The Chilli Challenge

Our success with chillies has been very mixed.  Actually that might be an understatement.  Up until last year we simply couldn’t grow them.  Our attempts at growing from seed just failed and even when we were given well established plants by fellow plot holders we still managed to kill them. This was a huge source of embarrassment to the extent that we ended up avoiding these friends for a couple of weeks in case they inquired how we were getting on.

Chilli Pepper http://southbournegardens.com

I wanted to give up completely, but if anything Derek became even more determined, especially after seeing Joe’s Long chillies growing outside in the gardens at RHS Wisley.  So I left him to it.  A year later he produced these.

So this year I have set him ‘The Chilli Challenge’.  To grow seven different varieties for recipes I would like to make.

Vampire – a medium variety with black fruit.

Aji Limon – a hot yellow chilli with a clean, citrus flavour.

Ancho – a mild Mexican variety, green ripening to red.

Hungarian Hot Wax – medium heat with a fresh flavour.

Jalapeño – a medium chilli that can be eaten green or left to ripen to red.

Cayenne – a hot, rich red chilli.

Habañero – a very hot chilli, with a smoky flavour.

Joe's Long Chilli http://southbournegardens.com

The Aji Limon with it’s citrus flavour, I plan to use in a Thai style seafood curry, making a fresh paste with garlic and coriander and then cooling it down with coconut milk.

A Texas style chilli, chunky meat cooked long and slow using fresh Habañero chillies alongside dried Ancho and Cayenne.

Chilli jam, ubiquitous I know but I haven’t yet found a recipe that I think is ‘the one’ and so it’s on the list.

Chilli oil, perhaps in combination with herbs and/or garlic.

Mole verde, a Mexican dish made with poached chicken and a rich spicy Jalapeño paste that has been loosened with the poaching liquid.

The Hungarian Hot Wax being quite mild I think will end up on the barbecue or stuffed, maybe with soft,  mild white cheese and then baked.

Also a couple of salsas, one hot and fiery, the other mild and fruity or perhaps smoky.

So there we are.  The seed order went in yesterday and it’s now full steam ahead. I’ll give a monthly update here and I’d love to hear in the comments if you’re growing chillies and which varieties you’ve chosen or perhaps if you want to ‘grow along’ with us.

All our seeds have been ordered from Victoriana Nurseries where there are plenty of other chillies to choose from as well as lots of good information about the different varieties and how to grow them.  The link is here.

    Pin It

52 Responses to “The Chilli Challenge”

  1. Margaret January 27, 2014 @ 1:35 pm (#)

    I haven’t had much luck growing chillies. But I will keep trying

  2. Margaret January 27, 2014 @ 1:35 pm (#)

    I haven’t had much luck growing chillies. But I will keep trying

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

      I must admit there are some things that I no longer try to grow at the plot but I’m really glad we stuck with it on this one.

  3. Joanne January 27, 2014 @ 1:55 pm (#)

    I based some of my chilli selections last year on what I wished to cook. They did well so perhaps yours might this year. I will pretty much be sowing the same this year but I might add that Aji Limo one to the list. I had thought my seed purchasing was over.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

      There’s always something tempting to add to the list.

  4. Joanne January 27, 2014 @ 1:55 pm (#)

    I based some of my chilli selections last year on what I wished to cook. They did well so perhaps yours might this year. I will pretty much be sowing the same this year but I might add that Aji Limo one to the list. I had thought my seed purchasing was over.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

      There’s always something tempting to add to the list.

  5. Joanne January 27, 2014 @ 1:55 pm (#)

    I based some of my chilli selections last year on what I wished to cook. They did well so perhaps yours might this year. I will pretty much be sowing the same this year but I might add that Aji Limo one to the list. I had thought my seed purchasing was over.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

      There’s always something tempting to add to the list.

  6. Jardin January 27, 2014 @ 2:11 pm (#)

    Looking forward to seeing the results – best of luck!

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

      Laughing at this. Derek has just sent me a message saying ‘No pressure!’. On serous note it will be interesting to track the results properly so if we do have some that don’t work we can learn from it.

      • Jardin replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

        Absolutely .. with gardening, you win some, you lose some… nature will out! But good luck all the same!

  7. Sue@GLAllotments January 27, 2014 @ 5:06 pm (#)

    Chillies scare me a bit – they are a bit violent – much rather wrestle a tayberry.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

      That did make me laugh Sue. I must admit the Habañeros are scaring me a bit.

  8. Sue@GLAllotments January 27, 2014 @ 5:06 pm (#)

    Chillies scare me a bit – they are a bit violent – much rather wrestle a tayberry.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

      That did make me laugh Sue. I must admit the Habañeros are scaring me a bit.

  9. Sue@GLAllotments January 27, 2014 @ 5:06 pm (#)

    Chillies scare me a bit – they are a bit violent – much rather wrestle a tayberry.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

      That did make me laugh Sue. I must admit the Habañeros are scaring me a bit.

  10. crthompson2013 January 27, 2014 @ 5:47 pm (#)

    I’m glad I’m not the only rubbish chilli grower out there. Mine either fail to get beyond being pricked out and potted on, or refuse to survive being brought in onto a bright and cool windowsill. When we brought one from the South Devon Chilli Farm it sat and looked at us for months without producing a single fruit and then the leaves fell off – it didn’t even resurrect come spring. Maybe 2014 could be my lucky year? fingers crossed – look forward to hearing how you get on.

  11. crthompson2013 January 27, 2014 @ 5:47 pm (#)

    I’m glad I’m not the only rubbish chilli grower out there. Mine either fail to get beyond being pricked out and potted on, or refuse to survive being brought in onto a bright and cool windowsill. When we brought one from the South Devon Chilli Farm it sat and looked at us for months without producing a single fruit and then the leaves fell off – it didn’t even resurrect come spring. Maybe 2014 could be my lucky year? fingers crossed – look forward to hearing how you get on.

  12. Southbourne Gardens January 27, 2014 @ 6:00 pm (#)

    Thank you!

  13. Mark Willis January 27, 2014 @ 8:36 pm (#)

    My favourite subject! Never had any problems with germination or growing…. I think the key is providing constant attention and TLC. Mine are grown outdoors every year, and even in a poor year I can pretty well guarantee a reasonable crop. Maybe I have the magic touch???

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

      I think you do Mark. Which varieties have you chosen this year?

  14. Mark Willis January 27, 2014 @ 8:36 pm (#)

    My favourite subject! Never had any problems with germination or growing…. I think the key is providing constant attention and TLC. Mine are grown outdoors every year, and even in a poor year I can pretty well guarantee a reasonable crop. Maybe I have the magic touch???

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

      I think you do Mark. Which varieties have you chosen this year?

  15. Laila Noort (@sowandso) January 28, 2014 @ 5:46 pm (#)

    I’ve got a lot of the same varieties from Victoriana as well. I love growing chillis, I never have a lot of problems besides the long growing season but I do grow them inside the polytunnel, I don’t have Mark’s magic touch hi hi. Let’s post photos of our chilli successes on our facebook pages at the end of the growing season?.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 28th, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

      Yes! It’s Derek’s project really but I plan to do a monthly post. I did think for this that Facebook might be the easiest place for people to post any pictures.

  16. Laila Noort (@sowandso) January 28, 2014 @ 5:46 pm (#)

    I’ve got a lot of the same varieties from Victoriana as well. I love growing chillis, I never have a lot of problems besides the long growing season but I do grow them inside the polytunnel, I don’t have Mark’s magic touch hi hi. Let’s post photos of our chilli successes on our facebook pages at the end of the growing season?.

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 28th, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

      Yes! It’s Derek’s project really but I plan to do a monthly post. I did think for this that Facebook might be the easiest place for people to post any pictures.

  17. Laila Noort (@sowandso) January 28, 2014 @ 5:46 pm (#)

    I’ve got a lot of the same varieties from Victoriana as well. I love growing chillis, I never have a lot of problems besides the long growing season but I do grow them inside the polytunnel, I don’t have Mark’s magic touch hi hi. Let’s post photos of our chilli successes on our facebook pages at the end of the growing season?.

  18. Urvashi Roe January 28, 2014 @ 10:13 pm (#)

    What a lovely selection of chillies. I do rather like how you have allocated them to different types of food too. Look forward to seeing how they grow!

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 28th, 2014 @ 10:38 pm

      Thank you. I wanted to think carefully about this, because they take quite a lot of looking after as well as valuable space.

  19. Urvashi Roe January 28, 2014 @ 10:13 pm (#)

    What a lovely selection of chillies. I do rather like how you have allocated them to different types of food too. Look forward to seeing how they grow!

    • Southbourne Gardens replied: — January 28th, 2014 @ 10:38 pm

      Thank you. I wanted to think carefully about this, because they take quite a lot of looking after as well as valuable space.

  20. Pingback: The Chilli Challenge February Update | Southbourne Gardens

  21. Pingback: Chilli Challenge 2014: part 1 | My Potting Bench

  22. crthompson2013 March 3, 2014 @ 4:41 pm (#)

    Excellent!

  23. crthompson2013 March 3, 2014 @ 4:41 pm (#)

    Excellent!

  24. Pingback: The Chilli Challenge May Update - Southbourne Gardens

Leave a Comment