Chilli's - Circle of Fire
Not a Johnny Cash song, but how to take this easy crop from seed, to plant, to seed. One chilli plant will give you a good supply of spice and I'd suggest these pretty plants as a first for beginners, or a priority for those with little space.
Chilies need an early start, sow now (article was published Feb) and till mid March with three seeds to a 9cm pot. They need to be somewhere warm to give them a kick start - such as an airing cupboard. When green shows move them to a sunny windowsill.
Transfer each plant to a pot of its own when they get two pairs of leaves: gently ease out the roots with a spoon handle and, holding a leaf, lower the seedling into a 9cm pot of compost. You need to keep
repotting as the plant grows, until they are in 25cm pots.
Being hungry, heat lovers they will appreciate lukewarm water in the mornings, and tomato feed.
All types of peppers can cross pollinate if there are insects around, where there are none indoors there is
no risk of this. However if several varieties are open to the outside you will have to cover the plants with
a fine net (think plant mosquito net), to keep the seeds true to the original.
To save seeds you extract the seeds from a well ripened chilli and put them somewhere warm till you can
snap one in half, then pack and label ready for next year.
Copyright (c) Diane Holness. originally published in the Pigeon magazine Feb 17