It’s a fantastic contrast to sow sun and heat-loving crops in cold, dark January, and it’s a job most gardeners look forward to just into the new year. Chillies, peppers and aubergines can all be started now, as they need longer to get going so they can bask in warmth and sun long enough for fruitful ripening later in summer. Plus, if you like growing hot varieties, they can need longer to develop their heat.
Sow easily and sparingly onto seed compost topped with a light layer of more compost or Vermiculite. Some gardeners simply leave plants on a warmish windowsill and wait until the plants naturally decide they’ve reached optimum continuous warmth for germination later on – at between 21-32C (70-90F). However, many use a heated propagator to speed up the process, set at around 25C (77F), and germination should take about a week to 10 days.
Keep compost on the dry side of moist, and grow on in a greenhouse or windowsill for consistently warm, dry conditions, or in good summers grow them on the patio. Pot up seedlings when easily handled and feed growing plants with a tomato feed from spring.