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Dig It - Discussions on Gardening Topics

For the love of Chillies, with Jason Breed

Season 4, Ep. 2

The temperature rises in this edition of Dig It as Peter Brown and Chris Day chat with passionate chilli grower Jason Breed. Jason, a seed specialist from Moles Seeds, gives a full rundown of the growing of these popular fiery fruits, a look at what makes chillies so hot, plus some insightful advice on getting the best from your plants and using them in the kitchen.

 

Chilli peppers are varieties of the berry-fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, which are members of the nightshade family Solanaceae, cultivated for their pungency. Chilli peppers are widely used in many cuisines as a spice to add ‘heat’ to dishes. There are many health benefits associated with chillies too.

 

The Scoville Scale is a measurement of pungency (spiciness or ‘heat’).

 

Jason famously created a Chocolate Chip Chilli Cookie featuring Habanero chillies at the Garden Centre.

 

Products mentioned: Products derived from chillies including sprays for bears, elephants (using barriers of chilli plants) and as an effective squirrel deterrent. Use Vermiculite at seed sowing time. Use a decent seed and cutting peat-free compost such as Levington’s. LED plant lights to help growth. Hydroponic systems lend themselves to chilli production. Use Organic contact sprays for caterpillars, greenflies, flea beetles, sawflies and whitefly control. Fertilisers including Chilli Focus Premium Liquid Concentrated Fertiliser.

 

Chilli varieties mentioned: ‘Apache’, ‘Quick Fire’ (30k on the Scoville scale), F1 hybrid, is the fastest maturing chilli available from seed with the prolific fiery red fruits produced in as little as 50 days from sowing. ‘Red Air’ (Bird’s eye type, Scoville Scale 70-80k), ‘Red Flame’ (Cayenne type, 30-50k), ‘Rocky’, a Jalapeno hybrid, 8k and ‘Santana’ (hybrid Anaheim, 2.5-3.5k).

Open pollinated types include Scotch Bonnet, Habanero and Tabasco, where seeds can be successfully saved from these plants.

 

Guinness World Records declares Pepper X as world’s new hottest chili pepper.

 

A garden axe would be Jason’s essential castaway item.

 

The latest Guinness World Chilli eating record.

 

Useful links

Chillies available from the Garden Centre including Padron Chilli Pepper and De Cayenne, South Devon Chilli Farm and Chilli Ranch. Jason also mentioned a Bedfordshire commercial chilli grower.

 

Our thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for supplying the music.

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