Friday, 22 January 2016

the chilli seed stocktake

Today was Wilbur Scoville's 151st birthday, thanks to google for the heads up. It's also not a bad time to plant your first peppers, if there's a heated propagator for them (there is) and you have some seeds (and oh, I do). The seed audit produced some surprises (two half-used packets of Black Krim tomato seeds, for example) of which the chilli seed heap was the biggest. I have:

  • Nosferatu, a black chilli with purple flowers, harvested from the very successful season they had last year (I still have one plant overwintering in the verandah).
  • Amy Hungarian Wax, a pretty multicolour chilli that ought to be really easy to grow, but somehow I always struggle with this variety
  • Sweet Pepper sweet sunshine; these fell to the great all-purpose compost disaster last year, but I have four (count 'em) seeds to try again with this year
  • Pepper Bullhorn Mixed; this is a sweetie rather than a chilli, but grows smaller or prolific fruit than a regular sweet pepper. I didn't have enough sun for sweet peppers last year, and none of the plants got to fruit before autumn closed in.
  • Pepper Prairie Fire - I got a few fruit from this one last year. They were quite nice!
  • Mysterious envelopes #1 and #2 - almost certainly from a pack of dried chillies we got from the Eden Project, which were very tasty indeed.
  • Chilli Pepper Trinidad Perfume - This packet is so old that the original supplier is no longer selling this variety! 
  • Chilli Pepper Aji Limon - I struggle to get this one to germinate, but it sounds so lovely I keep persisting. 
  • Chilli Bulgarian Carrot - there's one chilli still alive in the greenhouse, sprawling over the overwintering fuchsias and chrysanthemums. I think it's this variety. No fruit or flowers on it, though.
  • Chilli Vampire - the more compact version of Nosferatu, and just as beautiful and prolific. Purple flowers so pretty no wonder they all get germinated. Reasonable heat once the fruit have reddened, and a good crisp green favour while still black.
  • Chilli Ring of Fire - UK grown chillies don't get enough heat or sun, at any rate in my back garden, and so they have less heat. I had this theory that starting with a fiercer breed might up my scovilles, and this one is supposed to be good for chilli flakes, but it looks like I never even opened the packet last year.
  • Chilli Cherry Bomb - this is the one you stuff with feta. It bombed last year in the aforementioned compost disaster.
  • Chilli Pepper Twilight - this is the decorative one that sometimes turns up in florists. Another unopened packet.
  • Chilli Peter Pepper, aka the chilli willy, bright red and shaped exactly like a thingy... 2015 seeds and sadly unopened!
Some of these packets are three years old, so it's time to get them down. I also feel like I have enough to experiment with. Where can I grow chillies so they get enough sun and warmth? The greenhouse's top shelf is OK, but it's cold early in the year and overshadowed later and besides I need that space for everything else.

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