Lifestyle

The hot topic of chillies

Chillies are easy to grow are colourful and don't take up much space.
Chillies are easy to grow are colourful and don't take up much space.

CHILLIES are a popular crop to grow.

They don't take up a lot of space, so it's easy to grow a selection of different varieties in a season.

They are very decorative and are useful in the kitchen.

Chillies originated in South America and have spread throughout the world in the past 500 years or so.

They are now an integral part of the cuisine of many different countries, particularly those with warm climates where they are most readily grown.

The fruit usually start out green and can be harvested at this stage. If left to ripen on the plant, the fruit will turn yellow, orange, purple, black or red, depending on the variety.

The colourful, fully ripe fruit are generally hotter and have a more intense flavour than the green ones.

Chillies enjoy similar conditions to tomatoes and capsicum.

A warm, sunny position in a pot or garden bed is ideal.

They don't need much in the way of care and attention.

They are a warm-season plant and can look a bit shabby during winter.

I usually trim mine back quite hard and let them re-shoot in spring.

They do like a humid environment, so you can plant them quite close together to foster this.

Keeping the soil mulched will also be beneficial.

Chillies make good companions for eggplant, cucumber, tomato, okra, squash, basil, oregano and parsley.

They also like geraniums, petunias, lovage, carrots and onions.

Keep them away from beans, broccoli, cabbage and fennel.

The heat level of the different varieties of chillies is measured in Scoville Units, in a method developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912.

When you read about the heat of chillies, the Scoville scale is usually translated into a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the mildest and 10 being the hottest.

At the mild end of the heat scale, you will find the Sweet Temptation, scoring a 2-3.

If you like something with a bit of bite, you might enjoy the Jalapenos.

They are cylindrically shaped, about 5-8cm long, and turn from dark green to red when ripe. They get a heat rating of 4-5.

A little further along are the Caysan chillies, a fruit about 5-7cm long, turning bright red when cooked.

I planted one of these last year and found that I used it far more than the habaneros and the birds eyes, because it had some heat but not too much.

After a hard trim in winter, it is coming back nicely and bearing well.

Habaneros are very hot, a 9 on the heat scale.

They are an interesting lantern shape and there are a few different types, producing fruit that may be orange, red, yellow or brown when ripe.

Also up there at the dangerous end of the heat scale is the Birds Eye, a short, tapered, red chilli that is only about 2-3cm long. The bush, to 1-1.5m tall, bears prolifically.

Be careful when handling chillies, as the juice can be highly irritating to the skin and the eyes.

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  crops, garden, gardening, lifestyle, plants




Guns, bullets, and drugs seized in Northern Rivers raid

Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. A number of people are on multiple charges. July 8, 2016

Rural property searched and two people charged.

Why wasn't North Coast beach closed after shark bump?

BEACH CLOSED: Authorities decided not to close Sharpes Beach after two surfers were knocked off their boards on Tuesday.

Incident was considered an "encounter not an attack"

Car over infinity pool was 'wow factor' at Jaguar launch

Elements at Byron has hosted the Jaguar SUV launch.

The event was described as the car company's "best launch ever"

Latest deals and offers

Lindsay Lohan 'calls off engagement'

Lohan reportedly called off her engagement to Russian millionaire

Rob Kardashian 'neglected' by Blac Chyna

Friends say they are now 'back in love'

Ngaiire: "I miss Lismore...”

ON STAGE: Former Northern Rivers resident Ngaiire during her set at Splendour.

Singer Ngaiire opens up at Splendour in the Grass

Isla Fisher: I don't like talking about my private life

Isla Fisher shut down TV hosts when they asked about her husband

Mariah Carey: I 'can't believe' Prince has gone

'Prince was one of the best people I've met'

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started