Sowing the Seeds of 2016

Update May 6: Chilies and tomatoes ready for the greenhouse.

It is still February but the days have already grown much longer and there is daylight when I go to work and when I come home. That means it is also time to start thinking about what is going to happen in the garden this year and in particular what goes into the greenhouse, because now is the time to sow anything you want to sow yourself.

One good thing about writing this up systematically is that it helps capture thoughts and decisions about what to sow. We usually have some good ideas for new things to try when we order the seeds, but forget them once we have sown and so we end up with a result like last year and the year before that and… Now, this year we will write down objectives for ourselves so that we remember (occupational hazard). Also, while we usually take some time every fall to think about what went well and what didn’t, those lessons learned have not been captured. Until now, that is (occupation hazard, again).


  1. Try out some milder chili sorts, e.g., Habanero Dulce, Trinidad Perfume or Vicente’s Sweet Habanero (will buy plants since we don’t have seeds already) 1
  2. Try some of Gartneri Toftegaard‘s own tomato cultivars (every year we note down the best at the  every year at the tasting day, and this time we will use them 2
  3. Successfully preserve chilies (we didn’t succeed the last couple of years)

Lessons Learned:

  • Capillary boxes worked really well – we are doing that again
  • We had trouble with lice on the chilies last year, probably because the plants were standing too close to each other and there was insufficient air circulation
  • Chilies may have been sown too late, the tomatoes too early
  • Chilies should be dried in a warm place like a sunny windowsill and not on the top of a cupboard (but we just weren’t ready to place chilies within easy reach of a toddler)

Last year we tried capillary boxes for the first time and were very pleased with the result: Reduced maintenance and improved growth, which also means that there will not be room for as many different plants as we used to have.

Also, we will sow chilies early and tomatoes later. Looking in our records, I see we have done this before:

2015: Mar 19

2014: Mar 2

2012: Mar 17 and Apr 1

2010: Feb 28 (Chilies), Mar 21 (Tomatoes & Chilies)

Time will tell if this gives us a better result this year than last, and we can record the outcome in new lessons and revisit the year’s objectives.

Here is what was sown:

Chilies 2016

Because we use capillary boxes we only expect to have seven chili plants this year. Since we will buy the milder chili plants, we only sow five different sorts this year.

  1. Habanero
  2. Habanero
  3. Lemon Drop
  4. Lemon Drop
  5. Jalapeno
  6. Jalapeno
  7. Friars Hat
  8. Friars Hat
  9. Friars Hat
  10. Cayenne Long Slim
  11. Cayenne Long Slim
  12. Cayenne Long Slim

Chilies sown on Feb 22, all seeds from 2015

Tomatoes 2016

Goal is to have 12 plants in green house and maybe some outdoor bush tomatoes, so depending on the outcome we may use 2 of each plant, or maybe buy some other sorts from a nursery.

  1. Rosadel
  2. Rosadel
  3. Tangidel
  4. Tangidel
  5. Sungold
  6. Black Cherry
  7. Black Cherry
  8. Bloody Butcher
  9. Bloody Butcher
  10. Gardeners Delight
  11. First in the Field (bush)
  12. Tumbler (bush)

Tomatoes sown on Mar 27, all seeds from 2015

Mar 2

Checked under the canopy today – several seeds have already sprouted, with seedlings more than 2 cm long. Cayenne Long Slim has come the farthest, Lemon Drop is just about to break though and Habanero isn’t there yet.

Chilies - 10 days after sowing
Chilies – 10 days after sowing

Mar 6

The canopy comes off

Mar 14

The longest sprouts or about 7 centimeters long. The Lemon Drops are still small, but may turn out all right, whereas I have no hope for the Habaneros.

Chilies - 26 days after sowing
Chilies on Mar 19 – 26 days after sowing

Mar 27

Time to move the best chili sprouts into pots and sow tomatoes.

Outcome of the different chili seeds were:

  • Habanero: 10/0/0
  • Lemon Drop: 10/4/3 (two of them significantly weaker)
  • Jalapeno: 10/6/4
  • Friar’s Hat: 15/10/5
  • Cayenne Long Slim: 15/8/3
Class of 2016 graduates from the Chiliversity (34 days after sowing).
Class of 2016 graduates from the Chiliversity – 34 days after sowing

Also bought potatoes to to lay in our own little patch. one very early sort (Frieslander) and an early sort (Hansa). We are avoiding later sorts to avoid sickness later in the season.

Apr 2

Canopy comes off the tomatoes – sproutlings are alredy 5 cm long.

Apr 10

Some of the tomato sprouts are already more than 10 centimeters long, so time to move the best sprouts into their own pots.

Outcome of the different tomato seeds were:

  • Rosadel: 10/7/3
  • Tangidel: 10/4/3
  • Sungold: 5/5/3
  • Black Cherry: 10/6/5
  • Bloody Butcher: 10/2/2
  • Gardeners Delight: 5/3/2
  • First in the Field (bush): 5/0/0
  • Tumbler (bush): 5/4/2

Looking at the plants after repotting, I wonder if I was out to early – time will tell.

20160417 Tomatoes
Tomatoes on Apr 17; 7 days after being re-potted, 20 days after sowing.

Also: The first chili flowers are showing.

May 6

The plants are ready for the greenhouse – just need to clean it.

20160505 Chilies and Tomatoes
Chilies and Tomatoes on May 5, almost ready to be planted out.

May 7

Laid the potatoes out and prepared the greenhouse.

May 8

Chilies and tomatoes planted in the greenhouse.

It is still early to draw conclusions, but I suspect one lesson learned this year will be that the tomatoes could easily have been sowed a week later, but let’s see how it play out in the greenhouse.

Related posts

Sowing the Seeds of 2015

Garden Diary 2016

Growing the Seeds of 2016

  1. A couple of hotter varieties found at last years tasting day are Purple Peach  (strength 7) and Market Peach Habanero  (strength 10)
  2. At last year’s tasting day we liked Favorita, Yolita, Dunne (test), Swetelle and Deluxe.