Chillies can be relatively easy to grow however some can be a little picky, so if you are having trouble, you may find the answer to your problems here.
To grow chillies from seed you need to fill a seed tray with any multi-purpose compost. Sow the seeds in furrows, cover and water them.
They now need to be kept in a heated propagator or on a warm windowsill at a temperature of 18 degrees and should be ready to prick out in 3-4 weeks. You can find a detailed chilli growing guide here.
You can move chillies outside once the risk of frost has passed, however doing so will make it harder to control environmental factors such as watering. Certain slower fruiting varieties such as habanero will require a more heat and light to encourage fruits so are best kept inside.
A conservatory is perfect for growing chillies, the protected environment will help simulate the natural growing conditions needed for the chillies and will put you in complete control of the plants environment. The main issue you may have is an increase in water consumption due to the higher temperature.
The best way to control slugs is to regular check your plants and keep them clear of any dead leaves. Alternatively you can treat you plants with a Chemical Free Slug Control Deterrent..
Another pest to be wary of is aphids, these look like tiny white fleck gathered around the shoot tips or young leaves these can be controlled either with a pesticide or by introducing Beneficial Garden Insects such as ladybirds.
Grey Mould is the common name for Botrytis. Similar to tomatoes it presents itself as a grey fuzzy mould on a plant which is stressed, in very bad infestations the whole plant can shrivel and die rapidly.
There is currently no cure for botrytis available to amateur growers. If a plant develops the signs of an infection it should be taken away from other plants and either buried or taken away for green waste collection, it should not be used for home composting.
The Carolina Reaper currently holds the record of the world’s hottest chilli weighing in at up to 2.2 million scoville units
If you are not interested in the hottest chillies there are varieties such as the Hungarian Black which are full of flavour yet quite mild.
This is a common problem amongst chillies grown in a greenhouse or indoors. As they are self-pollinating chillies do not require insects or the wind to pollinate, however if the stamen (male part) develops and is not touching the pistil (female part) this will lead to a sterile flower. Giving your plant a gentle shake occasionally will help solve this problem.
If the lower leaves are turning yellow or falling off, this is a sign of over watering. This compost should always be moist but never waterlogged. If the top leaves start to fall off this could be down to a lack of nutrients reaching the top of the plant (this is usually due to under-watering) or the plant could be in shock i.e. re-potting or sudden environmental changes.
You can harvest chillies when they are green or red, however there are some varieties that will not turn red in our climate.
Yes, in some cases you will need to pick your chilies when they are green as they will not ripen in our climate these chillies can be left to ripen in a warm dry place however they will dry out and start to wrinkle.
Over wintering chillies in a protected environment will give them a head start the following growing season for a bumper harvest.
To do this you will need to remove all the foliage ensuring the plant does not waste any energy keep the plant in a warm place and remember the plant will need substantially less water.
If you have any further questions about growing your own chillies or would like to know more about our chilli growing essentials, please feel free to call our Gardening Angels on 084456023774 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're always happy to help!