Tips from the Chilli Expert #1 Planting your seeds

There’s been huge excitement around Wahaca all week at the thought of the launch of our first ever Chilli Expert video, and we’re pleased to say that the wait has come to an end!

You may remember back in May we started our search for the Wahaca Chilli Expert, and much tweeting, blogging, filming and soul-searching later, we found our man in none other than Craig McNight (It was his increadibly cool surname that confirmed him as our winner!). Since then Craig (or @wegrowourown to his twitterarti) has been busy filming for us, and here is his first video and blog post. Take it away Craig…

Hi and welcome to the first of my ‘Chilli Expert’ videos for Wahaca. In this video I’ll be showing you how to make sure that your chilli seeds have the best chance of germinating, and growing into lovely big chilli plants.

Chilli plants grow best with lots of warmth and sunshine, so sowing in January or February is ideal to give them a good head start to catch lots of rays over the summer months, however as long as you keep them warm and with in some daylight they should grow any time of year.

There are a few bits of basic equipment that you will need. You’ll need a plant pot, some multi-purpose compost, a spray bottle, and obviously your seeds!

First fill your pot with the compost and firm it down. Spray the compost with the spray bottle, but the idea is keep the compost moist, rather than drenching it.

If you are using the Wahaca chilli seeds, snap off the matchstick carefully and plant it point end down into the compost to the mark on the matchstick. However, if you are using your own chilli seeds instead, just place them on top of the compost, cover them with another 0.5cm of compost, and then lightly spray it again with the water spray.

Now what your chilli seeds need are heat and moisture. You can help them along by covering the pot with clingfilm and putting it somewhere warm like a windowsill over a radiator, or an airing cupboard.

Check the seeds every day, and spray the compost again if it seems as if it is too dry. Remember the idea is to keep the compost moist and not wet!

Also if you have put the seeds in the airing cupboard to help them along, take them once they have germinated, otherwise you will end up with weak, leggy plants which is a big no-no!

You can also plant the seeds directly into compost in a heated propagator, which you can pick up for a few pounds online or at your local gardening centre. If you’re doing this, plant the seeds about 5-6cm apart.

Also, be aware that different varieties of chilli seeds take different times to germinate. On average they can take up to 3 weeks to germinate, but some hotter varieties can take up to six weeks, so just sit on your hands and be patient!

In my next video, I’ll be showing how to make sure that your just germinated seeds grow into lovely large chilli plants. See you then!

You can read more from Craig on his own blog, www.wegrowourown.co.uk