Yeah yeah, I’ve made that joke before. I likely will again. What else am I going to do?
Well, 2018 is now officially upon us, and as usual on the first day of the year, I shall sow seeds. Now, to address the Elephant in the room, it has come to my attention that a lot of people think it is to early for this. And, they’re probably right.
Well, dear Reader – It’s because I live in one of the wettest, dullest places in Britain. I need all the time / help I can get. If that means sowing seeds this early, so be it. What I’m actually going to do this year is sow some seeds later in the year and chart the progress of both. Just to prove my point. Of course, Now that I’ve shown that hand we’re destined to have a great Summer and it will all fail miserably.
You’re welcome 😉
Back to the now though… First of all, I’m going for a much smaller grow this year. At least as far as Chillies are concerned. I normally end up with over 100 plants and I don’t want that this year. I’ve a small mountain of dehydrated Chillies to get through, I won’t need to make Chilli Powder for at least a year either.
So, this year I’m going with my favourites. The ones I really like to cook with. Mostly. Strictly no Ornamental Chillies. But, some pretty ones.
I’ll be reviewing this all year round at various stages. I’ve not quite worked out if I’m going to do a multi-review or just keep adding to it as the year progresses yet though. Either way, VERY excited about that!
But back to the business in hand. This years grow. Last year I sowed 126 seeds over 41 varieites. I filled four Windowsill Propogators on the first run. I’ve already said I’m going smaller this year.
Just one, 40 cell propagator. Yup. Just the one. I’m twitching at the thought of it, trust me. I bought three of these in the sales last year with the full intention of filling them, and more. But. No. Here we are. A small grow.
This brings its own set of problems. It’s OK deciding that you’re going for a smaller grow. But then how do you decide what to grow?
Well. Let me tell you, it’s harder than you think.
I first got into growing Chillies because of Scotch Bonnets. They’re my favourite “go to” Chilli, or, they used to be at least. As times gone on I’ve found other ones I like the taste of with more heat and as any Chillihead knows, you move on and up the heat scale. That being said, they are a Chilli I can get away with cooking into “family” meals so they do still feature pretty prominantly in my kitchen.
The first seeds sown in 2018 are Scotch Bonnet seeds. Five of them.
Next to hit dirt where seeds from my Cheryl chilli. Following those I went with some Peach Sugar Rush Twisty, I had a blast growing those last year. Even if I didn’t know what they where for most of it.
They’re a nice tasting chilli and not too hot either, so hopefully they’ll be used in some dishes.
And then. I’m not going to lie. I kind of run out of ideas. I was looking through my box of seeds and I just couldn’t make my mind up.
There was just so many I wanted to grow. So many I hadn’t grown before, so many I wanted to try. Restricting yourself is way harder than it sounds in your head. I was stupidly close to going getting another Propogator from my garage.
But, no. I was firm with myself. Shocking, I know. As I type this I’m still stopping myself going getting another propagator.
I ended up going with the idea that “I’ll pull them out, if I really want to grow them I’ll plant them” – And, that’s what I did. Just grabbed a handful of packets and went at it. This was an hour ago (at the time of writing) and I’m still not convinced I’ve done the right thing.
Anyways – I’ve ended up with a tray full of seeds…
The complete list; Scotch Bonnets, Cheryl, Peach Sugar Rush Twisty, Brown Bhutlah, B.O.C., Martinique, Purple Jalapeno, Choclate Scotch Bonnets, Moruga Scorpion, Erotico, Dorset Naga, Cabe Gondal, Yaki Blue, Chinese Thunder Mountain Longhorn Chilli, Mojo Big Chocolate, Tinkerbell, Trinity, Devils Rib, Camo, Hungarian Hot Wax, Calico, Purple Naga Viper Brain and “Red Beauties”.
Almost a completely random mix of favourites, ones I want to try and a couple thrown in because they’re pretty. Most notably the “Red Beauties” – These where some I grew last year but I lost all my labels and had no clue what a lot of them where. These things stole my heart though, I mean, look;
Why would you not want to grow those?
I’m currently telling myself “I’ll see how I get on with germination”, “But you’ll be planting a couple more for your Quadgrow review” and “You can do more at the end of February for your experiment”. Things like that.
It’s not helping.
Another advantage of a smaller grow is that, in theory, I can concentrate more on the quality of the plants. Or so I’m telling myself.
Once the seeds are all snuggled away nicely under the soil I like to give them a gentle spray with some warm water. I bring the soil up to room tempreture before sowing the day before but I figure a little warm water won’t hurt. A couple of my plants where acting out last year and one of the things I tried to correct the problems was giving them some extra help with Epsom salts. So, this year my warm water included a tea spoon of those.
And also another “helping hand” in the form of Vermiculite.
This was following advice of including it in my soil to help roots not get stuck causing small plants by Ivor from Bountiful Seeds last year. I noticed the box said it could be used as a “top dressing for seeds” and so I did just that as well…
A bit messy, but… Should be OK.
And there we have it. My one soliatary Propogator for 2018.
Lets hope the germination doesn’t take too long this year…
And that I can make it till the end of February without planting too many more…
And there is always the need to rescue plants from Garden Centres later in the year. Right?
And I’ll have a couple more sewn next week for the Quadgrow… Right?