If you planted chilies last year, you’re almost certainly still working through the fruits of your labor. You probably have homemade hot sauce, a few dried peppers and a small pile of frozen chilies sitting in your freezer.
But, that seemingly never-ending supply of chili peppers is bound to run out some day… perhaps before the next batch is ready.
Of course, you can buy dried pepper pods from our supply. We grew far more chilies than necessary, but we just couldn’t help ourselves. Still, we understand that there’s something incredible about eating and sharing the chilies you grew yourself.
Get Your Garden Growing
If you’re a chili pepper novice, there’s something you need to know – chilies love heat and sunshine. But, you can’t wait for the last frost to pass and toss some seeds in the ground.
Chili peppers are a great deal more finicky than that.
The hotter the pepper, the earlier they should be planted. You need to start your plants now. And yes, that means you will need seed trays and plenty of space next to the south-facing windows in your home (or, at least, the best light you can provide).
Whether you’re growing Scorpions or Habaneras, the rules are generally the same, though you may want to spend some time getting to know your chosen plants before you get started. Sometimes, a pepper has a little quirk that sets it apart from the others.
And that means you should quickly decide on the peppers you want to enjoy this time next year. It sets the tone for everything you do with your chili garden.
Choosing the Best Chili Peppers for You
Chili heads tend to rush out for the hottest seeds they can find. After all, that’s what they like. And, there’s something special about dragging people around to the back garden (after you can safely transplant your chili babies) to show them some of the hottest peppers in the world. It’s fun to say, “this baby’s heat should burst through the million Scoville mark,” isn’t it?
But, there are a few things you might want to consider. If you live in Alaska or Florida, the annual temperatures might adversely affect your growing season. And then there’s the fact that you really only need a few Ghost Peppers to take your tongue off. Other chilies may fare better when given as gifts.
You should also think about how you plan to prepare chilies after their harvest. If you plan to eat your chilies raw, you might want Jalapeño or Serrano seeds. If you want moderate heat, then Habanero peppers are probably your best bet.
And yes, you’ll find there are chili peppers that are just plain ornamental. Consider your favorite holidays and choose your chilies to accent those colors. It may sound a little strange, but it will be a décor touch that your holiday guests will truly appreciate.
Just remember, if you want to feast on the fruits of your labor at this time next year, you’ll want to get growing now.