Its chilli time

As I briefly alluded to in my last post I have started the propagation of this years chilli plants. In the past I have relied pretty much on my own seed from the previous years harvest and have always had reasonably good results; other than the frost disaster of a few years ago as I pushed the boundaries of local gardening knowledge and planted out before the second week in May.

We have two main types growing, a cayenne and one of the many bush varieties, both of which produce a reasonably hot chilli that find their way into many of the dishes we cook and a couple of warming condiments for the larder. But remembering a post I read last year at food and forage Hebrides I decided it was time to expand upon the varieties we grow to extend the range of heat and flavour available to us as we spice up our diet. The climate in Poland also seems to favour the chilli as the hot summers help to ripen the fruit in extra quick time, although you have to get a good head start at the beginning of the season.

If you have ever looked for chilli seeds online then you will soon discover that the catalogue is vast and the choice seemingly endless, so to save time and prevent headaches I went back to a seed provider that I have used in the past sowseeds.co.uk Not only do they have about sixty chilli varieties on their virtual shelves, but they also have a diverse mix of other seeds, and to top it all they ship to Poland; although I have to admit that I had my final order shipped to Jersey and then sent onto Poland to save a few quid.

So with sixty to choose from I narrowed it down to eight.

Poblano (ancho): I just had to have the key ingredient for ‘Mole Sauce’ even if I didn’t know what it was until now!

Jalapeno: I have grown them in the past and look forward to pickling them in the future, a must have jar on the shelf and topper for a fiery Pizza.

Hungarian hot wax: As requested by Gosia as their large size makes them ideal for stuffing.

Tabasco: We don’t want to have to buy it, so why not make it; how hard can it be?

Prairie fire: One for the windowsill to keep us warm in the autumn.

Lemon drop: I liked the sound of these and I’m interested to see how the citrus flavour comes through and the colour looks amazing.

Padron: Having consumed an unfathomable quantity of these little beauties in the guise on Pimientos de Padron (lightly fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt) in the tiendas of Galicia, north west Spain, I just have to try and rekindle the memory.

Scotch bonnet: I had to have at least one hot one on the list and the scotch bonnet is a familiar contender, so on the list it is. Although further reading only ranks it four out of five on the heat scale, that’s more than enough for me.

Propagation is relatively straight forward in a seed tray with a light (5mm) covering, although the trick is to keep the temperature above 22 centigrade otherwise germination can be a bit erratic. If you have a heat mat or heated propagator then you’re in luck, we just stick them on the windowsill which has a radiator below and just hope that Gosias dad keeps the boiler stoked:)

I used to cover my seed trays with black polythene to help keep in more heat as light isn’t required for germination, but this year I have gone for a clear plastic cover because that’s what we had available. Mist lightly with a spray and wait; they should say hello within the next two to three weeks. I’ll update you once we have the first signs of life.

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16 thoughts on “Its chilli time

  1. I’m catching up on posts and low and behold, thanks for the mention. I just received my chilli order today, planting at the weekend in my propagator, although weather is horrible here just now. Impressed with your choices, the lemon one sounds enticing. I grew poblano last year, they did well but didn’t quite mature, they will do great where you are. Hungarian hot wax were great. I like the rest of your choices, a few I have not grown. Jalapenos are mandatory, of course. I have gone for chilli roulette this year and picked mine on account of silly names, as I had no time to be picky. We will see, but I think your success will trump mine! Happy growing – and eating. The hotter the better – within reason :)

  2. I love anything HOT. Always buying jars of salsa. Yes, I know it isn’t really the same thing as using the real home grown peppers. :(

    “I’ll update you once we have the first signs of life.” You probably were talking about peppers when you wrote this. But we all will be waiting for the other life to appear!! :)

  3. I ordered my seeds for the year just a few days ago, and my peppers will go in as soon as they arrive! I can’t do the hot ones, but I do grow cayennes for drying and some jalapenos as well. I love to grow sweet peppers though,especially the big horn-shaped Italian sweets, they are the best! I’ll be starting early tomatoes then as well! I love it because I know warmth is on the way when the seeds go in! We’ll be hunting mushrooms in no time!

    • It is an exciting time of the year for sure and at the moment surprisingly warm in Poland, I hope its not a false dawn!
      Lots of other seeds on the way, although I’m lucky in that Gosia mum will be looking after the sweet peppers in her hand built polly-green-house as well as tomatoes and other such goodies. It’s almost like a co-op within the family as her aunty and sister in law all come together to swap seeds, seedlings and plants as the season goes on; at least one of us will have a good harvest :)

  4. Enjoy it while you can. We have had to cut down on the hot and spicy stuff…as Pete says, “You must have cast-iron insides.” We don’t (anymore) :-(

    • I try not to eat them raw :) I must post our recipe for chilli jam when the harvest comes in as it’s the depth of flavour rather than the heat that gets you; fantastic on burgers and not a bad stir fry ingredient either.

    • I have more trouble finding the space than the time, but they look after themselves for the most part; a bush variety indoors on the windowsill is a must all, you save a fortune over shop bought cellophane wrapped specimens :)

  5. “At least one hot one”! I couldn’t even look at a scotch bonnet without coming over all previous Eddy. Jalapenos are not hot enough then? Phew, you must have cast-iron insides mate. If you are going to eat eight varieties of hot pepper, I would suggest shovelling out that composting toilet a bit deeper first…
    Good luck with them anyway. Enjoy your Tabasco Shandy too.
    Regards as always, Pete.

    • You can’t beat a jar of pickled jalapenos to accompany chees and biscuits! Mind you I’ll take your advice on the composting pile, once I’ve stopped laughing.
      All the best

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