An epic contest on the windowsill in our back room as the seedlings of Jalapeno, Habanero, Cayenne and Anaheim chillies battle to be number one in our chilli charts.
Last year I only grew a couple of Cayenne chilli plants and I harvested far too much than we could use. It was not even a crazily prolific year for chillies, the simple fact is we don’t cook with them too much and that meant that, even to this date, I have 20-30 chillies sitting in a bag in the top of our freezer.
So I obviously decided to do what any sensible grower would so and that is, rather than just the one type last year, try to grow four different types of chillies.
This year I have decided to grow Jalapeno, Habanero, Cayenne and Anaheim. It remains a question whether I have the space or necessity to grow these four types. But I am hoping that a good germination and growing means I can share the plants and also the bounty of harvested chillies with friends and family.
I purchased a packet which had four discs featuring seeds of the different varieties. So it was simply a task of filling pots with compost, placing the seed disc on the surface and the sprinkling a thin layer of compost over the disc before lightly watering. I did this in fibre pots and then placed them on a warm windowsill over a radiator in a position that gets good light.
This is the first time I used these discs to sow seeds, so I didn’t really know what to expect. There was only a tiny smattering of seeds across the disc and they didn’t always seem well spaced out, so in my quest for precision I ended up ripping bits of the disc off and trying to lay out the seeds myself – which almost defeated the object of using the disc.
The good news is I have had germination of all four varieties, which means it is now a race between them to see which performs best. Admittedly the germination rate has been varied, with Jalapeno and Habanero performing much better than the other two, with the former two having 8 seedlings each compared to just half that for Cayenne and Anaheim.
At least the seedlings I have got across the board seem to be growing well and looking healthy. I just have to ensure they remain moist as they can be susceptible to dry out, especially on their warm windowsill.
Currently it is Jalapeno which is performing best, with 8 strong seedlings not too far off the point where they need pricking out and potting on. Habanero isn’t far behind, with its seedlings just a little bit smaller. While Anaheim and Cayenne lag behind in numbers, I am still very happy with how strong the seedlings are looking.
The plan is to update this post as the battle of the chillies continues. So hopefully there’ll be more details and pictures as they continue to grow and ultimately provide a bountiful chilli harvest.
It has been just over a month since I wrote the original post and thought it was time for a first update on their progress. Only the Jalapenos have been potted up so far, with the other three types lagging behind. The Jalapeno were strong and tall and outgrowing their fibre pots, much further on than their rivals.
However, I am potting the Habanero, Anaheim & Cayenne all up this weekend to give them a chance to develop. After a strong start they have stalled in recent weeks, however I am not too worried. It hasn’t been great growing weather and I have read among other garden bloggers that many people’s chillies have done that.
Hopefully with the weather set to get warmer, and more sun now the spring equinox have passed, the Habanero, Anaheim & Cayenne will start progressing soon. I know they will really benefit from being potted up and fingers crossed they will then prosper like the Jalapeno, which are all much bigger and galloping away from the others.
I do realise I am on the way to having far too many chilli plants already. Some six Jalapenos are already potted up and I plan to pot up four of each of the others, so that equates to 18 plants – far too much for our requirements (and I am already sacrificing around half my seedlings). I definitely intend to grow them on and then give them away to friends and family. That will allow me to keep a core small amount that should more than suffice for our needs.