Needless to say, chillies are some of the most commonly found and consumed vegetables across Indian households. However, they are usually purchased in large quantities and stored in the refrigerator, and lose their moisture content and freshness after a few days.
So instead of allowing this to happen, why not grow them in your home and use fresh chillies while cooking every time? To grow them, you do not need a garden, terrace or balcony. You can plant them inside the house by a window that receives direct sunlight.
Here are five simple steps to grow chillies at home:
Things you will need:
- Old chillies
- Tissue paper
- A plastic container
- Organic potting mix
- Cling film or old cloth
Step 1: Cut open an old chilly and remove the seeds from inside.
Step 2: Place 10-15 seeds on a tissue and fold the paper to cover the seeds. Then, make the paper moist and let it rest in a dark place overnight.
Step 3: Fill half of the plastic container with potting mix and place the seeds. Ensure that there is enough space between the seeds before covering them with soil again.
Note: Add a small layer of soil to cover the seeds as the saplings need space to shoot out.
Step 4: Spray water over the soil and make it moist.
Step 5: Cover the box with cling film and punch a few holes. Or, place a thin cloth such as muslin cloth to cover it. This allows air to enter the container.
Within one week, the seeds should have small leaves sprouting from them. Each of these seedlings should be transferred to separate pots carefully.
S Sathyanarayanan (51), a resident of Chennai grows over 400 plants on this terrace. He says that if the tiny leaves do not show up within 10 days, it means the seeds were infertile and the process needs to be repeated.
He says, “Once the seedlings are transplanted to different pots, you should place them in an area that does not receive direct sunlight. The plant must be sprayed with water every evening until it reaches a height of 1.5 feet. After this, it is advisable to add compost or rice water every two weeks as nutrition to the plant.”
Sathyanarayanan adds that after one month, it is common for chilli plants to catch leaf curl disease, which causes discolouration and shrivelling up of the leaves.
To avoid this, he suggests spraying the plant with organic pesticides every two weeks.
He says, “Simple organic pesticides such as turmeric mixed with water, cow urine mixed with water, or asafoetida mixed with water can be gently sprayed on the leaves of the plant to kill the fungus or prevent it from spreading.”
Image courtesy – Sonia Sangwan