For the last few years I have been trying, and failing, to grow and ripen chillis. The last two summers have been a complete wash out apart from a Prairie Fire plant that we kept as a pot plant that produced tiny weeny chillis. Even the summer of 2006 with all its sunshiny glory and bees and butterflies didn’t produce anything but some green chillis that were eaten by slugs.
This was to be the final year…look what happened.
The secret of my success is a tip that I picked up from the Alternative Kitchen Garden Podcast. Last year I had a couple of runty Heatwave chilli plants that I planted a little late and which did not grow. I potted them on and kept them in the house (much to James’s chagrin as we also had to find a home for some gerberas that I had grown) over Winter. Nothing much happened until the days lengthened in March when they put on a bit of a growth spurt. Flowers started to come in May at which point we put them outside. Chillis started to grow sometime in June, and there are loads of them. This is the first one to ripen, but there are some more that are just showing the signs. Once they start they seem to take only a week or so to become completely red.