Germination is the first stage of growing chillis (unless you cheat and buy seedlings or grown plants). it basically involves activating the seed and prompting it to sprout.
There are many different ways of germinating seeds I’m going to cover just 2.
Many people as when they should sow their seeds, again its totally up to you and your location, I tend to start mine at the end of January or the beginning of February, this way i end up with lots chills all the way up to the end of October.
One thing to remember is that some seeds take longer to germinate than others and unfortunately some fail to germinate.
There are lots of types of propagator, ranging from cheap unheated ones, to mid range heated ones all the way up to thermostat controlled ones. They all do the same job in more or less the same way, by keeping the chilli seeds at a constant ambient temperature.
I tend to use a cheap heated propagator, more info on it can be found here
Once you have your propagator, seeds and some compost its as simple as 1,2,3….
Then all you have to do is wait, make sure you keep the soil fairly moist but not too damp, once you have a seedling that is a few cm tall you are ready for part 3 of the Chilli Up North growing guide.
This method is also quite handy especially if you don’t have a propagator.
You are then ready for part 3 of the Chilli Up North Growing Guide.
I can’t promise 100% success with germination but the following tips should help improve your chances.
Some people (and companies) try to speed up the germination process or increase the chances of a successful germination by using chemicals or peeling off the outer seed casing. I’ve never really experimented with either method as i think half the fun is the anticipation of when and how many seeds will germinate. Although i do sometimes soak my seeds in water for a few mins before sowing.
Getting started with growing chillis is pretty easy and cost effective, especially when you consider the varieties you can grow and the number of chilli pods you will get compared to how much chillis are in the supermarket.
There are a few things that you need in order to get started these are:
Without seeds you aren’t going to get very far. You can get a huge variety of seeds from the highstreet and an even wider variety from the internet. Prices vary from pence to pounds depending on where you get them from and which varieties you choose, there is a list of my favourite internet based chilli seed suppliers on my links page.
Once you have got your hands on some seeds the best place to keep them is in an airtight container somewhere cool and dark, this will help keep them “fresher” for longer.
You can also save the seeds from chillis you have grown or bought, the main problem with this is if your plants have cross polinated you are unlikely to get the same chillis next year, having said that it can result in some interesting varieties.
Everyone who grows chillis has their oppinion on they type of soil that is best to grow chillis in, personally i prefer a good quality compost although some of the own brand stuff from garden centres and DIY shops is great value for money and can always be pepped up with a bit of fertilizer.
I could spend all day listing the various bits and bobs you could use but instead ill just give you a quick list of the stuff i tend to use most.
Thats it for part 1, check out part 2 for all about germination.