The hot topic of chillies

Chillies are easy to grow are colourful and don't take up much space.
Chillies are easy to grow are colourful and don't take up much space.

CHILLIES are a popular crop to grow.

They don't take up a lot of space, so it's easy to grow a selection of different varieties in a season.

They are very decorative and are useful in the kitchen.

Chillies originated in South America and have spread throughout the world in the past 500 years or so.

They are now an integral part of the cuisine of many different countries, particularly those with warm climates where they are most readily grown.

The fruit usually start out green and can be harvested at this stage. If left to ripen on the plant, the fruit will turn yellow, orange, purple, black or red, depending on the variety.

The colourful, fully ripe fruit are generally hotter and have a more intense flavour than the green ones.

Chillies enjoy similar conditions to tomatoes and capsicum.

A warm, sunny position in a pot or garden bed is ideal.

They don't need much in the way of care and attention.

They are a warm-season plant and can look a bit shabby during winter.

I usually trim mine back quite hard and let them re-shoot in spring.

They do like a humid environment, so you can plant them quite close together to foster this.

Keeping the soil mulched will also be beneficial.

Chillies make good companions for eggplant, cucumber, tomato, okra, squash, basil, oregano and parsley.

They also like geraniums, petunias, lovage, carrots and onions.

Keep them away from beans, broccoli, cabbage and fennel.

The heat level of the different varieties of chillies is measured in Scoville Units, in a method developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912.

When you read about the heat of chillies, the Scoville scale is usually translated into a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the mildest and 10 being the hottest.

At the mild end of the heat scale, you will find the Sweet Temptation, scoring a 2-3.

If you like something with a bit of bite, you might enjoy the Jalapenos.

They are cylindrically shaped, about 5-8cm long, and turn from dark green to red when ripe. They get a heat rating of 4-5.

A little further along are the Caysan chillies, a fruit about 5-7cm long, turning bright red when cooked.

I planted one of these last year and found that I used it far more than the habaneros and the birds eyes, because it had some heat but not too much.

After a hard trim in winter, it is coming back nicely and bearing well.

Habaneros are very hot, a 9 on the heat scale.

They are an interesting lantern shape and there are a few different types, producing fruit that may be orange, red, yellow or brown when ripe.

Also up there at the dangerous end of the heat scale is the Birds Eye, a short, tapered, red chilli that is only about 2-3cm long. The bush, to 1-1.5m tall, bears prolifically.

Be careful when handling chillies, as the juice can be highly irritating to the skin and the eyes.


>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  crops garden gardening lifestyle plants

Livingstone records greatest rental vacancy rate fall in Qld

$500 p/w in Yeppoon, five bedroom house with two bathrooms and three garages

Rental vacancies tumble in Livingstone after being 12% in June

Modelling comes naturally for this Rocky girl

CROWNING GLORY: Charlie Austin competed at Miss Teen and won the title of Qld Miss Teen Senior Overall Winner from girls across Queensland. Photo: Isabella Photography

This new model is showing the world she's got what it takes.

Emerald man was pilot of plane that crashed in CQ

A light aircraft that crashed on a property near Rolleston about 4pm on October 24.

Pilot is in Rockhampton Hospital in a serious condition

Local Partners

Modelling comes naturally for this Rocky girl

Although she hasn't been modelling for long, local girl Charlie Austin is already showing the world she's got what it takes.

Your chance to win

Learn More

Program announced for weekend's film festival

Lead character Frankie in one of the Capricorn Film Festival's short films, Slingshot, to screen this weekend.

Over 20 short films by CQ filmmakers to screen this weekend

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Bindi Irwin named in MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals