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chili prairie fire

Chili 'Prairie Fire'

Jude Jude
13/01/2023 · 6 minutes reading time

Help your January plants grow big and strong!

Here’s what’s ahead:

Getting Started

Chilli "Prairie Fire" is almost as fiery as the prairie sun – and also extremely robust. It can handle both pot and outdoor conditions and produces a lot of small fruits. No matter where you choose to grow your plant later on, it is best to start growing indoors in February.

The most important information at a glance:

  • Seed depth: 0.2 - 0.5 cm

  • Germination temperature: 20 - 28 °C

  • Germination time: 20 – 28 days

  • Location: Sunny and warm

  • Growing indoors: Feb - May

  • Put outdoors: From mid-May

  • No-till not recommended

  • Transplanting: As soon as 2 pairs of leaves have formed

  • Final planting distance: 40 cm in all directions

  • Final pot depth: Min 20 cm

  • Type: Heavy-Feeder

Sowing

  • Fill a seed tray (e.g. a fruit bowl) with potting soil.

  • Use your finger to poke holes 2 cm apart in the soil. They should be about 2 cm deep as well.

  • Tear the calendar sheet into snippets, with one seed in each portion, and put one snippet in each hole.

  • Seal the holes with soil and water everything well.

  • Place the bowl on the windowsill.

  • Keep the seed consistently moist until germination.

chili seedlings on an windowsill

Location

  • Nutrient-rich, loose soil in the bed; use vegetable soil in the pot

  • Sunny and warm, sheltered from the wind

  • Good Neighbours: Arugula, basil, chervil, mustard, parsley, radishes

  • Bad Neighbours: Beetroot, fava beans, fennel, kohlrabi, peas

Separating and Transplanting

After a few weeks, your seedlings will feel too cramped in their trays. So that they don't have to fight for water and nutrients, you should plant them in individual pots. This conversion is also called "transplanting".

Here’s how it works:

  • Fill as many small pots with vegetable soil as you have seedlings.

  • The pots should be about 11 cm in diameter and have a drainage hole at the bottom. Use a coaster to keep the water from dripping onto your surface.

  • You can sort out and remove weakly grown specimens before transplanting.

  • Gently lift the seedlings out of the soil with a pricking stick or spoon.

  • Only touch them by the stem so as not to injure the delicate leaves.

  • Use your finger to poke holes in the new pots and place the plants in them, covering them with soil up to the first leaves.

  • Lightly press down the soil around the edges of the pot.

  • Water the seedlings well and put them back on the windowsill.

  • Transfer them to their final location.

Starting in May, you typically won't have any more night frosts that would damage your chillies, so your pre-sown plants can hang out in a bed or on a balcony outside.

Before then though, you should acclimate the young plants to the harsher environmental conditions outdoors by placing them outside in a sheltered spot for and bringing them back inside at night. Do this for about a week to make the transition outdoors less stressful for your new plant-friends.

chili prairie fire in a pot

Transferring to the bed

  • Clear your bed of weeds and work in some compost with the rake.

  • Dig holes in the soil 16 inches (40 cm) apart, and slightly larger than the root ball or pots of your plants. They can be planted a little deeper. This will give the plants more stability as they grow.

  • Sprinkle some more fertiliser or a small shovel of compost into the planting hole and put the plant in, then close the hole and water everything well.

Transferring to large pot

  • If you don't have a garden or prefer to grow your chillies in a pot, here's what you can do:

  • Grab pots that are at least 8 inches in diameter and have a drainage hole at the bottom. (don't forget coasters)

  • Fill the pots a little with vegetable soil and add some fertiliser or compost.

  • Put the plant in the pot. You can plant them a little deeper to give them more stability. Remove some soil if necessary.

  • Fill the rest of the pot with soil and press it down around the edges.

  • Water everything well and put your pots on the windowsill or on the balcony.

Care

  • Water regularly, avoid waterlogging

  • Fertilise regularly (compost, organic fertiliser)

  • If the sun is too strong, the leaves can burn – you will see large, whitish spots. If necessary, create some shade for your plants.

  • For indoor pollination, shake occasionally during flowering or pollinate by hand with a brush. Outdoors, insects take care of pollination for you.

Diseases and Pests

  • Aphids: wipe with a cloth or spray with a soap and water mixture.

  • Lacewing larvae and neem oil can help with aphids, mealybugs and thrips.

  • Regular fertilisation strengthens the plants and makes them less susceptible.

chili flowers

Wintering

Without rest:

  • Chilies hibernate bright and warm on the windowsill.

  • As a result, they will grow and bloom even in winter.

  • Regular watering is still necessary.

  • To prevent pests such as fungus gnats, ventilate well, spray with lukewarm water from time to time and avoid waterlogging.

With rest (recommended):

  • Winter growth is very strenuous for your chillies, since there are only a few hours of sunshine. If you overwinter the chillies in a cool room, they will sprout fresh in the spring, provide more yield and can live to be several years old.

  • Harvest all fruit before dormancy, cut back above the first branches and move to a window in a cooler room (12-18°C).

  • As soon as the chillies sprout again in spring, put them back into a pot of the same size and keep them a little warmer.

  • You can bring them back outside from mid-May.

  • As an alternative to cutting back before winter, you can also do so in spring before the first shoots appear.

  • Water sparingly and don't fertilise.

Harvest

  • Harvest from August to October

  • Pods first turn yellow and then red

  • Cut off ripe pods with scissors

  • To obtain the seeds, cut open the chillies, remove the seeds and let them dry on a cloth for a few days.

chili prairie fire

Enjoy

  • Sharpness level: 9 – about 70,000 Scoville

  • Use raw or cooked

  • Drying or pickling possible; Cut in half and spread out on a towel to dry. Then fill into a grinder or crumble with your fingers.

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