The Chilli Guru™

Capsicum annuum 'Zimbabwe Black'


25th March 2017

At last, only 15 days after sowing, the first Capsicum lanceolatum seedling has emerged. Now comes the real challenge - trying to raise the seedlings of the various species to maturity, and persuading them to produce ripe chillies for me to taste.

22nd March 2017

The first Capsicum galapagoense seeds germinated after 16 days which is a lot faster than expected. C. eximium, which was sown 10 days later than the main trial, started to germinate after only 11 days even though it is reputed to be very slow.

12th March 2017

Germination of seed for the chilli variety trial has been fast and uniform this year. Only one variety still to emerge after 11 days, plus Capsicum galapagoense which is not part of the trial. Very pleased with the chilpetins, as I expect some good smoky flavours from them. Not enough is written about the flavour of many Capsicum species, so I will be growing and tasting as many as I can this season.

8th March 2017

As the days grow brighter and warmer, it is becoming clearer which overwintered chilli plants have survived. Capsicum annuum and C. baccatum cultivars have fared best, along with C. chacoense which must surely be the easiest of all the wild species. C. chinense varieties have again proved the most tender and not one has survived.

7th February 2017

If you choose the chilli varieties you grow for flavour rather than for compact growth, your plants are likely to need some support. I have now added a page with some ideas on how best to provide this support to ensure a long and fruitful season for your chillies.

1st January 2017

Happy New Year to one and all.

Another year, another chilli trial in the offing. The focus this year will be on a Naga cross which produced some very interesting plants in the F2 generation. Mostly a bit too tall growing, but some really good flavours and unexpectedly sweet. I shall follow up two lines, one red fruited, the other brown; if I have enough space I may also include a more compact orange fruited line.

6th December 2016

Back from a quick holiday in Spain on the Costa de Almeria. Food reasonable, but no chilli! I did not realise how much I would miss the flavour of the chillies that we use in everyday cooking. Will take a selection of chilli powders in my luggage next time.

17th October 2016

A busy time photographing, harvesting and processing chillies. Still I have found time to add the first article on chilli cultivation which I hope will prove useful. More will follow over the winter months.

4th September 2016

An exciting day tasting a hot chilli breeding line. First a piece without rib in order to get the flavour without the heat, then a piece with rib to get the full experience. It is interesting that the flavour is much fuller and more complex when the piece includes rib.

2nd September 2016

We have now been to see the chilli trials at both T & M and Fothergills. A lot of interesting material at both sites, some of which will be incorporated into our own trials program.

12th August 2016

The flooding we experienced in June is still affecting crops. Our first picking of the sweet pepper Gargantua was by no means as sweet and tasty as it has been in other years. On a brighter note our breeding for a slow burn baccatum x frutescens cross is producing some fabulous chillies.

9th August 2016

Jalapeño and Midas ripe. Fresh chillies taking over from chilli powders in our cooking.

7th August 2016

We have the first ripe chillies on Zimbabwe Black, and some of our breeding lines have good looking ripe fruit. Quality testing starts soon.

4th August 2016

Ripe chillies on an overwintered plant of Russian Yellow. My experience of overwintered plants is that they are not always earlier than spring sown ones, but this is significantly earlier than expected.

1st August 2016

A difficult season, with very cold weather delaying planting in April followed by flooding in June. The hot spell in July caused further problems for plants which had suffered root damage in the flooding. Things are looking better now, but only two of our chillies, Chimayo and Havana Gold have ripe fruit so far.

30th July 2016

Welcome to the new Chilli Guru website. The site already contains enough information to be interesting, but will continue to grow. This section will act as a mini blog charting the progress of my chilli plants through the year.

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