Tomatoes & Chillis

Whilst digging and parsnip sowing were put on hold due to the ground being exceedingly claggy, there was still time to sow a few seedlings in propogators. This year is the first time we’re trying chillis, brought back from Devon by my parents – my dad’s a sucker for chillis, and Suz wanted to have a bash at them.

I adore tomatoes and this will be the third year I’ll be trying to grow the darned things. As we don’t yet own a greenhouse worth talking about (we have a small one that can fit a couple of grow bags in), the first year saw us with about 80 tomato plants outside. I hadn’t realised that pretty much every tomato seed you sow will sprout a plant, and being the sort that hates wasting anything, I gave about 40 away and planetd the rest. It was also the year that blight was rampant and before we knew it we were eating green tomato soup by the gallon before they all rotted away. Mind you – Suz has now perfected her green tomato soup recipe which will probably find its way on to here sometime. Last year the tomatoes succumbed to greenfly early on which meant we lost about 2 weeks of growth. They arrived, but much later than we’d hoped and therefore the crop was eaten in record time. This is the year of the tomato though, I have a feeling.

I treated the chilli seeds in the same way I treated the tomato seeds. I put about an inch of potting compost in a propogator, dibbed my finger in to make a shallow indent, and dropped a single seed in each dent. I then lightly brushed compost over the seeds, sprinkled vermiculite over the whole lot so it just covered the  soil, then sprayed the whole thing liberally. On goes the lid and it’s moved to an east-facing window until something happens. If you get a lot of sun where the propogator is placed then remove the plastic lid as it may get too warm inside for the seeds to germinate – the lid is there to retain moisture and to keep the temperature up where it needs to be, around 18C. You need to keep the compost damp, but not sodden, so a regular misting seems to do the trick.