It’s that time of year again, when all the gardeners are just itching to get sowing seeds to mark the start of the new season. Or maybe those first seed sowings are a silent celebration to signify the end winter is in finally in sight! We don’t have any extra lighting or propagators/heat mats here, so there isn’t too much that we can sow at this time of year due to lack of daylight before the spring equinox. But some vegetables need a really long growing season or are hardy enough to survive the colder weather. Here is what we have started sowing in early February.

The 2021 Chilli List

One thing we do sow early though is our chilli plants. Chillis have an especially long season, and take a long time to germinate, meaning they take a lot of patience on my part! Lots of people advise against sowing chilli seeds in February without extra heat/light, but mine seem to do okay. I sow 5 seeds to each pot and keep them near the radiator in my kitchen. The ones pictured above are actually in a cupcake carrier and I keep the lid on to act as a propagator and keeps both the heat in and humidity up.

For germination, they don’t need much light but do like it to be between 20 – 27 degrees. I suspect the temperatures in my kitchen fluctuate quite a lot, which is why my germination will be a little slower. As soon as they pop through the soil, I will be moving them to the sunniest windowsill we have so that they can get plenty of light. Worst case scenario is that they don’t germinate, and I sow some more in March. The ones that do germinate will have a bit of a head start – but I am expecting them to take at least 3-4 weeks, so I don’t expect to see any signs of life until the beginning of March.

Sweet peppers

SOWN 1ST FEBRUARY

  • Amy – Reliable crops of sweet, full flavour fruit, ripens yellow to pale red
  • Golden Bell – Bell-shaped, thick walled peppers, sweet and mild, ripen green to yellow.
  • Friggitello – Long slim pointed fruits, ripen from green to red. Prolific cropper
  • California Wonder – Traditional thicked-walled red and green sweet bell peppers

Chilli peppers

SOWN 1ST FEBRUARY

Our hot pepper varieties this year and their Scoville heat value. We don’t have anything too hot!

  • Anaheim 500-2,000
  • De cayenne 30,000 – 50,000
  • Habanero (red) 100,000 – 350,000
  • Habanero (orange) 100,000 – 350,000
  • Hungaran hot wax  5,000 – 10,000
  • Jalapino 2,500-8,000
  • Lemon drop 15,000 – 30,000
  • Peter pepper 10,000 – 23,000
  • Red cherry 2,500-5,000
  • Thai dragon 50,000 – 100,000

Aubergine

This is another plant that has an exceptionally long season. I have to admit as a family we aren’t big  Aubergines fan. That being said, we have never tasted a homegrown version, and I am hoping that having one plant in our new greenhouse this season will help convince us to love them.

Aubergine

SOWN 1ST FEBRUARY

  • Black Beauty – One of the earliest, most popular and reliable varieties, producing heavy crops of deep purple, egg shaped globes  that grow to about 6 to 5 inches on sturdy plants.   The flesh is smooth, creamy and pale yellow. Reliable crops of sweet, full flavour fruit, ripens yellow to pale red

Onions

You can sow onions from seed from January, although I thought I would hold off until we had built new greenhouse, and it was ready to provide the young onion seedlings with some shelter from the elements. This is our first year growing onions from seed, in previous years on our old allotment I grew all our onions from sets. Onions (from sets) were some of the first things we planted last year on our new allotment (see photo below)

Onions / Shallots

SOWN 7ST FEBRUARY

  • Bedfordshire Champion (seeds gifted, thanks Moss & Carol) Moss & Carol sowed them in their cold greenhouse on boxing day 2019, then transplanted in spring. They had excellent crop of delicious flavoured, good size onions for storing
  • Zebrune Often described as a shallot or banana shallot, Zebrune is actually an onion with a mild, sweet flavour we associate with shallots.

Spring onions

SOWN 7ST FEBRUARY

  • Ishikura Bunching  (seeds gifted, thanks Caroline & Mick). Ishikura does not bulb, but forms long white stalks perfect for salads and stir-fries
  • Lilia (recommended by Jessie at plot37.com) Lilia is a beautiful Italian red bunching spring onion, that has strong flavoured bulbs and rich-green leaves. It can be left to bulb and grow into a maincrop onion

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