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Can You Grow Chilies In Ericaceous Compost

Growing chilies in your home vegetable garden adds a delicious, vibrant, and sometimes spicy option for the kitchen! Chilies and other peppers tend to be pretty easy to grow with the proper care and attention. But what do chilies need? Do chilies require a lot of sunlight or water? Do chilies need special soil compositions? Can I grow chilies in ericaceous compost? 

Yes, you can grow chilies in ericaceous compost. Chilies and peppers thrive in slightly acidic soil, making ericaceous compost the perfect soil additive!

Read on to learn more about growing chilies and peppers, how to care for them, what makes ericaceous compost chilies and other pepper’s preferred soil mate, and how to make your own ericaceous compost at home! 

How Do I Grow Chillies and Other Peppers?

Chilies and other pepper varieties make a wonderful addition to your garden space. Growing them from seed is simple and easy! Simply prep your seeds and soil, decide on the best place in your garden for the seedlings to transfer to, and start planting!

You will want to start your pepper seeds indoors. Peppers have a long growing season, so start your seedlings early! January or February are the ideal months to get those seeds going and growing. Pepper plants take a while to sprout, so don’t panic if you don’t see them right away.

Between 21 days and one month is the average time it’ll take for you to notice your pepper plants growing. Once the seedlings have sprouted into small plants, go ahead and trim off the first two leaves and allow them to keep going. Once they have doubled in size and the weather is consistently above freezing, go ahead and begin moving your plants outdoors.

You will want to allow your pepper plants to adjust to the outdoors by taking them out for a few hours each day, increasing the time slowly. After your plants have adapted and are ready to move into their new home for the season, go ahead and plant them in your garden.

Water frequently and deeply for the first two weeks to help the pepper plants establish themselves. After two weeks, you can begin fertilizing every two weeks with a slightly acidic fertilizer. 

Can I Grow Chillies and Other Peppers In Pots

Growing chilies and other peppers in pots is an excellent option for those who do not have a lot of space outside for a proper garden. As mentioned earlier, chilies and other peppers love sunlight and require a good amount of heat to grow properly.

This can be best achieved in a heated greenhouse, but for obvious reasons, this is not always ideal or possible. For this reason, many gardeners choose to grow their chilies and peppers indoors in pots. Just place your potted plant in a south-facing window to ensure it gets enough sunlight throughout the day.

Growing chilies and other peppers indoors is a great way to avoid unwanted pests and control the temperature, prolonging the growing season. Start your potted peppers as you would have started your pepper plant for transplant.

Once they are mature enough for transplant, move them into a bigger pot ideal for your indoor space instead of transplanting them outside into your garden. Do not worry about crowding your chilies and pepper plants, as they do not mind; you can grow up to 3 chili plants in one 9-inch pot. 

How Do I Care For Chillies and Other Peppers

Chilies and other peppers are sun-loving plants. They can’t get enough sunshine! Your pepper plants will need at least 6 hours of sunlight every day, with close to 9 hours being ideal. Chilies and other peppers thrive in warm, humid climates.

Water your pepper plants every other day with smaller amounts of water. They prefer frequent waterings with less water rather than soakings with days in between. Fertilizer is an important part of helping your plants thrive.

As mentioned earlier, pepper plants love slightly acidic soil, so choose an acidic compost or fertilizer. Most experienced gardeners would recommend using ericaceous compost when choosing compost to use for your pepper plants. 

What Is Ericaceous Compost

Ericaceous compost is the name given to acidic compost that allows members of the ericaceous family of plants to thrive. Ericaceous plants are acid-loving plants like cranberries, blueberries, hydrangeas, holly, ferns, magnolias, and of course, peppers.

By incorporating ericaceous compost into the soil of these plants, you help create an environment that allows these plants to grow properly and to their full potential. But where do you get ericaceous compost? Can you make ericaceous compost at home? 

How Do I Make Ericaceous Compost At Home

Making ericaceous compost at home is easy and straightforward for those who already have a compost pile going. Making one is relatively easy for those who do not have a compost pile started. Gather brown materials such as dry leaves, shredded brown paper bags and newspaper, wood chips, branches, and even nutshells.

These will serve as the base of your compost pile. Then add the “greens”: fruit and vegetable peels and pieces, coffee grounds, grass and lawn clippings, and eggshells. Avoid adding animal waste, cooked foods, processed foods, dairy products, and meats to your compost pile as this will throw off the balance inside and rot instead of breaking down naturally.

Once you have gathered your materials, you can add them to a compost mixer, a pile, or even a homemade compost bin. Add some worms, and ensure that your compost pile has access to oxygen. Mix every week to ensure that the products are mixing well and breaking down.

Add things like pine needles, oak leaves, and extra coffee grounds to make your compost pile acidic. These natural elements will help keep the PH level of your compost pile more acidic. If you do not have a compost pile and are not interested in making one, you can always purchase ericaceous compost at garden centers.

You can also make a concoction by mixing used tea leaves and soil and applying the mixture to your pepper plants halfway through the season. Another option is to add watered-down white vinegar to the soil around your pepper plants. 

Final Thoughts

Growing chilies and other peppers can be an exciting and delicious part of your home garden. Whether you want to grow these plants in your outdoor garden or in pots indoors, how you care for them will ultimately decide what sort of pepper yield you get.

You will want to ensure that your pepper plants get at least 6 hours of sun a day, get watered frequently, and have the proper nutrients. Using ericaceous compost is a great way to help your pepper plants get the acidic soil they thrive in.

You can buy ericaceous compost at almost all garden centers or make your own at home! Simply increase the level of your already established compost pile’s PH! You can also improvise by mixing used tea leaves and coffee grounds into the soil and sprinkling it near your pepper plants.

You can also create a white vinegar solution. Now that you know how to plan for and take care of peppers properly, you’re ready to get out there and start planting! Soon you’ll have an impressive and delicious pepper harvest to enjoy all summer long.