Do we want superhot chillis this year? Time to propogate!!!
It’s super hot propogation time. I’m a little later than I’d have liked, but hey, that’s life.
It’s particularly nerve wracking this year as I have gone 100% my own seeds. Normally I would purchase seeds from a specialist seed provider, however, over the last couple of years this hasn’t been reliable. I often propagated seeds expecting a particular chilli, only to find when they fruit that it’s something completely different. Not often a pleasant surprise either. It’s a lot of wasted time and effort, not to mention growing space and water.
But this year it's different - we’re experimenting. Earlier in the year I took seeds from the first chillis of the season - only the biggest and the best. The theory being to get chillis that are strong and thrive in our climate, as the Otways in spring/autumn can be quite cold and the plants need to be tough. Got no time for wimpy plants.
So after extraction, I simply leave them to dry. It’s actually a very simple and satisfying task – all you need are some gloves (very important), tweezers, paper towel, a texta, jar lids and most importantly - good music and a glass of wine. But seriously the most critical task is accurate labelling - otherwise I'm back where I started.
But now is crunch time. PROPOGATION. Time to test whether it’s been a success and fundamentally whether I’ll have any chillis this year. If I'm honest I've been putting it off. But I finally bit the bullet and two weeks ago I propagated 13 varieties of superhots including Carolina Reapers, Trinidad Scorpions, 3 varieties of Bhut Jolokia, 4 varieties of Habanero, 7 Pot, Brain Killer, Fatalii and Scotch Bonnets. All in all close to 300 seeds.
Once in the seed mix, I put them on their heat mats at 30C, covered them up and walked away, determined not to keep going in and pestering them. A bit like the old saying a watched kettle never boils. In the end I actually forgot about them for a day or two and went in this morning to check on them and I was blown away. I found that after 12 days, 30 little chilli seedlings were standing to attention demanding to know when they’d see the sun.
To say I’m happy is an understatement. But I should have had more faith and gone in earlier because some have become quite leggy, that’s tall and spindly, as you can see from the photo above. They do this when they’re searching for day light, as they were covered for too long. But this can be fixed at planting out time. I'll give you an update next time.
So now, all these seedlings are under grow lights for 23 hrs a day. There they will be encouraged to grow as big and as strong as possible before I repot them and then put them out into the greenhouse to start getting more acclimatised to natural daylight hours and cooler climate. It’s amazing how quickly they will grow from here. I’ll keep you up to date.
Then it’s onto propagating the remainder of the chillis next month.
So I’m pleased to be able to announce that yes, we will be having superhots in the 2021 chilli season. And all I can say for now os Phew!