Monday, February 6, 2012

Growing Potted Chillies in a Sub-tropical Climate

a bumper chilli harvest
We just collected a bumper crop of chillies from our potted herb garden! To learn how to make hot chilli sauce with your home-grown chillies, please visit my husband's cooking blog Dave's Home Cooking.

Chillies have been the most successful crop in our 3 year old potted garden. Our oldest plants were planted in the first year, using seeds from a seed packet of mixed varieties we bought from Big W. Younger plants were grown from seeds collected from fruit we grew, all these seeds had a very high chance of sprouting in our garden. You just press the seeds into seed raising mix and water them in, they sprout a couple of weeks later. We stopped planting from seeds a couple of years ago as we ended up with too many plants, we even gave some away as gifts! We now also have a few plants that were given to us by David's father last winter. We have several different varieties of chilli plant, I'm just not sure which ones they are. We live in sub-tropical Brisbane, where the winters don't get too cold, although we do sometimes get a mild frost, and the summers can be quite warm. This summer has proven to be very wet and humid!

flowering chilli plant
Chillies love direct sunlight, but they need good watering regularly. They don't like to sit in water so the pot must have good drainage, which is why our potted chillies don't have saucers. These plants seems to be resistant to pest problems in our area. To keep them really happy they like to re-potted every 1 or 2 years in a rich compost soil, and the pots shouldn't be too small, they seem to prefer our bigger pots which have a 30cm diameter. They also appreciate a regular feeding with a liquid fertiliser every 3 to 4 weeks. We still have plenty of flowering and green chillies for the near future.

green chillies growing
If you like cooking with chillies, and you live in an area similar to ours, I highly recommend including chillies in your potted herb garden.

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