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Growing Chilli

(Capsicum sp.)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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(Best months for planting Chilli in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

September: After risk of frosts

  • Harvest in 65-80 days
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed.
  • Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C.
  • Space plants: 40-50cm

Small bushy plants. Dark green ovate leaves.

Chilli need warm frost free weather, so protect with glass or plastic covers if planting outside in cooler areas.

Most varieties need a long growing period to produce many 'chillies'.

There are many types of chilli. Some are more fiery than others. As a general rule, the smaller the pod the hotter the taste.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Chilli

Chillis freeze very well. Wash, dry, and free whole. Use them direct from the freezer (no need to defrost).
Wear plastic gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after handling and cutting to avoid accidently rubbing chilli juice onto your mouth or eyes!

Your comments and tips

08 Sep 12 Mike (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Brought a propogator with heat pad also,sick of seeds rotting.Also didnt want to waste $16 on 6 seeds. Bhut Jolokia 2-3 x hotter than a habanero @330,000-1,000,000 scoville heat units(SHU). Scorpian Moruga(hottest chilli on earth according to guinness book of records) with a heat rating of 1,000,000-2,000,000 SHU 6 seeds $16 with delivery.
13 Oct 12 lance (New Zealand - temperate climate)
ghost chilli is a good one really really hot myself I've just planted 6 wild fire chilli plants and 1 cayenne chilli pepper plant . live in kaitaia
02 Jan 13 Carol (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I am growing two chilli plants for the first time.They had fruit on them when I brought the and I am worried about them getting too cold. Should I be bringing them in at night or should I buy a small green house cover for them and leave them outside. Also one of the plants has a big chilli on it, the first I think. Should I remove this now befor it starts to ripen? Thank you for any help I receive.
07 Jan 13 megan (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
@Carol I have overwintered a chili plant grown from seed in a pot and it has been living outside since early December. We had snow down to 1000m last week and it's survived fine. There are about six fruit on it and I usually wait until they are fully ripe before I cut them off.
10 Apr 13 (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My chilli plants are curling up their leaves and looks like they are dying. They are only a few months old but have produced a good crop. I have watered them well and used fertiliser etc as well. Any ideas?
05 May 13 Niyati (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I have 2 chillie plants that have been flowering sice late Feb ut no chiles have come out yet. How can I get the flowers to fruit?
06 Jul 13 Chilli (New Zealand - temperate climate)
"wash your hands thoroughly after handling and cutting to avoid accidently rubbing chilli juice onto your mouth or eyes!" This is very good advice, the number of times I have touched my eye during preparation... Chilli juice isn't made for eyes.
05 Feb 14 Mike Evans (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I sprout my pepper seeds in a small Systema (plastic) container, placed on top of my hot water cylinder. Because the temperature is a constant 28 deg, the seeds sprout in 4 to10 days. I put a paper towel in the bottom of the container, making sure it is thoroughly saturated with plain water, but not so much that there is any standing water, and then put the lid on, sealing the seeds inside. Never fails. Check every two days as some seeds will sprout right away, and some can take up to two weeks.
06 Feb 14 Mike Evans (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
If your peppers are curling up their leaves, it means that you have one or more potential problems. Firstly, pepper plants don't like temperatures below 15 deg., including at night. Secondly, pepper plants need lots of nitrogen. There are two ways to get nitrogen naturally into the roots. Since most plants require a combination of wet and dry cyclic conditions, you must be careful with over-watering or under watering. In nature, rainwater carries natural nitrogen with it, but tap water does not. The slight drying of the soil between rainfalls also imparts natural nitrogen to the roots which promotes strong, vigorous root growth, but you definitely have to keep soil moisture balanced so I would recommend investment in a decent soil hydrometer, if you don't already have one. So we can say that a combination of soil moisture, nitrogen, and temperature are the three critical points that will keep your plants in the 'grow zone'. Of course, peppers absolutely love all day direct sunlight. Hopefully this will help you to achieve the delicate grow balance your peppers need in order to produce at their peak.
11 Feb 14 Judy (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
My wildfire chilli plant has produced a lot of chillies however even when they are green they are starting to dry out. By the they are red they have completely dried out.

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