How to grow chilli plants

chilli plant close-up

Sow seeds into a pot of compost, covering them with 5mm of sifted compost. Lightly firm down with the bottom of another pot, then gently water the seeds.

Place a sheet of newspaper over the pot and put it on a warm, sunny windowsill or in the greenhouse until the seeds have germinated.

Prepare a sheltered, sunny bed against a fence or a wall, digging plenty of mature manure or compost into the ground some weeks before planting your chilli plants.

Once the seeds have begun to grow, remove the newspaper. When the seedlings have produced four or five leaves, prick them out of their original pot and replant each one into a 3in pot of its own.

After two weeks, place pots outdoors during the warmest part of the day, gradually increasing the time outside until all risk of frost has gone. Then plant them into their final growing positions. Feed and water once a week.

Green chillies should be ready for picking in August or September. If you want red or yellow chillies, leave them on the plant until they change colour. Visit www.chileseeds.co.uk or www.thompson-morgan.com to buy seeds.

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