Parade of peppers

One of my favourite crops to grow is peppers… partly because they require no garden, so anyone with a windowsill can manage them, and partly because they were my very first growing success.

Pepper plants in the sun

Pepper plants in the sun

After I completed my degree, I stayed on at university to work towards my PhD. I moved into a little flat on the sea front in Aberystwyth (in the 1980s, before it had been ripped apart by storms). It was on the back of the house, so I didn’t get a sea view, but I did look out on my landlady’s tiny garden, which was filled with roses and an enormous ivy growing up one wall. There was no space for me to grow anything outdoors, but I had a hankering to produce some sort of fruit or vegetables and so I settled on peppers. I found a dwarf variety that claimed to be suitable for growing in pots on the windowsill and planted some seeds. The variety I chose was Redskin and it turned out to be a great success. Such a success, in fact, that I didn’t have room for all of them in my flat and I transferred some of them into the bay window in the big storage room in the house, where they flourished. My landlady did not mind a bit – she was a lovely lady.

These days, 25 years down the line, I wouldn’t choose Redskin as it is an F1 hybrid and my preference now is to grow open pollinated and heritage varieties. However, the F1 hybrids are consistent and, whilst success is not guaranteed, there is a good chance that you will get uniform results. As a complete novice, Redskin was probably a good choice and it certainly encouraged me to continue growing peppers… in fact I think I have grown some every year since that first attempt.

A parade of potted peppers

A parade of potted peppers

This year, the varieties I have chosen are more varied: Lipstick (a favourite now from The Real Seed Catalogue) and Nova (also from Real Seeds, but a variety I have not tried before), plus the plants from a mixed pack of Australian Peppers from Kate (Tall Tales from Chiconia). In addition, as I have developed a liking for spicy food, I grow chillies. I’m quite boring with my choice of these and now only grow Lemon Drop and Alberto’s Locoto, but both of these do well in my greenhouse, and sometimes will overwinter.

Despite having given some pepper seedlings to my sister and another friend, when I came to do my potting up yesterday, I discovered I had rather a lot of plants. I haven’t counted them up, but I think that (weather permitting) this year might be a really good year for capsicums. If so, I’m planning to make pepper passata as a way of storing them.

In the greenhouse

In the greenhouse

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  1. I’ve never seen a pepper as stunning as the blue one in the first picture. Going to Kew are they.??
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  2. What an impressive display! Clearly the liking is mutual! Today I’m carting half a trailer load of river stone for the drainage in the bottom of my three raised beds… I’m now also going to have a pond pod, with water chestnuts and perhaps tilapia. Every so often the plants will get pond water with lots of nice fish poo in it, we may get the odd tilapia and the water chestnuts will provide some crunchy interest when I make a stir fry.

  3. I have been buying great big jars of gorgeous marinated capsicums (good to see you slipped and called them by their RIGHT name 😉 ) Locoto are tree chillies aren’t they? I would love to get hold of some seed or cutting material as they grow well from cuttings but alas, I doubt I will find them anywhere here and we are not allowed to import capsicum or chilli seed into Tassie (no idea why but “VERBOTEN!”) so I can only lust after them from afar which is silly because the tree chillies are apparently very cold tolerant and would be perfect here.

  4. Peppers were the very first thing I grew all on my own, and I used a tiny, home-made greenhouse to grow them in – not realising they didn’t really need this – but I was really proud of my first ever crop, and even kept a record (which I’ve since lost) of the weight of the peppers I picked – it was quite a lot, if my memory serves me well 🙂


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