The flavour is determined by variety and to some extent the growing conditions. Growing peppers couldn’t be easier! It is best to start them off indoors or in a warm place as early in spring as you can as they like a long hot growing season. It needs to be warm or they won’t germinate. Their ideal temperature is 22°C so you can start them off in a hot water cupboard, on a heat pad or on top of a fridge.
They don’t grow very tall, less than a metre, but they benefit from extra support and a bamboo cane put beside the plant at the time of planting will help. Tie the plant to the cane as it grows so when it becomes heavy laden with ripening fruit it will stay upright.
It can take a while for the fruit to appear, but it will benefit from a regular liquid feed once it starts to flower. It is better to water the plant deeply every few days than a shallow sprinkle daily.
In their natural environment, they are perennials and can last for years. If you have frost in your area, it is this that will kill your plants. If you can provide a frost-free location or grow them in containers and move them somewhere warm in the winter then you can overwinter them and get your plants off to an early start next season. Alternatively, you can treat them like annuals and sow new seed each season.
Once it begins to fruit, the more you pick the more you get, and you can use them at any stage, they don’t need to be big like the ones in the shops. They start off green and then turn red or whatever other colour their variety determines. The yellow and orange capsicum are different from the red ones, they don’t go from green, to yellow to red.
Green peppers are just immature fruit and red mature peppers are grown by leaving them on the plant longer and they taste much sweeter and in the case of chillies much hotter. If you want to save seeds to grow again, it is best not to use the green ones.
The last, and most important, piece of advice for growing chillies is, when handling the fruit, in the garden or in the kitchen, make sure you use gloves and avoid any direct contact! Trust us, it is better not to learn this lesson the hard way.