Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The heat is on

Blimey its cold outside! And before the newspapers lose their nuts, it's always cold at this time of year.

Nevertheless (what a cracking word) it's time to turn up the heat, and for that, I'm embarking on two projects. 

Firstly, as part of my 5 days 5 pots, I've gone for chillis.  Fiery beasts, they are one of the most exciting things you can grow. 

A chilli plant was the first thing I ever grew, and the day my only chilli on the plant turned from green to bright red is one I'll never forget. One of those unexplained miracles of nature had happened overnight. I was in awe.

Now, when choosing chillis we fall in to one of two categories and it's all about how much pain we crave. It's the equivalent of getting into an outdoor swimming pool. You'll either bomb right in, with full on adult glee, or dip your toe shivering with fear.

Although having said that, there I was dipping my toe and I ended up with these.

It's hard to choose varieties and perhaps the best way is to follow the Woolly way (click me). Alternatively, if anyone knows of some good varieties to try I'm all smokin' ears. 

For now though, I've potted my seeds in fancy pots by the south facing windowsill, with a dash of water and a desperate prayer for heat. 

However, I have a back up plan - I just don't trust the sun to shine through my windows. As luck would have it the kind folk at Waltons have bravely asked me to road test one of their rather lovely looking wooden cold frames.

As a novice gardener, cold frames are contraptions of mystery - much lauded by garden books but never something I've tried. Well, that's all about to change when this weekend I turn from being hapless at growing-your-own to being, um hapless at building your own...so stay tuned.

But for now, I'm just glad to have potted some more seeds. On. A. Roll.  

And to celebrate, here's a bit of cheesy 80's pop.Dance.


carolineholding said...

Good Luck! I'm growing chillies from seed for the first time this year too! I actually germinated mine by putting them in the warmest place I could find regardless of light (on the shelf behind the burner) and moved them to my only south facing windowsill as soon as they peeped out from under the soil.

Hapless gardener said...

Thank you Caroline, great tip, I might try that trick with rival chillis later on! Good luck too

Claire Benson said...

I find the best way to germinate chillies is with a heated propogator. Mine's a really basic one which has a heat pad on the base and I think it heats at between 20 - 30 degrees - one of these days I'll have to test the temperature! It wasn't very expensive and I get about a 75% success rate with germination.

Stacy Drury said...

I find using a bag over the pot secured with a band helps germinate the seeds, chillis have a long germination time and need a long hot summer to produce a good crop I find there best grown in the green house

Hapless gardener said...

Fantastic, thanks Claire and Stacy, I'm sensing a little challenge here to find the best way to germinate the seeds...watch this space

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.