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Chilly peppers of various varieties love the warmth of the greenhouse, but they can
cultivate even better with a few magic ideas. Here are tips from UK bloggers
“Two ThirstyGardeners” using a 6×8 Harmony greenhouse in their veg plot.
A few weeks ago, smooth talking BBC Gardener’s World presenter Monty Don sidled
up to his chilli plants to pick a few pods. Usually, Monty harvesting veg is a time when
my face turns as green as Mr Don’s fingers, bathed in envy at his far superior yields.
But this time, a different sensation washed over me. Move over Monty, my chillies are
better than yours.
There was nothing at all wrong with Monty’s Jalapeño plants. They were a decent size
and plenty of shiny green chilies dangled from their stalks. Like me, he grew them in pots
housed within the greenhouse. One of my plants looked almost identical. But another,
which I grew in a slightly bigger pot, was definitely larger.
And that’s the secret – the amount of space given to the roots to suck up the
If my Jalapeños and the similarly productive Padrons were something to crow about then
my Hungarian Hot Wax and Aji Lemon plants were worthy of a vast murder of screeching
avians. These lucky varieties were afforded the extra luxury of being planted directly into
the ground, again under the greenhouse roof, and they’ve capitalised with abandon.
The Hot Waxes are big and hugely productive, while the Ajis are OUT OF CONTROL and
on the verge of needing to be trimmed WITH SHEARS.
I eagerly urge you to get some chilis in the ground next year.
The Chili Review
I wrote about my chosen chilli varieties after buying my seeds. Now the harvest is in full
swing, here’s the verdict on each plant:
The first to be ready, they can be picked very early as heat isn’t the key for these plump
little beauties. Speedy picking also encourages more growth so I’ve enjoyed a constant
supply throughout summer. Blister them on a hot pan or barbeque and sprinkle with salt,
tapas style. But be warned: occasionally a hot one will randomly reveal itself Russian
Roulette style. A manageable heat, but a little shock nonetheless.
Hungarian Hot Wax
My new favorite chili. Big plant, massively productive and, as with the Padrons, can be
harvested quickly. They have a nice bit of heat, but it’s not intense, so eating them whole
isn’t too much of a sweaty task. They are also great on the hot pan or barbeque, can be
stuffed, pickled, or chopped into salads.
Less dense foliage and slower to ripen, but can be harvested any time from deep green
to red. I’ve had a constant supply throughout summer but not in such high yields as the
other plants. Very distinctive flavor and they’re great sliced onto pizzas or other oven
baked dishes and even better pickled. Pretty hot but unlikely to cause too much damage.
These grew huge and are covered with hundreds of nobbly chilies. Yes, hundreds.
They can be picked green but I prefer waiting for them to turn a bright yellow colour
(although this takes quite a while). They have a dry, zesty flavor and are h-h-h-hot.
I’ve been chopping them sparingly into most dishes and they work very well in sauces.
When the inevitable glut arrives I’ll be drying them – they have thin skins and should
be perfect for putting through my dehydrator.