Chilli's are great for spicing up boring meals. While they don't keep well in the fridge, they are easy to grow and take up little space in the garden. Plant a chilli garden today for fresh chilli's any time.
There are five chilli varieties that are widely available at nurseries and in the gardening section of department stores. They can be purchased as seeds or in a semi-grown state.
The bullhorn and banana chillis are sweet chilli's that rate one (on a scale of one to ten) on the heat scale. They taste similar to capsicum and are good for adding flavour, but not heat, to a meal.
If it's heat you're after, try one of these varieties. The long hot chilli is... well, long and hot, measuring five on the heat scale. The jalapeno chilli, a favourite of Mexican restaurants, rates 6 but it's the birds eye chilli that is the hottest of the common garden varieties. This red chilli is an 8.
The key to a thriving chilli garden is in the preparation. If you are planting in the garden, you will require a fertile soil that can retain moisture. Add water crystals or organic matter if your soil is too dry. If you are planting in a pot, use the same principles for the soil. Make sure your pot has good drainage and do not place it on a saucer.
Plant your chillis in an area of the garden that will receive lots of sunlight and will remain warm overnight (for example, by a brick wall that retains heat). If you live in a cooler climate, you may have to replant annually.
When it comes to harvesting your chillis, remember that some varieties will continue to ripen after they have been picked.