Archive for 2010
Chili Plants are like people they will grow weak if not given enough of the basic necessities such as sun, water, air and nutrients. The tell tale signs of a sick looking chilli plant is when it starts to wilt. When your chili plant starts to wilt you must act fast to revive the suffering plant.
Chili plants in pots and particularly prone to dehydration and wilting. When you do not water your potted chillie plants enough, the soil tends to harden and clings closer to the roots and away from the pot’s sides. This creates gaps in which water can run off and out of the pot through the drainage holes, effectively starving the roots of your potted chillie plants.
First aid for sick Chili Plants
1. Fill a bucket, sink, container or basin halfway with water. Make sure the container is large enough to fit the entire pot, all the way to and over the rim.
2. Plunge the whole pot and plant into the water filled container. The water must cover the whole plant even over the pots rim. It’s all right if water covers some of the foliage. You may need to weigh down the pot with a brick or a stone to keep it from floating in the water.
3. Keep the plant in the container until bubbles stop rising from the soil. Bubbles indicate air pockets in soil and roots.
4. Keep the plant in the water for at least a half hour after the bubbles stop, to ensure that the soil is completely saturated.
5. Remove the pot from the container and allow the plant to drain.
6. Place the potted plant in a plastic bag and close it tightly. This step will provide much needed humidity to the foliage while the roots go back into action. Keep the bagged plant in a shady area so that the moisture doesn’t dry out.
7. Remove the plant from the bag and move it back to its original location once it has revived. This could take as little as a few hours, or several days. Do not put the plant back into the sun till its looks healthy and green again as the sun will extract water from the plant.
8. Give the post some mulch that will hold moisture and humidity. Remember to water your growing chillie plants regularly. Once a day is ideal.
Other Tips for Dehydrated Chili Plants
– Any brown leaves or stems will been to be cut off, they are dead and we cannot save them.
– Plants in the ground or in pots too big to shift can be treated by pushing the hose as far into the soil around the roots as possible so that it can soak the roots and eliminate any air pockets or dry root balls.
– Moisten the leaves when watering as it increases humidity around the plants leaves keeping them moist and reducing dehydration.
The reason i wrote this article was because i went on holidays for 8 days and my plants got dehydrated. I was so upset to come home and find 6 wilted chili plants. Luckily doing these steps revived all but 2 of the chili plants.
The most common pepper species is the bell pepper named appropriately from the physical shape of the fruit. In British English, the fruit is simply referred to as a “pepper“, or additionally by colour eg. Green pepper. In many Commonwealth Nations, such as Australia, India, Malaysia and New Zealand, they are called “capsicums“. Another name is the sweet pepper because of the sweet taste. Bell peppers are the mildest form of chili’s. They are listed as zero on the scoville scale and don’t emit any heat at all.
Bell Peppers are native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Pepper seeds were later carried to Spain in 1493 and from there spread to other European, African and Asian countries. Today, Mexico remains one of the major pepper producers in the world.
Bell pepper plants are vigorous upright plants producing green ,yellow, orange, red and even purple fruit. Bell pepper skins are glossy and deeply colored, with the flesh being crisp and succulent. Bell pepper plants measure 18-30 inches in height and are generally very productive. The ‘Jingle Bell’ pepper plant produces miniature bell peppers measuring less than 1 inch long. This variety is excellent for container growing. A tray of stuffed miniature bell peppers is delightful.
– Plant seeds eight weeks before the last frost indoor using a pot that is at least 2 inches or slightly larger.
– Transplant young seedlings in the ground or a pot outdoors after the last chance of frost. If the weather is still cool, delay transplanting for a few days. Wait until the soil is 70 to 85 degrees before setting the seedlings out.
– Space the seedlings 9 to 12 inches apart and in rows 12 to 24 inches apart.
– Water the plants regularly, especially in the hot, dry summer months. Pepper plants like moist soil. If you do not water enough, the bell peppers will acquire a bitter taste or even worse get frail and die.
– Surround the peppers with mulch to keep weeds from growing and to retain moisture.
– Harvest the bell pepper at any point after they reach an edible size. Most bell pepper peppers are green when immature and can be harvested at that time. Mature bell peppers can be red, orange, yellow, green or purple depending on the variety. Continue to harvest bell peppers by clipping them off the plant. Bell peppers will continue to grow until the first frost.
Bell peppers are delicious eaten fresh in green and pasta salads, and make a wonderful addition to spaghetti sauce. The fruit is also frequently consumed in its unripe form, when the fruit is still green. Green peppers are less sweet and slightly more bitter than red, yellow or orange peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment. The sweetest are fruit allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage are less sweet. Compared to green peppers, red peppers have more vitamins and nutrients and contain the antioxidant lycopene. The level of carotene, another antioxidant, is nine times higher in red peppers. Red peppers have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers
One of the most common bell pepper recipes Stuffed Bell Peppers. Dad’s Stuffed Bell Peppers is a very good post detailing how easy and great this disk is to make. I would highly recommend give it a crack.
The Cherry Pepper also known as a chili tomato, or Hungarian cherry pepper is a fantastic chili to grow. This mild to hot pepper is commercially grown in the USA, Euproe and Mexixo. The Cherry Pepper has been documented as far back as 1543.
The peppers produced by these plants are small and round, they resemble a cherry tomato. Peppers range from mild to hot and register 5000-8000 scoville scale units. The cherry peppers grow a dark green colour and as they ripen they will change to a very vibrant red. Truly a spectacular plant to have.
The chilli tomato is commonly used in Asian, Southwestern, Mediterranean, Portuguese, African and Mexican cuisine because of the size and shape. This chilli is a great garnish and really puts some colour into food especially salads. These chilies are also great for stuffing or picking because of the thick fruit walls and round shape. Due to the thick walls this chilli cannot be dried.
As with most chili’s this plant enjoys hot climates, well drained soil and generous amounts of water. Maturity takes approximately 120 days. These plants can mature and fruit at a small size so they are great for a small bench or windowsill.
We have a Chilli tomato plant in our inner city apartment and we get one full ripe fruit each week from the plant. We bought it at a mature age at a local hardware store for $6AU and it only stands 40cm tall. We would highly recommend the cherry pepper to anyone wanting a small but very colorful chili tree.
Seeds available here.
One of the best ways to Grow Chilli is by starting from seeds. Seeds can be obtained from the chillies that you used in your kitchen (this is how our Bird’s eye chili plant got started) or you can buy seeds from local store, plant specialist, department store or right here on the internet. It is recommended you purchase chilli seeds from a store as you can then select the type that suits you best.
Each packet might suggest different things for how to germinate the seeds but here is a method we have been using to Grow Chilli.
Prepare a container that will be the seeds home for the next few weeks. Germination times vary between each chilli from 2 weeks onwards. The container can be something like a ice cream container or Chinese container. Something 2-3cm deep and big enough to hold one to two dozen seeds. The container should have light well mulched soil so that the young plants can grow easily in. Soil should be able to drain water well.
Preparing the chili seeds is a vital part. For best results we have been soaking our chilli seeds in some water for a few hours before planting them. This helps to soften the seeds and lets the small plant break out of the seed quicker. After the seeds are soaked the next step to growing chillies is to place the seeds in some paper toweling and sit them on a shallow plate. Water well and sit in a warm place. After a few days the seeds will have small shoots coming out of them. This is the beginning of the plants life.
Carefully remove all seeds from the paper toweling and place them into the soil filled container. We like to place them about 1cm into the soil. Make the hole with your finger and lightly cover the hole back up with soil. Ensure that the small plants are put into sunlight as they will need it to grow. Watering daily is essential to keep the soil moist. After a week or so you should notice the chillies emerging from the soil and sprouting. Continue watering daily until chillies are 4-5cm tall.
The next step is to re-pot the young plants. Come back and visit the Growing Chillies website for more tips, tricks and information about how to grow chilli.
Growing Chillies would like to finally announce that we are selling chili seeds!!!
Not only can we provide as much information as possible to you readers about the different chili plants and how to grow them but you can purchase the very seeds we are writing about.
Please head on over to the Chilli Seeds page and buy some today.
Not only are seeds for sale but some great chilli kits are available too.
Shopping is safe as it uses the well known and trusted amazon site.
The Habanero chili is one of the worlds hottest peppers!!! The chili’s name derived from the name of the Cuban city of La Habana, which is known as Havana in English. Although it is not the place of origin, it was frequently traded there. Mexico is the largest consumer of this spicy ingredient but its flavor and aroma have become increasingly popular all over the world.
The Habanero chili most likely originated in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and even to this day the crop is most widely cultivated there. In fact about 1,500 tons of Habaneros are harvested each year in Mexico. Panama, Costa Rice and several states in the USA also grow and produce the chilly. It is often mistakenly referred to as the hottest pepper in the world and once upon a time it was until the mighty Bhut Jolokia came along! Habanero chili peppers are rated 200,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale.
A ripe habanero is 2–6 centimetres (0.8–2.4 in) long, 3-5cm (1 to 2 inches) in diameter and they are lantern-shaped, round or oblong. Habanero’s are green until maturity when they then turn to colours such as orange, red, white, brown, and pink.
Habaneros are similar to most other chilies and thrive in hot weather. Morning sun is ideal with slightly moist soil. In tropical regions the Habanero is one growing chilli that can produce all year round. Colder climates the plant will die off in the winter.
The Habanero’s heat, its fruity citrus-like flavor, and its floral aroma have made it a popular ingredient in hot sauces and spicy foods. In some cases, particularly in Mexico, Habaneros are placed in tequila bottles for a period ranging from several days, to several weeks, to make a spiced version of the drink.
Please view our article on the Scoville Scale to find out exactly how it works.
This page displays the Scoville Rankings for each chili and will be updated regularly.
If you would like us to put your favorite chili on the scale please contact us.
Scoville Scale Units
|15-16 Million||Pure Capsaicin|
|5 Million||Police Grade Pepper Spray|
|1 Million||Naga Jolokia (ghost chili)|
|300 000||Habanero, Piri Piri|
|100 000||Birds Eye Chili, Thai Pepper|
|50 000||Tabasco, Cayenne|
|20 000||Peter Pepper|
|5000 – 8000||Jalapeno, paprika|
|3000 – 5000||Pimento (cherry Pepper)|
One of the world’s most recognised chillies is the Tabasco. It’s no doubt that Tabasco is most famous for the sauces that these chillies are made into. This is possible because Tabasco peppers are not dry, the inside of the fruit is wet. Tabasco chilis rate between 30,000 and 50,000 on the scoville scale.
The Tabasco plant is quite distinctive as its very bushy and unlike most chilis the Tabasco fruits grow up rather then hanging down from the stems.
The Tabasco peppers grow to about 4cm and change colour from light yellow and green to orange then eventually ripen at a bright red colour.
Characteristics of the Tabasco bush
Plant height – 4-5 feet
Stem color – Green
Leaf color – Green
Leaf size – medium
Fruit color – light yellow and green to orange and bright red at maturity
Fruit shape – long and conical
Fruit length – 4cm
Fruit width at shoulder .5 cm
Fruit surface smooth
Tabasco Planting tips
Tabasco chillis like most other chillies grow best in warmer weather. People in colder climates should plant the seeds indoors in a warm spot during the winter month. The seeds will germinate and start to grow. When the winter is over the plants can be moved outside ready for the spring and summer months.
When potting Tabasco plants make sure that there is good water drainage. They also like sandy soil conditions so don’t be afraid to add in some sand.
Regular watering is required and if ensure the Tabasco plant has good sunlight and daily watering you should see fruits appear in about 120 days.
Once you have some Tabasco chillies try to make some Tabasco sauce. A simple recipe is provided.
Homemade Tabasco Sauce
1 pound fresh red Tabasco peppers, chopped
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic (optional)
Combine the chiles, garlic and the vinegar in a saucepan and heat. Stir in the salt and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool, and place in a blender. Puree until smooth and place in a glass jar. Allow to steep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Remove, strain the sauce, and adjust the consistency by adding more vinegar if necessary.
So, you’ve bought (or saved) your Chili seeds, carefully planted them and provided the optimum growing chili conditions. However danger lurks in every corner of the garden with a whole host of beastly pests and diseases ready to indiscriminately strike down your plants at a moment’s notice. These pests include insects, bacteria, fungi and viruses.
Slugs or Snails
Slugs and snails love to dine on a chili bush. They will nibble away the leaves
and minimise the health of your plant. Fortunately slugs and snails are not too hard to prevent or remove. Hunting down snails and slugs and disposing of them can be a highly satisfying exercise particularly if the little blighters have already struck your prized plants. There is also some chemical solutions for treating your chilli plant from pests. They are listed below.
Aphids are the little green creatures you see on your plants. They are very sneaky and camouflage themselves to the stem or leaves and suck the sap from the trees veins. They too are easy to control. Spraying them with a very diluted soap solution, about one teaspoon of liquid pure soap (as near to 100% fatty acids as you can get – avoid antibacterial, perfumed, & detergent based soaps) to a couple of liters of water.
Pest Control Products
There are various products available for pest control.
Copper is known to repel slugs and snails because it produces a very slight electric charge that they hate. You can purchase copper rings to place around the base of plant pots or can place copper tubing or piping round you raised beds. The slugs and snails can’t stand it so much they avoid crawling over to get to your chilies and will head off elsewhere in search of food. The downside to this is that copper piping or rings can be expensive, however once purchased it should last you for years.
Home Remedies to use are egg shells sprinkled around the base of your plants. Slugs hate crawling over the shells. Another method is to sprinkle used coffee grounds around the base of the plants. This is not only a snail deterrent but it helps add much needed nitrogen to the soil, aiding your pepper plants growth.
Homemade Spray A tried and tested spray made from 100g of fresh garlic, crushed and fermented for 2 days in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of liquid soap or soap powder. Strain into a garden sprayer and dilute 1 part to 50 parts water. Garlic acts as a repellent to further Aphid attack.
Chemical Control There is a range of chemical treatments that you can get from your local garden center or hardware store. Below is the top control product we have found.
For any beginner starting out growing chilis i would defiantly recommend the Birds Eye Chili.
Birds eye chillies originated in South East Asia. Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. Now this popular chili is found all over the world. They may appear small but they pack a burning punch and can contain between 50,000-100,000 Scoville Units, almost as hot as a Habanero.
Some sources state that the name birds eye comes from these chili bushes being started by birds picking and dropping the chilis. Birds don’t feel any effects from chilli oil therefor they don’t get the burning sensation humans do.
Birds Eye chillies are one of the easiest species to grow and maintain. They are a thick bush with lightweight fruit and are very forgiving. They can grow in sandy soil conditions to rich soil conditions. As with every other chillie they enjoy humid climates and moisture.
These chillies can withstand cold climates too even down to -20deg C. They will loose all their leaves but when spring comes they will re-shoot and fruit. Birds Eye bushes will mature and fruit very quickly, it takes about between 90-120 days and the bushes are known to last several years.
Characteristics of the Birds Eye Chillie plant
Plant height up to 2meters
Stem color Green
Leaf color Green
Leaf size 3-8cm by 2-4cm
Fruit color at maturity green, orange and red
Fruit shape conical
Fruit length 2–3 cm
Fruit width at shoulder .5 cm
Fruit weight 2-3 grams
Fruit surface smooth
Seed color Light tan
Seeds per chillie 10-20
Birds eyes are used mostly for cooking but they can also be used as a natural insect repellent or pesticide when mixed with water.
I live in a inner city apartment building and have 1 birds eye chillie in a pot.
It is only 3 months old and i harvest about a dozen chillies a week. I water it once a day and make sure it gets lots of morning sunshine. I’m very proud on my plant.
Would love to see other readers birds eye chili bushes and story’s. Drop us a line if you have one.