This is our first year for our online growing diary, digital camera's have only just started to appear so these were taken with a 1 Megapixel camera, buying different varieties of seeds were very limited in the UK so these have been sourced from the USA. No significant growing equipment available for specialised growing available for chillis as yet.
This Years Varieties
Ancho Poblano: (Capsicum annuum) The name Ancho means 'wide,' an allusion to the broad, flat, heart-shaped pods in the dried form. The fresh pod is called Poblano, are pendant, vary between 3 to 6 inches long, and 2 to 3 inches wide, and conical or truncated and have indented shoulders. Immature pods are dark green, maturing to either red or brown, and the dried pods are a very dark reddish-brown, nearly black. Cascabell:(Capsicum annuum) Means "rattle" and the name refers to the shape of the chilli as well as the sound the seeds make when a dried chilli is shaken. The Cascabell chilli is deep red to brownish in colour and when mature is about 1 1/2" in diameter. Jalapeno: (Capsicum annuum) The fruits are dark green, tapered, three inches by one inch, turning red when mature. Good for pickling or used fresh in salsas. They have thick walls so do not dry well. Mexibelle:(Capsicum annuum) This chilli/pepper is a stepping stone between sweet bell and hot chilli peppers. The large, wide bell pepper has a dash of heat. Peppers are green at first, but turn red (and hotter) if you leave them on the plant longer. If too strong for your palate, remove seed core and white ribs inside the pepper before serving. Mirasol: (Capsicum annuum) This is a 4" x 3/4" chilli which is medium in heat. MIRASOL means "Looking at the Sun" which describes its erect growth habit. Fruits ripen from green to translucent red an have a fruity flavour. Nu Mex Sunrise: (Capsicum annuum) About 12cm long, medium fleshed varying in heat, sweet and earthy ripening to a golden yellow. Pasilla: (Capsicum annuum) This chilli makes a good substitute for Ancho and Mulato chillis It's called a Pasilla when fresh and Chile Negro only when dried. The fresh Pasilla is thin, 5-7 inches long, and dark green, doesn't look anything like the dried variety, which is almost black. Peter Pepper: (Capsicum annuum) Named for its similarity in appearance to an anatomical part. Medium hot and good tasting (great for spicing up salsa). The plants can reach two feet and produce good amounts of fruit
This Years Equipment
All plants were grown straight in the ground, so no significant equipment was used this year, apart from some tomato food when the fruits were setting and growing.
February - April 2000
This years seeds were planted at the end of February 2000, and although they germinated fairly quickly in a heated propagator weather conditions always take a turn for the worst as April starts, frosts, snow and low temperature always seem to slow them down. Even now as April approaches they are still only 1-2 inches high and are all still in the greenhouse as we have now decided the weather is not good enough to plant any outside, even in a sheltered spot.
May - June 2000
Its nearly June now and still no sun and warmth to get the chilli plants growing although the tomatillo (right) has shot up. So much for global warming more like global soaking in the UK, are we ever going to get the summers again to grow these plants.
As an extra we have grown the tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica), known as the Husk Tomato or Mexican Husk Tomato. It is a plant of the nightshade family, related to the cape gooseberry, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruits. Tomatillo's originated in Mexico and are a staple of Mexican cuisine. they are generally eaten fried, boiled or steamed. The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk formed from the calyx. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest.
July 1: Still not much sun, but warmer and the plants are coming into flower, the Robustini is the first one to show its fruit as can be seen left. The Tomatillo (right) are now approaching 5 foot high. The fruit is now developing in the lantern like husk starting the size of a pea, maturing to a golf ball size. Plenty of fruit from the 2 bushes, some of it being frozen for later use.
July 23: The Robustini is producing a good crop of early maturing chillis, picked mostly green as they are good for pickling. Bush about 2 foot high.
July 29: Mirasol which means 'Looking at the Sun', describing the upright growing habit of this medium heat chilli. Ripening from green to translucent red with a fruity flavour. Good clusters of chillis now forming on the plants. Bush about 2 -3 foot high, with chillis now starting to turn red at the end of October.
Aug 15: Numex Sunrise, medium fleshed chilli, varying in heat from medium to hot, this pepper has a sweet earthy flavour. Good for freezing. A few were left on the plant and these started ripening at the end of October to a golden yellow.
Mexibelle, bell type of pepper with some heat, ripening from green to chocolate to red. Most of the peppers were harvested green , but a few which were left on the plant did turn red.
Aug 20: Jalapeno, medium heat thick fleshed chilli. Popular with everything from salsas to stews to dips to snacks. Good pickled or smoked (known as Chipotle). We usually freeze a batch of these chillis to keep us going through winter as they freeze well and can be sliced up finely while still frozen to be added to all dishes that need a kick in the colder months.
Ancho-Poblano, large mild heart shaped chilli, ripening to red. When dried it is used in sauces or ground to powder. A few ripened to a deep red by October but the majority had been eaten baked and stuffed while they were still green.
Aug 29: Chilaca or Chile Negro, mild to medium heat chilli, often dried then known as Pasilla and used to make moles. Plenty of fruit on 2- 3 foot bushes. All these chillis were harvested together and laid in a tray on top of a boiler where they successfully dried.
Peter Pepper, grown as an ornamental but is edible with a fair bit of heat to it. Late forming but did start turning red by the end of October, but still a disappointing chilli to grow, more of a novelty chilli as the pepper, particularly the red variety, has been described as a "miniature replica of the circumcised male organ .
Sept 10: Cascabell, latest cropper of them all which we are growing this year. Plenty of fruits on the bush but none looking to ripen for drying. Unfortunately none of the chillis had ripened to red for drying by the end of November so I gave up on them as they were not very edible in the green state. I'll forget about these in future as they seem to need a very long growing season.
All varieties have done well except the Cascabell although it had plenty of fruit on. Most of the plants produced plenty of chillis but due to poor weather conditions all summer many of them did not ripen until September onwards, giving them all 7 - 8 months growing time, which is the whole of the British Spring, Summer and Autumn,