Things are hotting up in one customer’s polytunnel…
The team at Clifton Chilli Club ordered and constructed their 10ft wide x 20ft long allotment polytunnel in May, and it was quickly filled with a variety of chilli plants.
Three months later and the club are growing chillies of all different flavours, from the humble Padron, Jalapeno, and Habanero to the hotter end of the scale with Pink Tiger, Yellow 7 Pod, Bhut Jolokia (Ghost pepper), and the world’s current hottest chilli pepper, the Carolina Reaper.
How to Grow Chillies
When it comes to growing chillies, Clifton Chilli Club are on top of the game. They are also well known for hosting chilli eating competitions in the UK and millions of people have viewed their YouTube videos, showing contestants sweating and turning red as they take bites of hotter and hotter chillies!
So, who better to give advice on how to grow your own chillies than this club! Here are some of their top chilli growing tips…
When growing chillies from seed it is important that you buy the seeds from a reputable source, meaning that you are more likely to get a strong, stable plant of a genuine strain. Also, the hotter the chilli, the longer it takes to grow and ripen, so if you want fast results, you should consider milder flavours.
If you are serious about growing chilli plants, it's worthwhile investing in some equipment, such as a polytunnel, which will help to grow and sustain healthy plants. Heated propagators are also handy and the Clifton Chilli Club recommendation is for the soil to be peat free.
Growing Chillies UK
The UK isn’t known for its hot, sunny climate, but chilli seeds really love the heat, so warming the compost before planting your seeds is recommended. The ideal temperature for growing chillies from seed is 27-32 °C, so it’s best to sow them in spring or start them off indoors, moving them into the polytunnel when two true leaves have formed.
It’s important to keep the humidity in the polytunnel relatively high so that the soil doesn’t dry out – keeping the soil moist, but not waterlogged, is important during germination.
Once the seedlings are a few centimetres high, you can pot them on in a bigger pot, giving the roots more room to spread. Continue to keep them well-watered and, when the first fruits appear, nourish the plants with a high potash organic feed.
So, if you want to grow your own chillies, why not start by investing in a polytunnel and take a look at our guide to growing and drying your chillies here.
For more inspiration, check out the video below to take a tour around the Clifton Chilli Club’s polytunnel.