With a range of heat, flavours, colours and shapes, even if you’re a rookie gardener, the good news is that growing chillies at home has never been easier.
Originally native to Mexico, this fascinating plant is now widely used to turn up the heat in cuisines around the world. Although the humble chilli plant can easily fly under the radar in any garden or balcony pot plant collection, it’s the berry-like fruit of these plants that garner all of the attention. Derived from the same plant family as the capsicum, the capsaicinoids found in the fruit are the compounds that give the chilli plant it’s fiery intensity when consumed.
Whether it’s curries or chipotle that you’re particularly fond of, growing chillies at home makes sense if you’re a fan of spicy foods. On top of that, chillies also provide a wide variety of health benefits that go far beyond a palette explosion. Not only are they a great source of antioxidants, iron and potassium, but just forty two grams of the spice would account for the average person’s daily quota of Vitamin C.
Thus, whether it’s curries or chipotle that tickle your culinary fancy, growing chillies at home makes sense if you’re a fan of spicy foods – but where do you start?
The Basics Of Growing Chillies
Many of the more exotic varieties of the chilli plant prefer a hot and humid climate, with plenty of sun. As such, this makes choosing the right variety for your local climate essential for growing chillies at home.
Even if you’re planning on growing chillies under glass or in a greenhouse, a variety which developed in the deep tropics is unlikely to find life easy at more elevated latitudes. If you’re a beginner in the world of gardening, try to choose a more forgiving kind that is generally easier to grow in more temperate locations.
Soil – Thankfully, chillies aren’t all that fussy when it comes to their ideal soil type. Any reasonably fertile soil can lead to good results, although a mildly acidic compost with good potassium levels will generally produce the most fruit. Ensure that the soil is free draining – while chillies are happy in humid conditions, they aren’t fans of overly wet soil.
Potting – Growing chillies in pots in a greenhouse or even indoors in cooler temperatures is relatively easy, but try to ensure they have a warm and sunny spot when they start to mature. It’s essentially a balancing act between establishing a good root ball and not disrupting their development too much, as a chilli plant loathes having its roots disturbed.
Water – Although chillies are fairly tolerant when it comes to inconsistent watering, they should never be allowed to dry out completely, particularly in the summer. Oddly enough, if the plants have a mild case of water stress, the fruits produced are usually hotter in flavour. Watering little and often is the best approach, but consider adding a layer of mulch for water retention.
Pests – If your chilli plant’s leaves begin to pucker or the buds look slightly out of shape, it’s a tell tale sign that aphids are present. Although you might not want to bite into a raw chilli, the eggplant caterpillar, potato tuber moth and heliothis are big fans, so ensure that you keep your plant and the soil in top shape to avoid any unsavoury visitors. A simple pest control remedy can be made with chilli, oil, dish soap and water, just spray the solution on the leaves of pest affected plants to keep them away!
Fertiliser – It’s important that the soil remains highly fertile from the first flowers through to final harvesting. The good news is that if your chilli plant is hungry, it will usually let you know via yellow leaves, but aim to apply a plant food that is organic or natural if you intend on consuming the fruits of your labour.
Giving Your Garden A Boost The Natural Way
Do your chilli plants – and yourself – a favour, and give them a head start by optimising your soil prior to planting. By adding natural plant food like Biotic Booster, this will help your garden to:
- Provide essential nutrients and microbes
- Act as a liquid fertiliser to unlock your soil’s potential
- Drought proof your plants and lower water consumption
- Increase and speed up the germination process
- Assist in protecting your plants from pests and diseases
- Provide an organic solution that’s safe to use with herbs, fruit and veggies
If you’re ready to take the leap into improving the health of your plants while minimising the use of chemical based fertilisers this Spring, then it may be time to try a plant food and garden probiotic. Our Ultimate Garden Health Pack includes our Biotic Booster, FP-60 Probiotic Spray and RE-250 Soil Energiser. In each concentrated bottle, millions of natural bacterias are waiting to find a new home in your garden.
Here at Bioweed, we specialise in environmentally friendly gardening products, including herbicides, plant food, garden probiotics, and natural alternatives to traditional gardening solutions. Should you have any questions about how to improve the sustainability of your garden or even what to plant in Spring, get in touch with us today.