After collecting experiences with growing chillies on my balcony for a couple of years, the next season will see a completely new and pretty big outdoor project in a communal garden in Berlin.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT1fhTHGoxk%5DKicking off the new season with germination and some bass.
When you’re living in the centre of a big city like Berlin growing-space is usually pretty limited. One of the few opportunities to grow out chillies on a bigger scale are so-called communal gardens. They’re basically nurseries and horticultural farms where a lot of people grow their own plants and vegetables, share them with each other and teach visitors about gardening.
One such communal garden located in Kreuzberg, Berlin is called Prinzessinnengärten. The people who run the place pay great attention to biodiversity and organic farming. Although they’ve been growing all sorts of rare herbs and heirloom vegetables there in the past, they hadn’t really gotten into the huge variety of the capsicum family so far.
When I met Matze, one of the gardeners at Prinzessinnengärten, and told him about my passion for hot peppers we quickly agreed that it would be awesome if I carried out my next chilli growing season on their premises. So I was faced with the prospect of having 20 square metres of outdoor- and 5 to 10 square metres of greenhouse-growing space, while my apartment is all the room I have for germinating and nursing all the plants which I’m supposed to put into that space in May 2014.
Luckily, the chillihead scene is full of friendly, helpful and curious people so it wasn’t long before I had found another grower who was happy to join in on the project. Frank aka Onkel Hotti from Leipzig is a really experienced pepper-farmer who I had first met in 2013 at a plant-swapping session in Berlin. His two greenhouses and his attic (which is currently an entire grow-room) will offer enough space for nursing quite some plants apart from the ones he’ll be growing for himself.
So Frank and I have decided to each grow out about 50 plants of a total of 70+ varieties. When we put together the grow-list for the Princess Pepper Project, the things we were primarily looking for were a wide genetic variety and some good productivity. So as of now, we’re at almost 70 varieties of hot peppers but the list is still up to change and addition. You can find the current list in the desription of the video above. Once it’s complete, I will publish the final one on this blog.
While Frank has already begun germinating his pubescens varieties in mid November, over here the baccatum, chinense and wild varieties were the first ones to go into the propagator today. So it looks like the 2014 season is about ready to start rolling. Expect more updates very soon.
[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqaPYP7Mvhc%5DMore upbeat trailer for the 2014 chilli growing project at Prinzessinnengärten.