In which I learn something about peppers - Tactical Ninja
Apr. 9th, 2014
09:00 am - In which I learn something about peppers
I've never grown chillies before.
Well, that's not entirely true. I grew some experimentally among the capsicums when my ex-husband and I were doing market gardening up north. They weren't very successful, I expect because of soil nutrition requirements or something.
But anyway, this mainshear one of my clients gave me* some heirloom chilli plants back in September, tiny seedlings just sprouted in the greenhouse.
I kept the wee blighters in my little seeding shed (which is just an attachment off the garage that has windows) because even I know that chillies come from a hot country and thus Wellington in September would probably kill them.
After several weeks I planted them out. I didn't expect much from them to start because it was still quite cold, but when it got into December and they were still tiny, I got a bit worried.
You see, I had assumed that chillies are from Mexico and that what they need is hot, dry conditions with poor-ish soil. More fool me, should have done my research.
So I did my research, and discovered that chillies are more of a tropics kind of plant than a desert one, and that what they like is hot, humid conditions with moist soil and lots and lots and lots of nutrients.
Luckily, Dr Wheel had given me a mini greenhouse for Christmas, so I erected this over the chillies, dumped a bag of sheep poo pellets in with them, and started watering them daily. What a difference that made! They immediately grew to about a foot high and started flowering. Now, they have chillies on them that are about 6 inches long. I dont' know what kind they are but they look like this:
I have no idea when to harvest chillies. The internet says "Whenever you like" which is not really any help. But they've stopped growing in length now, and aren't changing colour. Seems to me I could pick some if I wanted.
So last night I picked one, and tentatively nibbled on the end. It didn't seem that peppery, so I thought I'd add one to our dinner. I sliced it open and scooped the seeds out the way you would with a capsicum, then I licked my fingers.
Oh boy! OK, so it turns out that the inside of a chilli is much hotter than the outside. My mouth was still stinging 5 minutes later, after I'd taken a teeny-tiny slice of this thing and mooshed it up for our dinner, then put the rest on the windowsill to dry. Because that much chilli in our meal? Yeah nah.
After that I washed my hands thoroughly. And then I discovered that washing doesn't really achieve anything. I think chilli may make a good anti-nail-biting remedy. And that part where I brushed the ball of my thumb across the inside of my left nostril to scratch an itch?
She says while reaching for the tissues.
Suffice to say that I am still getting stinging every time I put my fingers in my mouth, and it seems I have managed to successfully grow some quite strong chillies. Probably not by the standards of those who like PAIN with their food, but by my extra-tastebudded ones? Oh hell yes. And I have about 25 of the little nasties hanging out there on their plants.
What the hell am I going to do with 25 chillies when even brushing my fingers over 1/10 of one is enough to make my eyes water?
* My clients often give me produce to send me on my way - I've come home with plants, vegies, bags of meat, eggs - and once, green eggs that came from purple chickens. That was awesome.