How to: Grow Chili

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How to: Grow Chili - by Benson - Swedish Design

How to: Grow Chili

Imagine having your own garden full of chili peppers in all colors and spice levels, doesn't that sound delightful? Growing chili at home is not only fun but also provides access to fresh spicy flavors that can elevate your dishes to a new level.
With a variety of options available, most chili varieties are easier to grow than you might think. Personally, I'm a big fan of jalapeño and pimento de padron. The choice of which chili to grow depends entirely on your preference. If you prefer a bit more heat, habanero might be something to consider, while if you prefer a milder option, pimento de padron or Spanish pepper could be suitable for you.

When it comes to planting chili, they thrive both indoors and outdoors, and planting in pots can be the best option, as you usually only want one plant per variety, since they produce many fruits per season. Having them in pots also allows you to move them more easily, having them outdoors during the day and indoors in the evening. It's also perfectly fine to sow chili from seeds, which is what I usually do. There's something fun about being able to sow early in the year and then have a big re-planting day later in the year. Start by sowing your chili seeds in a small pot or plug box, and re-plant them when the plants start to develop leaves.

Here's how you grow chili, step by step:

  1. Start by choosing your chili varieties.
  2. Prepare your small pot or plug box with soil and moisten it.
  3. Place your seeds in the plug box or pot, cover with about a millimeter of soil, and place them in a sunny spot.
  4. When your plants start to develop leaves, it's time to replant them, take hold of your plant, and move it to a larger pot.
  5. Water often and generously.

What will you need?

Here's how you do it:

To sow your chili from seeds, start by choosing a variety. There are incredibly many different ones, with spice levels ranging from mild to insanely hot. Here it might be good to check the seed packet to see the spice level of the different varieties.

Once you've chosen your variety, you can start sowing your chili indoors, and this is best done in a small pot, a mini greenhouse, or in a plug box. Place your seeds and cover them with about a millimeter of soil, then water. The soil should always be moist but not wet to prevent root rot. When your chili plants have started to develop leaves, it's time for them to move to a larger pot. This is best placed in a warm and sunny place, as chili plants like direct sun.
To replant, take a firm grip on the plant, pull it out of the first container, then place it in the larger pot and cover the entire root ball with soil. Then water plentyfully.

How do I care for and water my chili?

Your chili will enjoy getting water, so watering often to keep the soil moist is important. Watering in the morning is recommended, as it helps the soil absorb all the water. If you water during the day, there's a risk that the water will evaporate instead, especially if you've placed your chili in a sunny spot. Chilis might also need some support, so use a stick and some string to help it if it grows too high. 

When should I harvest my chili?

Your chili is ready to harvest when the fruits are fully developed, and the appearance of these varies a bit. For example, if you've chosen jalapeño, it is when they are large and green, while if you've chosen a habanero, it's when they are either yellow or red and feel firm. Most chili fruits are ready around 60-150 days after planting.

How do I store my chili?

Chili is best stored in the refrigerator and preferably in paper rather than plastic.

Good luck!

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