The growing season has begun

An unexpected surprise

So, the 2022 Chilli growing season officially began for me today.   Even though I had prepared for it, at the last moment the start of the season went pear shaped. I had followed my own advice and placed the seed into the refrigerator for three days. Also, as part of an experiment, I also put the same varieties into a deep freeze.  I did this to find out whether cooling or freezing seeds is better for seed starting

After wrapping the seeds in aluminium foil, I placed them individually into seed tray inserts in mini seed starter trays with lids.  The inserts consist of twelve cavities. I faithfully labelled each cavity with the variety it contained. The covered seed starter trays were then placed into the fridge and deep-freeze. The seeds were taken from the fridge and deep-freeze after three days. They were brought to room temperature, and I then poured weak Camomile tea into the trays. It was at that point, the unexpected happened.

Where I thought the seeds would remain in their individual cavities, they decided to go wandering. I had not realised there was a gap between the seed tray inserts and the bottom of the trays. Thus, the seeds didn’t stay where they should have. They escaped from a hole in the bottom of the seed insert cavities. What I was left with was a pool of water with Chilli seeds of various sizes floating in a pool of water at the bottom of the seed trays. I was now faced with the fact that I had a whole bunch of perfectly viable Chili seeds, but I was unable to tell the one from the other.  What a way to start the Chilli growing season!

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The Chillies I am growing in 2022

The Chilli types I am growing

Types of Chillies

I am going to town this year. I am growing over thirty-five types of Chillies. Some are overwintered plants, but I have also started thirty new varieties I have never grown before. These  range from the mild Bellaforma (700 SHU) to the superhot Carolina reaper (which has an average Scoville heat rating of 1.64 million SHU).

There are many other Scoville ratings for the other Chilli varieties  I am trying put between these two extremes.  These range from medium to very hot.   They cover most domesticated Chilli species, including C annuum, C pubescens, C baccatum, C chinense and C frutescens.

I am growing more superhots this season than I usually do. It’s not that I am a fan of the superhots heat levels; it’s more because these Chillies are so interesting. They certainly seem more challenging to grow than the milder types of Chilllies, but that just adds to the fun. I also want to experiment more with using superhots in cooking. Growing these extra superhot varieties will make this possible

The Rocotos that I am growing deserve a special mention. It is the first time I have grown C pubescens, and I must say I am impressed. In the short time these Chillies have been growing, they have done exceptionally well. They have done far better than any of the other Chillies. I can only put this down to the cold weather resistance of C pubescens. My other Chillies are now between one and two inches tall after four months of growing. The Rocotos are that height (and even taller at about 3 to 4 inches, after only ten weeks). No wonder Rocotos are so popular among British Chilli growers. They are certainly a robust species.

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