An update on the Rocotos
It has now been about seven weeks since my Rocoto seedlings were planted. The tallest, named “Rocky” and “Rocco”, are about two to three inches tall. They both have been potted on into 3-inch fibre pots. The rest (still to be named ?) are only about one inch tall. They are still in the eggshells they were started in. The smaller seedlings still only have cotyledons. Once they develop their first set of true leaves, they too be potted on.
I have been pleased with these Chillies progress. Rocky and Rocco obviously like the new potting on mixture I developed last year. They are looking very healthy indeed. They are also definitely responding well to the current fertilization. I feed them with half strength Chilli Focus. I am making sure they get the right amount of moisture with my newly acquired aquameters. These are little devices that allow you to gauge how wet potting soil is. Each of my larger Roccoto plants has one. When the indictor starts changing from blue to white, I know the time has come to give them water.
Since December, I am now only giving my seedlings rainwater. My wife bought me a rainwater barrel, and what a gift it was. I no longer have to use tap water. Watering Chillies with tap water can lead to nutrient lock out. I certainly don’t want that to happen with my Rocotos. They are, after all, my special plants
The general maintenance of these seedlings has been so far, so good. I am however still having to watch the aphids. As always, they always find a way of reappearing. This morning, I aim to wash the seedlings in a soap water solution that I make up. I use one tablespoon of a mild liquid soap like Castille, and add that to a quart of room temperature water. I then mix everything well. Once mixed, I turn the seedlings upside down (still in their pots) and submerge them in the solution. Normally this is enough to kill off any aphids, but to make sure I take it a step further. I allow the seedlings to dry, and then use my fingers to rub their leaves and stems. This wipes off any remaining aphids, whether dead or alive
A final note
I am finding it really interesting growing this Chilli. It is the first time I have grown a C Pubescens variety. A trait of this species is that it has hairy leaves. This is starting to become apparent on both Rocky and Rocco even at this early stage. I am looking forward to the next stage in their development