Archive for October, 2010
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.