Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Mini Growbox Test

I needed somewhere warm and bright to get my chillies started off and to keep them healthy until they're ready to go outside, so I built this box out of scraps I found around the house.

There are 2 jalapeño seeds in each of those 4 'empty' pots. I'll let them all grow a bit, then kill off the weaker ones. I read that that's a good way to make sure you only end up with strong, healthy plants, so I thought I'd see how well it works.

That tall, thin plant is a radish that I put in there as a sort of test subject. I have radishes in other places too (the garden, the kitchen windowsill, an artificially lit propagator etc.), and I compare them all so I can keep a check on which growing environments are working well. They're all a bit stretched though, as you can see in the picture, because they didn't get enough light when they first popped up.

I also have a heat mat underneath them to keep them nice and warm, even when the light's off.

This is just a temporary box, I'll be upgrading to a more solid structure with proper insulation and lighting when I get some more money. I'll also be making little modifications to this box while I save up for the new one, like putting foil on the other sides to help keep the heat in.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

And so it begins

I decided to buy a few seeds and other things from a local shop while I waited for my chilli seeds to be delivered. I bought some cucumber, dwarf tomato and radish seeds, a cheap little propagator, some cheap compost and some miracle-gro compost (to mix with the cheap stuff to give it a little boost).

The propagator has 24 cells, so I decided to use half of it for those seeds and save the other half for my first batch of chillies. I made an oopsie though. After I filled up the 12 cells, I went to put the propagator on my bed while I sorted out a warm place to keep it, and I dropped it, covering my bed in compost and mixing up all of the seeds :(
I picked out all of the seeds that I could find, replanted them and whatnot, but I must have missed a few as some of the cells now have multiple stems coming up.

A little tip for people that don't have heated propagators or an airing cupboard to keep it warm: I put mine on top of a laptop charger and covered the whole thing with a towel to keep some of the heat trapped in. It seems to be doing a great job, I have 7 germinated seeds just 3 or 4 days after planting, whereas my sister's propagator has produced absolutely nothing so far.
I will be upgrading slightly in a few days though, I'm planning on ordering a heat mat to place under the propagator as soon as I get the money for it.

My chilli seeds have arrived now, so I'll have some more posts coming up in the next few days which will show me testing out two methods of germination (wet paper towel/straight into soil) for chilli seeds, some basic propagators that I've made out of water bottles, and the beginnings of my attempt at making an indoor growing box, complete with lighting, air filters and automatic feeding systems.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Buying my first seeds

I'll be buying my seeds from Amazon, as they're a trusted website with a great review system to let me know which seeds are worth buying.
This is the first set of seeds I'm going to buy:

This seed set includes 15 Jalapeño seeds, 15 Hungarian Hot Wax seeds, 15 Habanero seeds and 15 Ring O Fire.
This is a great set to start off with as it has the Jalapeño peppers that I love, with some interesting new peppers for me to try. It's also apparently fairly easy to grow in the UK under the right conditions.

I'm also considering buying Bhut Jolokia seeds, just to see if me and my family and friends can handle the chilli that once held the title of World's Hottest Chilli Pepper, and Piri Piri/Peri Peri seeds, because I love it in sauces and on chicken.

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