Chili Cultivation Monthly Calendar
Exciting chili growing tasks are to be done from January to December. They are happy to fulfill real breeders with a lot of dedication. Here we have written down a timetable for when and which tasks are to be done. If you want to harvest many hot chillies in late summer, you should start planning in the old year. But according to the order, we start in January (in the northern hemisphere. If you live in the southern hemisphere, please change months):
For really hot chillies you should start your chili breeding early in the new year. Some particularly hot fruits need 270 days from sowing to harvest. Seeds from Habaneros, Rocotos, Bhut Jolokia, Scorpion and Carolina Reaper are best planted in early January.
For early ripening varieties like Early Jalapeno we can take more time. We have got used to start soaking the chili seeds in the first week of January. After one to two days, the pre-treated seeds move into the greenhouse with a humid, warm climate. We like to use coconut spring pots as growing medium . These have proven to be very effective for the cultivation of chili plants. In the old year we already selected the chili varieties, ordered seeds in the chilishop and cleaned utensils.
The first seedlings show their tender green colour in mid-January. The chilis season is on. Clean your flower pots from last year, soon they will be needed.
After some chili seeds germinated two weeks ago, it is now time to isolate them. For pricking, flower pots, soil and in the best case a pricking stick are used. Once the first leaves have formed next to the cotyledons, we carefully start fertilising the young plants. Lack of daylight is supplemented by additional plant light.
Special fluorescent tubes and LED lamps cover a suitable light spectrum in an energy-saving way. In February it is time to dispose of old soil from balcony boxes and plant tubs. Small amounts of old potting soil can be disposed of in the green bin. Clean the plant pot afterwards.
An important date is scheduled for the end of February: The National Chili Day1. This chili day is the last Thursday in February. Usually the American #NationalChiliDay lies between 20. and 25.02. In America this is duly celebrated in honour of Chili. A big event in honor of the fiery vegetables. Don’t forget.
Also in February you can plant further Chilisorten. Jalapeno, Anaheim, Peperoni and Serrano come to one spontaneously there. These varieties do not need to grow as long as Capsicum chinense or baccatum Chilis. For a quick supply of pepper, pepperoni and chilli seeds, visit the discount store, DIY store and garden centre. More varieties are available in many chili shops, which often ship at lightning speed.
This month is still ideal for setting up nesting aids for birds and insect hotels in the garden. Later the measures help to support the natural plant protection.
Check your garden plants for aphids. Typical places where you can find black, shiny eggs are buds and under the leaves of roses.
After a few young plants have grown for six weeks, your flower pots are already too small. A further repotting is then beneficial. Take a pot that has 2 - 3 cm more diameter than the previous one. An initial, restrained amount of fertilizer can be slowly increased. Long-term fertilizers and tomato fertilizers are well suited for chillies.
Last Call: sow fast-growing chillies and peppers, now also in a heated greenhouse. Vegetable bed dug up with compost or manure. If necessary, improve the soil with further additives. Soil testers are available to optimally adjust the pH value. Chilierde should be in the range of pH 5.5 to 6.5. Jalapeños gladly up to 7.
A few days in April will reach spring-like temperatures. Take advantage of this for the first, cautious outings of the chili offspring. Remember that your plants are not yet accustomed to wind and sun. Plants should always harden slowly.
In the greenhouse you must pay attention to the air circulation. Otherwise mould and waterlogging will form. Both are very unhealthy for chillies. Usually this is followed by other problems such as pest infestation and plant diseases. Unused beds are covered with fleece by some gardeners. This prevents pests from hatching and penetrating the soil.
If you have not yet grown chili seeds, you can order chili young plants online or buy them from the nursery. Ornamental chillies are often offered in vegetable departments or on the market. Depending on the shop, rare and particularly hot varieties must be pre-ordered. However, it is still time to sow sweet peppers.
At the beginning of May the chillies are systematically hardened and prepared for a harsh climate. In the so-called Hardening Off, plants are slowly accustomed to the sun and wind. The day will come when your chili plants will have to survive rain showers and hot winds. Only trained chillies will pass such a test immediately without any damage.
In May, chillies often get bigger problems with pests. Regular monitoring for pest infestation and plant diseases is now particularly important.
As a rule, no more night frosts are to be expected after 15 May and, finally, even frost-sensitive vegetable species can be allowed outdoors permanently.
Greenhouses can be well ventilated on warm days. In the event that it gets too hot in the greenhouse, covering it can provide shade. Temperatures far above 40°C (104 °F) do not like the otherwise warm loving chillies any more.
Don’t let them turn you into a snail and set up fences against them. Snails can destroy your previous efforts overnight.
The first flowers often form in May. Royal flowers must be removed for a higher harvest. You can recognize this special flower by the fact that it is smaller and grows in a tall chili fork. If you want to obtain a few pure seeds, you can bind some flowers with tea bags so that no foreign pollen dust fertilizes them.
If you value purity, the chili flowers must pollinate themselves. Many growers protect the flowers from cross pollination by tea bags, which are bound by the flower base.
It gets warm and warmer. Proper watering is now the be-all and end-all in chili growing. Water early enough before the root ball dries out. Also not on the leaves while the sun is high, otherwise burns can occur. No water droplets should stick to the plants overnight. Such places are a good entry source for fungi and bacteria.
June is a difficult month for your chillies as it offers the best conditions for fungal diseases. Trace elements of copper and sulphur in fertilizers protect against fungal attack. Special copper-fungus-free products are usually available at DIY stores.
When using fertilizers, the proportion of potassium and phosphorus should be increased. This ensures more flowers and fruit. Nitrogen for rapid growth is no longer needed as much of the chilli.
This month, water is important. If possible, do not use calcareous water. Otherwise the soil will be saturated with lime due to the high demand. The pH value rises and your plants cannot absorb urgently needed nutrients for the developing green chillies. Do not take cold water. Too large a temperature difference can have a devastating effect on plants.
If there is a pest infestation in the greenhouse, you can expose ichneumon wasps or predatory mites as beneficial insects. Cut off shoots heavily infested by pests. Otherwise, neem oil is recommended for effective pest control in a natural way. If your chili plants produce too many heavy fruits: Support the plants.
Scarecrows if you don’t want to share your harvest with birds. To be fair, birds have helped to keep your garden in ecological balance. Treat them to a few ripening chili peppers.
You can let the fertilizers slowly fade away. But always follow the instructions on the fertilizer.
Time for harvesting, chili festivals, hot food and barbecue. You can take a snapshot of flowers that have only just formed. They won’t become any more, unless they provide a good opportunity to spend the winter. Remove fruits that are overripe. They are otherwise used as a gateway by fungi, bacteria and insects.
In the first weeks of September we treat the chillies that are brought into the house with neem oil. Otherwise we have made the experience that otherwise pests get into the apartment, which soon destroy the plants. Because of the lack of natural enemies, like ladybirds and Co. the vermin quickly develops.
The planning for next year must start. Create piles of leaves and brushwood in the garden. They serve as quarters for hedgehogs and ladybirds.
Picked green chilli peppers do not ripen. So it is best to eat or pickle them fresh.
You will have to bring in your chili plants this month. Before the first night frost, otherwise the chillies will die. If you can’t or don’t want to continue the cultivation under artificial light in your apartment, humble the chillies to a height of about 20 cm. Through the winter, the plants then go on the low flame. If the days become longer again, the chili starts to produce many small leaves again.
Chillies are healthy and strengthen our immune system2, especially in winter. That’s why you should enjoy your preserved chillies this month. Relax from an exciting chili season. Now you also have time to reflect on how your chili madness affects your partner and contemporaries.
It’s time to plan for a new chili season. Which varieties? Are there any new chili seeds at my trusted chili dealers?
Greenhouses are cleaned, source tabs are obtained and the chili varieties are determined. Seeds of new cool chili varieties are ordered in webshops and are ready to hand in the new year.