Chilli Growing Instructions
- Time to germination: 7-21 days
- When to sow inside: January – March
- When to sow outside: March - May
- Spacing: 30cm +
- Soil preference: Fertile, well-drained
- Light preference: Full sun
- When to harvest: August – October
How to grow Organic Chillis from seed
Peppers belong to the same family as aubergines and tomatoes and should be grown in much the same manner. Chilli and sweet peppers are extremely similar; however, chilli peppers do appreciate slightly warmer conditions. They need a long growing season and are cold-sensitive which will halt the plant's growth, reduce its vigor, resistance to pests and disease, and its yields. As such, for a successful experience, we recommend growing peppers under glass. Our greenhouse's north wall is blockwork, which absorbs and emits heat, a great environment for the pepper plant. This can easily be replicated in an all-glass greenhouse by stacking a few concrete blocks or stones.
Sow Organic Seeds shallowly and aim to keep the temperature between 21 and 24 degrees. However, once germinated, pepper seeds can tolerate somewhat lower temperatures. After germination, place on a sunny windowsill or under LED lights to grow on and develop in 8cm thin-wall pots before planting out in late spring, pot and all. This variety grows roughly 70cm in an attractive bushy habit. We start our pepper seeds under lights in February before interplanting them in greenhouse borders with our aubergines and sweet peppers. Harvest this variety when orange. Should autumn catch you out, cut the plant at the stem and hang somewhere warm and sunny to finish ripening.
Chilli Pepper plants enjoy a stake or cage for extra support, especially when fruiting; however, this isn’t completely necessary. Whilst fairly drought tolerant, peppers will thrive with even, consistent watering. They are generally very low maintenance and easy to grow.
What to feed your pepper plants
Pepper plants enjoy free-draining soil loaded with plenty of organic matter. As they are heavy feeders, add a few handfuls of fish, blood and bone meal with some volcanic rock dust and some kelp powder to give them a rich, balanced and diverse diet for strong organic growth and cropping over the season. This diet will also help the plants to form strong, well-developed immunity.
Before planting, preparing the hole/soil with the above organics, and applying a side dressing of phosphorus-rich bone meal or wood ash just before fruiting, you feed the whole soil ecosystem, giving your pepper plants a lot broader diet. Off the shelf bought chemical fertilizers are limited in their scope and kill life in the soil web, trapping the gardener to fertilize repeatedly.
Keeping pests away
Organic Orange Habanero is an open-pollinated type of pepper, so we encourage you to save your own seeds. Doing this with your best plants, year on year, allows your peppers to acclimatize to your particular microclimates and disease vectors. They are, however, fairly pest and disease resistant.