- Growing chillies from seed
For the best and hottest chillies, start sowing indoors as early as January - the hottest varieties often need the longest growing period. Chillies need plenty of warmth to germinate so invest in a heated propagator for the windowsill or use a warm airing cupboard and cover with a plastic bag. Sow Chilli pepper seeds on the surface of a moist, free-draining, seed compost and cover with a fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place seed trays in a propagator at a temperature of 18-25C (64-77F) until germination, which usually takes 7-10+ days. Once germinated, chillies can be moved to a warm, sunny windowsill or a heated greenhouse. Keep the compost evenly moist but take care not to let it get soaking wet.
- Transplanting chilli pepper plants
When chilli seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant them into individual 7.5cm (3") pots of compost and grow them on until all risk of frost has passed and they are large enough to be transplanted in their final positions. From an early sowing this will normally be from May onwards in most parts of the UK. You can grow chillies in pots undercover in a warm greenhouse, conservatory, or polytunnel. Alternatively my chilli plants have had happy lives here in the UK in a outdoor, sheltered & sunny position
- Growing on chilli pepper plants
Water chilli pepper plants regularly throughout the growing season and feed weekly with a high potash tomato fertiliser once the first fruits have set. Pinch out the growing tip of the first flowering shoots promote more branching and therefore increase your harvest. When growing chilli plants it’s best to keep them a little on the dry side as stressing them very slightly helps to produce hotter peppers. Taller varieties of chilli peppers may require staking. You can provide a thick mulch of organic matter around the base of the plants to help conserve moisture and reduce weed growth. When growing chillies indoors, don’t forget to open windows and doors to provide insects with access to the flowers to ensure good pollination. Alternatively you can hand pollinate chillies - simply move from flower to flower tickling the centre of each one with a fine paint brush