 3 different types.  Also remember that sweet corn MUST be planted in blocks rather than rows to pollinate.  I will do another blog on this subject as there is a little more to pollination than other veg, especially when growing under cover.

Last but not least today, I potted up my peppers of which there were loads.  I am growing sooooooo many different types including Apache Chilli, Super Chilli, Chilli Shake, Lantern Chilli, Californian Wonder and loads more…..tooooo many to name…..some really hot and some not!!

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A few peppers all potted up ready to sit in the smaller tunnel (my hot house) along with the tomatoes!

I have done a quick video so hope to upload in the next couple of days of planting the corn and courgette/zucchini plants along with the beans.

Tomorrow is another busy day so think its time for a well deserved rest.

Good Night

Eve