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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chilli Seedlings now available!

We can now offer Chilli Seedlings through the post - for UK mainland delivery addressed!

See our competition to win one of seven sets of six chilli seedlings:

Advance orders can be place for two delivery periods:
Mid-March to Mid-April and Mid-April to Mid-May.
The seedlings available have been selected as sets of six and are shipped as seedlings with one or two sets of true leaves in Jiffy-7 plugs all ready to pot-on into pots.
We currently have the following sets of six available:
Hot Six - Six very hot seedlings  (including Bhut Jolokia and five varieties of Habanero)
Tasty Six - Six varieties that are great to cook with.
Super Six - Six chilli plants we return to year after year.
Sweet Six - Six less-familiar sweet peppers - all with great flavour.
Stunning Six - Six really stunning chilli plants just right for a windowsill and adding some heat, flavour and colour into your cooking.
Extreme Six - Six Bhut Jolokia seedlings. If you have tried to germinate Bhut Jolokia in the past, you may have noticed they can be difficult - so why not start with seedlings.
Same Six - Six all the same; you choose.
The seedlings are germinated and cultivated in Jiffy-7 plugs and mailed in robust blister packs, with full care instructions. We recommend potting-on into John Innes No.1 or No.2 into 10cm pots and keeping the seedlings warm (20c -25c).
Read more on our shopping page: Chill Seedlings.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Extreme Chilli Chocolate - coming very soon!

Extreme Chilli Chocolate - coming very soon.

We have been working to perfect the Bhut Jolokia chilli chocolate and have had a lot of very good feedback from the tasters we enrolled via twitter ( Thank you to everyone that helped and all the supportive comments.  We made the first 50kg batch this week and we are now just waiting for the two labels we need to package the product. 

The Extreme range products all carry the skull-and-crossbones brand - to set it apart from our other products and to give good warning that the products are HOT.  The Extreme chocolate brings our Chilli Chocolate range up to six. 

Once the Extreme Chilli Chocolate is available, we will be packaging all six flavours into another 'HOT SIX' box - in a similar format to our HOT SIX chilli sauces

Based on the reaction we've had so far, I think Lucy,  chocolatiers here at the farm, will be making a lot more Extreme Chilli Chocolate this year! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Growing Chillies from seed - Part 1

This article is available as a pdf download from:

Growing Chillies from Seed: Part 1

Chilli Seedlings

What time of year is best?

In the UK, March and April are the best months to get going with chilli seeds – this should then mean you are picking fruit from July onwards. Some chilli varieties are also suited to being sown later in the year, for example, varieties with fruits that are typically eaten ‘green’ or immature, and for varieties that ripen very quickly. Because chillies need warmth to germinate and grow, later sowings have been known to do better than an earlier sowing because there is less risk of their growth being checked by a period of cold weather.

What temperatures are needed?

Chilli seeds need warmth to germinate - 25˚C is about ideal for the highest percentage of germination. Chilli seeds are unlikely to germinate below 10˚C, and they will germinate most quickly when the compost is about 35˚C. Once germinated, a soil temperature around 20˚C is ideal. Germinating indoors during the Spring will make life easier.

What equipment will you need?

Since chillies do like to be warm, some sort warming equipment is helpful to keep an even temperature:

- Free draining compost

- 3” pots and 6” pots

- A dibber is useful for pricking-out seedlings

- Plant labels

- Warming mat or heated propagator (no essential, but very useful)

- Liquid feed

What to do?

For each variety of chilli you want to grow, fill a 3” pot with good quality, free draining compost – to within 2cm of the top of the pot. Lightly firm the compost down, then sow the seeds evenly on the compost - we tend to sow thickly – then lightly dust some compost on top of the seeds – just a few millimetres (if you have some vermiculite, that can be used to cover the seeds instead). Stand the pots in a deep saucer of warm water until you see signs of water on the surface, then let the pot drain a little.

Keep the seeded pots warm (above 10C, ideally 25C) and inspect daily. Keep the surface of the compost moist. Once the seedlings start to emerge, find a bright position for them.

What varieties are good to start with?

We have found the following varieties to be very reliable and productive:

- Cherry Bomb – Very attractive fruits, first to ripen each year. Good for salsa and stuffing.

- Ring of Fire – A Cayenne variety. Prolific, good for cooking. Can be used green or red and dries very well.

- Padron – Very popular tapas chilli. Prolific, picked immature and lightly fried. Delicious!

- Aji Limon – A hot Peruvian chilli with fruits that ripen green to yellow. Very easy to grow and does not need support. Chillies have a lemon flavour and are good for salsas and cooking.

What next?

In part two will look at pricking out the seedlings and potting on.

Good luck, Steve.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

How to identify your chilli plant species

If you are given a chilli plant of misplace a plant marker, this guide should help identify the species:

Pubescens (e.g.Rocoto)
- Seeds Black

Annuum (e.g. Jalapeno)
- Seeds tan colour
- Corolla White (no spots)
- Flowers solitary per node and filament NOT purple

Baccatum (e.g. Aji)
- Seeds tan colour
- Corolla has spots

Chinense (e.g. Habanero)
- Seeds tan colour
- Corolla white or greenish, no spots
- Flowers two or more per node and filament purple

Frutescens (e.g. Tabasco)
- Seeds tan colour
- Corolla greenish, no spots
- Flowers solitary per node

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chilli Growing Kit - user's guide.

2009 Growing Season. Our new Chilli Growing Kit has been selling very well on our online shop, so I thought I'd start a blog series on how to grow chillies with the kit.

Using the kit. The kit is shipped with seeds for three of our favourite chilli plants - and 60 seeds in all - check our web pages for more details on the varieties you have and what they can be used for. The best time to sow most chillies in the UK is in March and April - maybe late February if you have access to a heated greenhouse. Once you find time to make a start, follow the instruction with the kit to get the seedlings started. Using the Jiffy7 pellets supplied, the seedlings do not need pricking-out - once the seedlings are a few inches high, just pot them on. We recommend a 6" pot with a good soil-based compost - half-fill the pot, pop the seedling and Jiffy plug on the soil and fill-in around it.

Rehydrate the compost plugs. Unpack the propagator tray and place ten of the Jiffy7 pellets in the base. Be sure to place them the right way up - they have small dimple in the side that should be facing up.

Add 400ml of warm water and watch the magic happen! After about ten minutes, the Jiffy plugs will have absorbed all the water. What you have now is ten growing cells all ready to take the seeds. I recommend placing two seeds in each cell and then picking out the weaker if both germinate.

Place the seeds into the recess in the top of the Jiffy7 plug - just push them in to a depth of about 5mm. Once in, just push a little compost over to cover them. Remember to use the plant labels included to remind you later which variety you sowed. Place the lid on the propagator and place the whole thing somewhere warm - 25c is about perfect. On the farm, we use heating cables and warming mats to keep a steady warmth in the compost and this does speed-up germination time. You should expect to see germination start after about seven days, but don't worry if they take longer - just keep the compost warm and moist, and they will pop up. Be sure to take the lid off the propagator on hot days to prevent the seedlings over heating. If you have access to a greenhouse or conservatory, seedlings will grow better with the increased light.

You can buy more Jiffy7 plugs and propagators from our web page if you'd like to get more than 10 seedlings going at once.

After about two or three weeks, you should have healthy chilli seedlings that are ready for potting-on. I recommend a pot about 1lt (6" pot). The goal is to re-pot the Jiffy7 plug so that the new soil level is just above the top of the Jiffy7 plug. I like to leave 2cm watering space from the edge of the pot to the soil level - chillies prefer to be watered well and then left to dry. Now that you have potted-on the first bacth, the propagator is ready to be used again. I recommend a John Innes No. 2 compost for potting-on these plug-based seedlings.

After five to six weeks you will have a well establish chilli plant that is starting to develop flower buds. The kit also includes 100ml of 'Chilli Focus' plant food to help development and cropping.
Please let me know how you get on with the kit - hopefully we can help with any problems.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Selecting A Chilli For A Recipe

Get Advice. Chillies can be very variable in heat, so if the recipe you are cooking calls for a 'hot red chilli', how do you know that you are buying one? Well, if you're buying online, you should be able to get some help via email or a phone call, but it you are at a market/shop, getting advice may be harder.

Have A Taste. Provided you can access the chillies without committing yourself to an entire bag of them, take a chilli, place it in a bag of some sort, and break it open. Reach into the bag and wipe a finger on the area with the seeds; then lick your finger. You may need to wait a few seconds to decide, but it you don't get the heat or flavour you're looking for, try another type.

Selecting From Many. The 'lick-a-finger' test can also be handy if you have a selection of chillies to choose from at home, and want to taste a few to remind yourself of the flavour and heat to help you pick the right one for the dish. Take care to wash your hands before you inadvertently rub your eye.

Same Chilli, Variable Heat! If you are growing chillies, you may have noticed that chillies from the same bush can vary greatly in heat - and certainly chilli plants of the same variety grown in different environments (some in a greenhouse, some outside) will vary. If you want a milder chilli, pick them early in their development - before the seeds form.

Dried, Fresh or Prepared? How do you know when you've added enough chilli? Fresh and dried chilli can take a little while to cook-in to the recipe, so give it some time; a hot chilli sauce tends to be a quicker option. Many Mexican recipes call for a mixture of fresh and dried, and sometime include smoked or pickled chillies as well. Dried chillies have a very different flavour when compared to the fresh form, so you can add a greater depth of flavour if you add fresh and dried. Note that a dried chilli is something like one tenth of the weight of the fresh pod - you may find that useful when experimenting with measurements of fresh and dried.