The SOLARDOME® POD chilli farm experiment
Where will my chillies grow best?
Chilli peppers dominate the world spice trade. There are about 25 species in the genus Capsicum and they originate from Central and South America. They come in many varieties, offering a wide array of colours and sizes and a range of heat and flavours – from mild and sweet to hot and peppery.
I love spicy food and as I’ve always wanted to grow my own chilli plants, I decided to grow them this year in the office SOLARDOME® POD. I bought seeds from my local garden centre and decided to experiment and plant half of the seeds at home in the conservatory and half in the POD at work. I couldn’t wait for the results and was curious to see if the plants would thrive in one of our glasshouses. We always say to our customers that the geodesic dome is the perfect shape for growing and I wanted to put that statement to the test.
My chilli farm experiment:
I planted the seeds with good space between them so as not to harm the roots when it came to potting on. I then covered them with a fine layer of sieved compost. Depending on the conditions, chilli peppers will germinate in about 1-2 weeks. Mine took 2 weeks.
The flowering period requires more light than the fruiting period, so when the plants began to bloom and after sprouting enough stems, I removed multiple flowers to optimize the number of fruits.
There are a couple of things that can influence the fruit growth. One of them is sunlight; chilli peppers thrive on full sun so make sure they get the maximum amount of light throughout the day. Also, chilli plants have slightly different requirements than regular sweet peppers when it comes to hydration levels. They require a more permeable surface so it is better to let the soil dry a bit than make it too wet. Moreover, chillies require high temperatures and the best fertilizer for houseplants. I predicted that they would do better in the POD because there are always two panes of glass directly at right angles to the sun’s rays, at all times of the day, maximising solar gain and extending the growing period.
The results – the pictures below show you the massive difference between my home plants and the plants grown in the POD. It is amazing to see the amount of fruits from the plants grown in the POD. I will definitely continue to use the POD for all my culinary herb and spices and I look forward to enjoying curries made with the fruits of my labour.
If you would like to know more about growing in a Solardome glasshouse and hear what our customers have to say visit our greenhouse pages