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  • lukeathompson

Growing Chillies 2024

In 2024 I’ll be planting four varieties: Ring O’ Fire (capsicum annuum), Cayennetta (capsicum annuum), Orange habanero (capsicum chinense) and Rocoto Red (capsicum pubescens). The two cayenne types are because I love them. I’ve grown Ring O’ Fire successfully for years and love the flavour. The heat is really good and they grow organically and they grow well in the UK. I have heard Cayennetta is both great tasting and high yielding so thought I’d give them a go too. The habanero is because I’ve never grown them before and because they are generally considered the better flavoured group of chillies, albeit much hotter. The heat might prove too much in the end, but we’ll see. I expect I’ll get some interesting sauces out of them, and maybe some fiery chilli powders and flakes too. The Rocoto is the wild card. It is a very old type of chilli, from mountainous areas of Bolivia and Peru with cooler climates, so I hope they’ll do well in the UK.

The conditions here are mixed. We’re in Cornwall, which doesn’t see such sustained freezing temperatures as other parts of the UK, but it does see more wind and rain than most. Cornwall is massively influenced by the surrounding seas and we’re just off Bodmin Moor, which is higher ground and sees frosts and snows the rest of Cornwall sometimes avoids. I have a small greenhouse that will take maybe 10 or 12 fair-sized chilli plants, as well as a couple of windowsills inside. These are south-facing, which is great, although they’re quite low so the plants will need to be on a ledge of some kind. And I’ve pilfered Sarah’s fabric grow bags so I can try a few of the plants outside in the warmer months. Over the coming week I'll be preparing the greenhouse, which is still a bit of a mess from wintery neglect and planting some seeds.

Any tips for Rocoto success gratefully received!

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