If you're looking to go green and be a little more eco-friendly, one smart way is to plant your own vegetable garden. If you don't have the outdoor space, an indoor garden can be just as rewarding and if you're fairly handy in the kitchen, the bonus doubles: You'll reduce your carbon footprint and have plenty of fresh produce on hand. In the case of chilli peppers, there's a variety available to plant, each with its own distinct flavour guaranteed to spice up your dishes.
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Things you need
- Chilli pepper seedlings or seeds
- Pots (plastic preferred)
- Potting soil
- Small rocks or small broken pieces of terracotta
- Full-spectrum grow light
- 1/2 inch dowel rod, 36 inches long
- String or yarn
- Gardening trowel
Decide the location of the garden pots in your home or room. Clear the space. Pepper plants thrive in heat and humidity, so keep this in mind when choosing optimal growing space. Kitchens are good bet, provided there's enough sunlight coming through the windows to add extra heat to the room and the plants are away from any cooling vents. Otherwise, you may want to consider raising your thermostat a few degrees.
Position your pots on a flat level surface and line the pot bottoms with the rocks or terracotta. Fill all the pots to their tops with the potting soil. Plant seeds or place seedlings in the soil and water until moist, being careful not to oversaturate the soil. Stick dowel rods vertically into the soil next to where you planted the seeds or seedlings.
Position your light source about 6 inches above the pots; you want the light to be adjustable to accommodate the growth height of the plants. Chilli plants are light lovers, requiring at least 14 hours of light a day.
Water your plants every two to three days, checking the leaves for any signs of aphids or other pests and treat accordingly, usually with organic anti-pest sprays available at most gardening stores. Use string to attach the plants to dowel rods when the plants reach sufficient height. When the peppers reach their full size (which varies upon pepper type) and colour, it's time to harvest.
Tips and warnings
- Buying an adjustable reading lamp and replacing the bulb with the indoor growing bulb creates an excellent light source.
- Chilli peppers contain a natural chemical called capsaicin that is a major skin and eye irritant. Use rubber gloves when handling the peppers to prevent irritation.
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