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

Star Jets player turned drug addict found with loaded gun

Jets Rookie of the year turned druggy seeks new life

Murderer used Beerburrum forest as dumping ground

Deceased woman Tia Landers. Her accused murderers have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Landers wasn't the first person Harris buried in Beerburrum forest

Local Partners

Workmates honour crash victim with tribute

UPDATE: Tanya Lyell is being remembered as a young mother dedicated to her family and work as the town she called home mourns its loss.

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

10 things to do this weekend

Support the United Tradesmen's Lodge as they raise funds for Guide Dogs Queensland by Dining in the Dark

Check out what's happening around the region

Kindy celebrates golden years

Maisie, Isaac and Abigail from the C&K - Silkstone Baptist Community Kindergarten.

Don't miss cake cutting ceremony with Mayor Paul Pisasale

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

10 things to do this weekend

Support the United Tradesmen's Lodge as they raise funds for Guide Dogs Queensland by Dining in the Dark

Check out what's happening around the region

In Flames are super 'proud' of new album

In Flames album to be released in November.  Photo Contributed

In Flames to release new album in November

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

OPINION: Dusit Thani Resort needs our full support

An artist impression of the Dusit Thani Brookwater Golf and Spa Resort.

Resort will bring great benefits to Ipswich