Chillies are a part of the Solanaceae family which also includes tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes and capsicums. They grow into a small perennial shrub which produces fruit from December to April, depending on the variety. The best time to plant your chilli seedlings is in warm weather such as spring or summer.
Why do chillies make you feel so good?
Capsaicin tricks our brains into feeling a burning sensation and this is what makes chillies so spicy. This burning sensation triggers the brain to release endorphins and dopamine in an attempt to relieve it. Endorphins and dopamine create a euphoric feeling as they are linked with the brain’s pleasure and reward systems. This rush of euphoria is why chillies make you feel so good and why they have been popular in cuisines all around the world for many years.
How to grow chillies
Transplanting and soil:
Chillies prefer rich and well-draining soil with organic matter such as compost added. To transplant your chilli seedling, tip the plant upside-down with your hand holding the plant and the soil. Gently squeeze the sides of the pot to remove the plant and shake off excess soil. Carefully place the chilli seedlings into the prepared hole and cover over with soil up to the same point that was covered in its original pot. Deeply water the chilli and leave in a shady spot for a few days while it recovers. You can then gradually introduce it to sunnier positions.
Chilli growing conditions:
Chillies prefer a warm and sunny position and can even thrive in full sun. They will not produce many fruits in shady positions and will not tolerate frosts.
Chillies enjoy deep watering and then being allowed to dry before watering again. However, you will need to keep the soil moist while your seedling is transplanting. They don’t like sitting in water, so if growing in pots, be sure to empty the saucer of any water after watering.
Chillies in most soils will benefit from a weekly feeding with your preferred fertiliser.
Chillies get along well with carrots, leeks, onions, tomatoes, capsicums and ornamental flowering plants. Chillies and other members of the Solanaceae family should be rotated (planted in a different place) every season for three years to avoid the build-up of soil-borne diseases. If planting in pots, changing the soil can avoid this issue. View our range of other plant seeds here.
Harvest your chillies once they are fully ripe. They may be yellow, orange, red, purple or another colour depending on the variety. Harvest by cutting above the fruit, leaving a small section of stem attached to the chilli.
Uses for chillies
Chillies can be used directly in your dish of choice, be preserved in a chutney or jam, created into a hot chilli sauce, stuffed and much more! Get creative with your harvest so you can enjoy it all year round.
How to dry and store chillies
Chillies are very generous plants, but this isn’t a problem because they are one of the easiest to store! Chillies can be air-dried and last for months. Using a long piece of twine, simply tie a knot around the harvested chilli stems and hang up to dry in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. You can string many together creating a decorative and useful piece in your kitchen. Alternatively, chillies can also be stored in preserves or chopped up and frozen.
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