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Chilli Update February 2017

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Its chilli time again folks and here is what we’ve been up to so far. At the end of last season we made the decision to start our seeds earlier than normal, starting with the superhot varieties. The hope is to bring the harvest forward thus enabling earlier supply to our customers and also to gain larger overall plant growth and increased yield. Starting earlier will also be advantageous for the organic trials some of the plants will be undergoing as it provides a longer establishment period for the beneficial microbes being used. There is no guarantee that sowing seeds earlier will produce the desired results, not in our greenhouse anyway, as we are mostly at the mercy of the Great British weather. But it is always good to be prepared if the opportunity presents itself so fingers crossed we have a mild spring and a hot summer – from about April would be lovely!

Rootzone temperature is an important factor with capsicums and maintaining a good root temperature will ensure a heightened metabolism leading to faster growth, intake of water and nutrients and biological functions within the growing medium and around the roots. Even when air temperature is moderate or cool, plants can continue with growth and flower & fruit development if the root zone temperature is kept favourable. With this in mind it’s a good idea to think about keeping your roots warm at night as well as the leaves and stems. Standing your pots on cold surfaces like concrete, slabs, stone and gravel won’t do any favours to your root temperature, particularly in the cooler months. You can help by raising the pots off the floor on benches or pallets, use heat mats or heated benches. At the very least , stand the pots on something that will help insulate from a cold floor such as polystyrene sheet or even a bit of old carpet. Another good tip is to allow compost or growing medium to warm up before use.

We started our first round of seeds on the 1st December 2016 starting with all the superhot varieties. By the end of January, about 8 weeks after sowing, these were being potted on again into 13cm(1.5L) pots having rooted well in the 8cm square fibre pots.

In the March blog I’ll be talking all about chilli propagation, so don’t miss this comprehensive guide to starting and growing your own chillies. And remember you can see the latest videos and updates on our facebook page plantasiabicester. Please like and follow us. You can find us on twitter and Instagram too.

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