This is a story of my journey towards my goal of participating in Fatalii’s chili competition 2022. I wanted to win! I actually ended up winning both 2 categories that I participated in: Biggest Ramiro Red chili pod and Longest Bangalore Whippet’s tail chili pod!
I have a love for growing chili plants, but I never succeeded in growing any chilies before I found Plantui smart gardens. My biggest problem is watering the plants a correct amount when those are germinating or young saplings. Also, in my home, it is not very easy to pre-grow anything because of the lack of light. I never succeeded in growing any chili plants from seeds before I got to know Plantui and what a joy my journey has been ever since my finding! 🙂
Attending Fatalii’s Chili competition 2022
This is a story of my journey towards my goal of participating in Fatalii’s chili competition 2022. Jukka “Fatalii” Kilpinen is the person behind Fatalii. Jukka is a local chili farmer in Finland, who sells his chili produce and also a wide variety of quality chili seeds internationally in his online store at https://fataliiseeds.net/. He also has access for some very rare varieties that I can’t wait to test grow in my Plantui, and as a VIP customer I have the best possibility to be among the first ones to access the small batches of special seeds or super special varieties!
My journey started with the crazy idea of participating in the competition in August 2021 when I saw the seed kits being sold in Fatalii seed store online. I got my shipment during August 2021 and I decided that I will start growing the competition chilies while I also pre-grow everything else also for my garden in Plantui 6 smart garden.
I pre-grow almost all of my plants before summer, starting already between December and February, so that I will have strong and big plants for my balcony when spring comes in Finland. The plants that I want to decorate my balcony with, will move outside during spring, between April and early June. The rest carefully picked varieties I leave to grow in Plantui. I use the Plantui smart garden pre-grow tray to grow my plants for spring.
I started growing my seeds April 16th 2022 and I input many different tomatoes, lovage and multiple chilies in plant capsules to grow. I had 3 Plantui 6 devices and 1 Plantui 3.
Tomatoes were the fastest to grow in Plantui pre-grow tray and I already had good sprouts at 24th April. Chilies sprouted 26th April. At this point I added a regular height block into the Plantui. I tried to avoid too fast growth, but I was still in a hurry to plant the pre-grown plants outside, because I was early with my Plantui while the spring in Finland was also late. Plantui is very efficient in growing plants when it is warm enough inside and my plants were strong, healthy and big already on May 3rd. I was in luck and I managed to move the tomatoes in time to balcony already on May 17th and that made good space for my contestant chilies to grow. I always wait eagerly for the lovage to grow, because I love the taste, but I have learned from experience that you should just grow it “on the side” and forget its existence, then one day you will get a super happy surprise when you notice it has grown.
My plants were growing so fast that on May 26th I was already good to go with deciding which Chilies will be my contestant plants. At this point I also added growth lights: boosting and blooming lights to all Plantuis, because now I did not have to worry about limiting the growth anymore. I chose to keep the one Ramiro, which had already grown a wooden trunk. It also had the strongest foliage and it was naturally the shortest plant of the Ramiros that I had. The extra ones I planted outside on my balcony. I did the same for my Bangalore Whippet’s tails.
Adding more height and extra lights
June 11th my plants were growing nicely and I started to wonder how tall my Bangalore might get even when I will prune it. I added more height blocks when needed and moved around the light blocks according to the best possible places in the block tower. Boosting lights will best help where the foliage is dense, so that no leaves will be left without light. This also prevents the chili from dropping it’s lowest leaves. The best possible place to put the blooming light is one block from top or as a top height block from top, depending where the chili plant seems to like to flower. I always wait for first buds to see that does the chili flower on top or in the bush. If the flowers are going to the top of the plant, then I situate the blooming light one height block from top. If the flowers are going to top, then I situate the blooming light as top light block. Please note that you should have no more than 5 height blocks including the light blocks in Plantui 6 in total.
After I ran out of height blocks or I noticed that the chili starts to be in good height, I pruned the bushes accordingly. Ramiro had huge leaves so I was really worried if it would not fit in my Plantui 6 device. Also, at this point my lovage had also sprouted in every device 😀 I forgot them already, but I was awarded for my patience! 🙂
Forward to harvesting
Fast forwarding to the actual fruits, I already had gigantic chili pods in my Plantui 6 device on July 13th (it only took 3 months from seed to fruit!!). During this time I started to cut off all the “extra” chili pods and I also pruned the chili preventing it from making new flowers. I forced it to use all the growing power to the 2 chili pods I left to grow for the competition. I continued this practice until the end of the growing. On August 15th I was ready with my ripe and huge Ramiro red chilies.
I harvested them and weighed them and decided that my contestant chili will be one of the pods that I grew in the Plantui 6 device.
July 17th I noticed that my Bangalore Whippet’s tail started blooming. Outside Plantui! I had been pruning it to keep it small, but I had to give up, because it seemed to hate this practice. After I gave up, it grew very fast and started blooming immediately (it seems that this specific plant wants to grow into certain height before it likes to bloom). After that, I also started to get chilies from this plant. On July 27th I already had very long Whippet’s tails in Plantui 6 and on my balcony plants.
During the start of August I started to notice something is wrong with Bangalore Whippet’s tail growing in Plantui. I took some pictures of my Bangalore chilies size on August 5th and it can be seen that the chili pods are not feeling very well. I had brought spider mites with my fresh garden produce from outside to my inside plants to my kitchen! Oh no! The Bangalore plant failed soon as well as the chilies, but luckily I had some more plants in my balcony where I could get my contestant chili from! The extra plants outside were the ones that I moved from pre-grow tray to balcony after I chose the contestant chili to grow inside, so those were the same batch of plants, but grown to full height at my balcony after pre-grown in Plantui. The longest pod that I chose for the contest ended up being 28cm!
Human vs machine – can you beat Plantui?
In gardening you learn soon that there are successes as well as failures and sometimes you need and should have back up plants. I already remind myself often that I can accidentally bring pests to my Plantuis during summer, even when they grow otherwise safely inside. Gardening also takes time even with the smart garden, but I can now tell by experience that Plantui grows a lot more tasty produce and faster also! I grew multiple and multiple Ramiros on my balcony from the extra plants, they even looked bigger than the one I decided to participate into the competition with, but when I weighed the huge ones grown outside, they were only “empty shells” so to speak, because they weighed 30% less than the ones grown in Plantui even when they were bigger from the outside. I tested this with huge interest and it really surprised me multiple times. I was sure that “now I grew a bigger one outside” and then laughed so hard when I failed, time and time again 😀 I am not as good gardener as my Plantui is. I can acknowledge this now, I tried, so hard. The whole summer, but no. I can’t beat my Plantui 😛