If you like to give your food a fiery kick, why not try growing your own chilli peppers?
It's actually nice and simple to grow - you can either start from seed, or alternatively, begin a little further down the line, by picking up a young chilli plant from your local garden centre.
You will need:
Smell seed tray
Several 9cm pots for growing on Seed & Compost
Chilli seeds of your choice (from £1.99)
Propagator (from £16.99)
Create your own with a clear plastic bag and elastic band Plant labels
From young plant stage (start from step 4):
Young chilli plant (from £1.49)
Growing on pots
1. Fill your seed tray with Seed & Cutting compost, firming the surface lightly. Scatter a few seeds on top – these should germinate well so be careful not to overdo it. Cover with a light covering of compost or vermiculite and stand in water for a few minutes to allow the compost to absorb the water from beneath. Label with your chosen chilli variety.
2. Chillies need warmth to germinate, so use a heated propagator, or if you don’t have one, cover with a clear plastic bag and stand on a warm windowsill.
3. When the seedlings are about 2.5cm tall, with their first pair of true leaves unfurled, carefully prick them out into individual pots. Take care not to damage the roots and water well to settle them in.
4. Pot on into larger containers as the plants mature and roots start to appear through the drainage holes in the bottom. Use multi-purpose compost and support taller varieties with a bamboo cane.
5. Pinch out the tops of the chilli peppers when they are around 30cm tall to encourage lots of branches (and lots of chillies!)
6. Continue to grow in a greenhouse or polytunnel, or transfer outside to a warm sunny spot, once all risk of frost has passed. You can plant directly into fertile soil or transplant them into grow bags or patio containers, so you can move them around easily.
7. Water regularly and feed every couple of weeks with a highpotash tomato fertiliser once the first fruits have set. Start picking from July and enjoy your harvest through to October.
Tutorial courtesy of Dobbies