Firstly, there are many different methods and opinions on how to germinate and plant your chilli seeds. A good starting point for any undertaking these days is the internet. This is how we germinate and plant our seeds.
We would also like to point out that the medium mix we have illustrated below is very basic. If you check the internet, you will see that there are many different seedling mixes that growers have formulated that can include a variety of ingredients from compost to super phosphates, bone meal and much, much, more. We can not comment on those, and have shown the simple mix as it works perfectly well in our experience. There is also a risk side to experimenting with including other ingredients, as this can - in the hands of a novice grower - end up burning plants and possibly killing them. So if you do want to use a different mix, do be cautious. We like to keep things simple and natural ;)
What you will need
There are a couple of things you will need to organise to follow this demonstration:
1 Germinated Seed
This demonstration is based on the fact that you have already followed our demonstration on germinating your Chillihead seeds (HERE)
If you have been successful with your germination, you will find little shoots coming out of your seeds as shown below. The seed below started germinating just 8 days after having been placed in the wet towel. Yours may take longer, but once the seeds have germinated and you can see a little shoot on the seed as shown below, you can remove the seed from the wet paper towel and plant your seed(s). Return the other seeds that have not germinated yet to the zip lock bag for further germinating.
Please take care when handling these delicate seedlings. It is very easy for the shoots to snap off if not handled delicately!
2 The Seedling Mix
There are a number of commercial Seedling Mixes on the market that are available at your local nursery. Be sure to choose a good quality (fine) seedling mix. The reason we recommend Seedling Mix and not normal Potting Soil is that normal Potting soil has large debris in it. This will create more obstacles for the seedling to get through the soil and thus it will take longer for the seedling to emerge from the soil.
Below you can see the difference between Potting Soil (loads of debris) and Seedling Mix (Fine).
3 The Medium
Take the large mixing bowl and mix your Seedling Mix with the Vermiculite / Perlite - 3 parts Seedling Mix to 1 part Vermiculite / Perlite. Mix it well. This should look like the mixture below. The Vermiculite / Perlite helps create air pockets in the soil. This will be beneficial to the chilli plant.
4 Fill the Plant Pot
Fill your Plant Pot container to about 1cm from the top. Do not overfill, you want a lip so when you water, the water will be contained in the pot.
Make sure you apply slight pressure when filling with the Potting Medium. Not too much pressure, you want the soil in the pot to be slightly compressed, but not squashed solid.
5 Creating the hole for the seed
The hole you make for the seed is quite important. You want the right depth. This can be easily gaged by taking a pencil and masking off (with a piece of masking tape) 1 - 1,5cm from the tip of the pencil. Now use this to make a hole in the middle of the soil in your pot. The pencil should only go as deep as the masking tape you put on your pencil as shown below.
If you make the hole too shallow, the seed may well come out of the soil, but will not loose its husk. Make the hole too deep and it may take much longer for the seed to break through the soil. In our experience 1 - 1,5cm is about right. It allows for the seedling to travel through enough soil to shake its husk and is a good compromise on speed.
6 Plant your seed in the hole
Once the hole is made, drop your germinated seed into the hole. If you can, then with the root/shoot pointing into the hole and the husk ontop. Once in the hole, fill the hole over with potting medium and gently firm down the soil. Unfortunately we could not capture this on camera. But should be easy to comprehend.
7 Label Label Label
Labelling is such an important stage of the growing process. There is truly nothing worse than not knowing what the plant is that you are growing. So Label your plant growing in your pot. Plastic plant tags can be bought at your local nursery, but a good cheaper alternative is an icecream stick or a chop stick. These can be bought on mass and are cheap and will do the job just as well. I have also seen people use plastic disposable knives or plsatic strips cut from a white plastic milk bottle. Please ensure to use a permanent marker. When these get wet, the ink will run or wash off completely if the ink is not permanent!
8 Water your seedling
Once your plant has been planted, water. A little sensitivity is required here. Do not over water. Make sure the soil is moist at all times. The soil should never be water logged or squiggy though. Moist soil is important for the seedling to grow and moist soil will ensure the seedling drops/throws its husk easily. Letting your soil dry out completely at this stage may well result in the seedling dying.
9 Keep warm and in a light place
Now that your plant pot with the seed has been watered, you will need to find a nice warm spot in the house for the pot. Preferably a sunny spot or a spot with good artificial lighting. Those among us that are going to be doing this on an ongoing basis should look at investing in a light (grow light) that can light the pot. Nothing more than a low voltage energy saving globe is required at this stage.
10 Look for the hook
All things being well and if you have followed this demonstration correctly, in a few days time, you will see the shoot breaking through the soil. This shoot is called a hook as it resembles a hook coming out of the soil. It will be all upward and onward from here!
We will post further reading shortly HERE.
*Please note that you are free to download and use this information for personal use only (not commercially) and while free, copyright laws do apply. This means you are allowed to download but all content and images remain the property of Chillihead and may not be disseminated or reproduced for financial gain in any way or manner what so ever.