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

Its been a ‘dog of a day’

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I JUST LOVE PLAYING WITH THE COWS AND SHEEP!!

Hi Guys

Well it has been ‘A Dog Of A Day’ today.  I decided this morning as the sun WAS SHINING (I take back what I said in my last blog!!) that I would really get ‘stuck in’ to the veggie gardening and get loads done.

Well I started off with pinching out’ and  tying up the tomatoes………which took awhile as there are approx 140 of them!! Then I tied up all of the onions which I have been drying for a couple of weeks now and hung them in the tunnel.

Most days when I am gardening I let one of my dogs Buddy out…..he is only 1 year old and I have been training him off a lead so that he follows me and doesn’t run away…..so whilst I work he wonders around the land hunting…..as terriers do and digging holes where ever he can…..luckily we don’t really have a fancy lawn…just rockeries and lots of meadow land so he can do what he does best…..dig dig and dig.  In order to keep a check on him I call him back every 10 mins or so……BUDDY I call……usually he is back looking for his biscuit within a minute or so……I do spend a lot of my day shouting his name but luckily for us we don’t have lots of neighbours……if we did I would probably have been locked up by now!!

We own 3 Parson Jack Russells……Ralph is the Daddy, Buddy who is 1 and Tilly who is 2 are his ‘off spring’ . Tilly lives with my daughter at college….and when I say at college…..this dog really does go to college and lectures (only in Ireland)  so she is away quite a bit. Ralph is a ‘city slicker’ who used to live in the UK and doesn’t venture out too much….unless he is on a lead……as he would run off down the road looking for a playmate….more his age….he is nearly 10.  Buddy loves to play with Ralph but he is a bit like an ‘off the rails’ teenager and is not getting on too well with his Dad…who is usually sleeping or smoking a pipe lol 😉 or watching the box (that would be everything that moves outside of the house).

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CANT I JUST HAVE 5 MINUTES PEACE AND QUIET!!

So today I called Buddy as usual after leaving him wander for probably about 15 minutes…..no Buddy came for a biscuit….so I called him again and again and again.  I then looked into the field next to our land and there was Buddy playing ‘tag’ with the brown cow.  Now this cow and buddy have become very good friends…..Buddy needs a playmate and when Tilly is not home he does get a little bored and wanders more than usual……When he first ventured into the next field and met the brown cow…..he barked and ran round and round the cow……but the cow wasn’t in the least bit interested…..which puzzled Buddy somewhat…..eventually Buddy decided that as the cow would not play with him…..he would just follow the cow and eat grass!!! It is very funny to watch and the cow completely ignores Buddy…….he even lies down and lets Buddy wander around him.

So I called Buddy and he looked over at me…..and turned away…..typical teenager I thought…..then I called him again……this time he looked at me and then ran the other way….towards the sheep…….OMG…..NOT THE SHEEP……this is not a good thing…..as the farmers do not appreciate dogs chasing their sheep and have been known to shoot any dogs that are found in the fields with their sheep. I called and called and called…..in the end I gave up calling and knew I had to go into the field and find him.  I could see the sheep in the distance running for their lives…..and my buddy Buddy running after them (being a white dog doesn’t  help!)  I walked down to the next doors house which is a bit of a walk and climbed over their barbed wire fence into the field…..continuously calling Buddy.  I could see him in a corner of the field near a bush……he was jumping in and out of the bush and I knew by the antics of him that he was playing ‘tag’ with……yes…..a sheep.  I ran over and screamed at him but like any bad teenager he carried on…..the sheep was giving as good as he got.  Eventually I dragged him back to the house…….shouting and roaring at him for being such a bad dog and threw (not literally) into the yard…..with his dad….and told him he was GROUNDED 😉

Not long after this little episode it became very busy on the roads….there was even a traffic jam…….BAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!

Wheres Buddy......He will get this traffic moving!!

Wheres Buddy……He will get this traffic moving!

I did give in a little later on today and Buddy did behave…….although when I was closing up the tunnels he got a little confused as to which was the way out 🙂
Im SORRY mum....can I come out now!!

Im SORRY mum….can I come out now!!

I did manage to get a little more gardening done and moved all the peppers and aubergines to the hot house tunnel (the smaller tunnel) which reaches 100 degrees, the larger tunnel is usually a few degrees cooler so I grow all the toms etc in the smaller tunnel.

Training will continue tomorrow 🙂

Good Night

Eve

How to side shoot, pinch out, sucker, prune your tomato plants

The most important part of growing Indeterminate (Cordon) Tomato Plants is to control the amount of vines that will grow. Some tomato plants will produce more shoots than are needed and if not controlled will grow like a vine with lots and lots of lush green leaves but very few fruits (tomatoes). In order to make sure the tomato plant grows in a controlled way and you get lots of healthy tomatoes you need to side shoot, pinch out, prune your plant. This video shows you in detail what needs to be done in order to grow a strong healthy plant that has 1 large stem and hopefully lots of tomatoes.

I will be telling you about the problems that can occur with your plants over the next few days………and how most of them can be resolved  by following a few simple steps so please stay tunned.

Thanks for following

Eve