Sowing pepper seeds, hot peppers are a very popular crop both in pots and in the garden, there are several varieties different in shape, color and degree of spiciness. To have good results in cultivation it is very important to choose the right time to sow: if the pepper does not find sufficient summer heat it may not be able to ripen.
Some of the hotter varieties are used to tropical temperatures, require a lot of sun and several hot days. To cultivate them it is better to use a heated seedbed, in order to anticipate growth compared to what the Italian climate would allow.
The decision as to when to sow therefore depends on the characteristics of the type of pepper we want to grow, on the climate of our area and on how we want to set up cultivation. The use of a growbox that allows the seedlings to develop indoors, for example, allows sowing even in the middle of winter.
The pepper sowing period is between January and April, to be more precise you need to know the variety you want to plant. Chilli is a typical crop of the south: Calabrian ones are famous in Italy, but there are many varieties originating from other continents, such as Latin America. These are therefore plants accustomed to other latitudes, suitable for climates closer to the equator, including capsicum chinense, such as the habanero pepper.
For this reason, sowing in April in many cases is not a good idea: some varieties take a long time to ripen the fruit and require a lot of sun, starting in late spring means that winter could arrive before the fruits are ready for collection.
On the other hand, if you choose to sow in January or February, you will not be able to transplant before the temperatures are permanently above 15 degrees, even at night, so you need to have a growbox in which to keep the seedling, which will remain in pot. for a few months.
How to sow chillies
Chilli seeds can be purchased, but without too much difficulty you can also decide to preserve them by obtaining them from chillies collected the year before. In this regard, I recommend the guide on how to store the seeds.
The sowing of chilli pepper is simple and is similar to that of sweet pepper: it starts by filling jars or hollowed-out containers with suitable soil, perhaps mixing a little earthworm humus., Useful for rooting the young shoot in the best possible way. The seed must be placed in the earth, which must be buried no more than one centimeter deep. At this point all that remains is to wait, taking care not to let the earth in the jar dry out: it will be necessary to water gently every day. The temperature that allows germination is around 20 degrees, generally 18 degrees at night and 23/25 degrees during the day are recommended.
As an alternative to pots with soil, you can also choose to sow with the scottex method, which has the advantage of leaving the seeds visible, and therefore of seeing the sprout emerge. Seed germination usually takes between 7 and 15 days. Some peppers have seeds that are a little more difficult to grow, due to the very rigid integument that encloses them. In this case, a bath in warm chamomile can help. After successful sowing, we start with the cultivation of chili peppers. You can find useful tips in the guide to the cultivation of chili peppers. To produce healthy vegetables it is best to use only natural methods and follow the guidelines of organic farming.
Sowing and the moon
The hot peppers are a fruit vegetable, wanting to follow the tradition they should be sown on a growing moon, a lunar phase favorable to vegetative development and fruiting. However, if you are preparing to grow chillies indoors, it makes little sense to take the moon into consideration. For those interested in learning more about this issue, I recommend reading the article on the influence of the moon in agriculture, while those who want to sow following the moon should look at what phase of the moon they are in.
The grow box for chillies. Let’s find out how to design a DIY grow box, or how to choose which one to buy, from lights to heating. FIND OUT MORE
Nursery and indoor cultivation
As we have seen, in order to grow the hottest varieties of chilli it is essential to be able to anticipate sowing and carry it out during the winter. In many cases it is advisable to continue growing the plant in a heated environment after germination, practicing indoor cultivation for a few months. Growing indoors means being able to control the temperature, humidity and light to which the young plant is subjected; this allows to recreate an environment as suitable as possible for its development.
Heating the seedbed is very simple: the dimensions required for the birth of the seed are really small and a heating mat is enough to guarantee the temperature suitable for many seeds.
When the plants start to grow, however, more space is needed, and by developing the first leaves it is also necessary to ensure the right lighting. It is therefore necessary to prepare the so-called “growbox”, a box equipped with internal light and heating in which to house the plants until they are transplanted outside.
Building a growbox is a topic on which I wrote a specific study. The primary needs that the plant has in indoor cultivation are light, air, water and heat. It is necessary to choose a lighting that provides the right shade, for example the LED, there are also specific lamps for plants. Some light bulbs, in addition to lighting, heat up, but often better heating is needed; it can be made with a heating cable. Ventilation is also important, which allows the circulation of air and avoids the proliferation of mold. Water can be supplied as needed with a sprayer for nebulising. To keep under control the conditions in which the plant lives, it is useful to have a measuring unit in the growbox with thermostat and hygrometer to detect temperatures and humidity.
You may be interested to read about the Hot peppers: grow guide/ Habanero pepper blogpost/ Calabrian chilli blogpost/ Jalapeño pepper blogpost/ Naga morich pepper blogpost/ Carolina reaper blogpost/ Bhut jolokia blogpost/ frying top steak recipe.