Growing chilies is rapidly becoming one of the fast growing gardening trends around. There has been a huge increase in the use of chili peppers in cuisine around the world. Alongside this many people are discovering that growing your own chilies is much easier and a lot more fun than they previously thought.
1 – Germinating Chili Plants
Once you have some seeds (bought from a garden shop of just simply saved from one of your favorite chili peppers) your first task is to get them to germinate. Plant your seeds in some regular compost only about 3mm below the surface. Do not water directly instead spray with water. To help keep the moisture in your plants place a plastic bag over the seed tray. Just be sure to check every day so you can remove the seeds once they germinate.
2 – Early growth of chili plants
During this stage the chili plants main requirement is light. If they are not getting enough sunshine you may notice them becoming very tall and spindly. This is known as "leggy". To resolve the problem you need to get more light to your plants. If you are unable to get the plants into conservatory or greenhouse or onto a sunnier windowsill then consider artificial lighting.
One great and cheap way to use normal domestic fluorescent lights. You can pick these up very cheaply. Simply position the plants about 5cm from the tubes and keep them under for at least 12 hours a day. The particular spectrum of light that fluorescent tubes give off is ideal for the early stages of chili plant growth.
3 – Maturing pants through to fruit
One common problem with mature plants is the lack of pollination. The symptom is often that chili flowers fall off before any fruit set. The easy solution is to take a small paint brush and lightly rub it over the flowers of each plant. This is effectively you playing the part of insects and bees and pollinating the plants. Repeat this every day and you should soon see some fruit setting on your plants.