Q: Hi Dave:
First of all I want to congratulate you for your site—it’s very useful. I live in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. I work at a vegetable seed company in the production department. I was wondering if there is some information about how to germinate chiltepin seeds. I want to establish a crop to export dried chiles to the U.S. but it is very difficult to germinate seeds. I’ve tried everything: boiled seeds, warmed seeds, and only 10 of 100 germinate. Thanks in advance.
Jorge López Rodriguez
A: Hola Jorge:
Thanks for your kind comments. My chiltepins didn’t germinate either, but I have 7-year-old plants in pots so I don’t really need any more of them. My webmaster, Harald Zoschke, who lives in Germany, devised a method for germinating the seeds that I will share with you. As you probably know, in the wild, chiltepins are spread by birds that excrete the seeds in a natural fertilizer. So Harald, who lives by the Baltic Sea, was having trouble germinating chiltepins and went to the beach and collected seagull excrement. He mixed up a slurry of seagull caca and water, placed the seeds in it and left them for a week. Then he removed the seeds with tweezers and planted them. He had very good results. I would suggest that you probably know some people who keep birds–parrots, parakeets, or even chickens or turkeys. Collect the caca and give it a try. I’ll bet it works, so let me know.