Heat Things Up in Your Garden with Chilis!
Chilis were first cultivated in the valleys of Mexico. They contain an alkaloid, capsaicin, that gives them their heat and are rich in vitamins A and C.
Medicinally, chili peppers act as a heart and circulatory stimulant and are used in ointments, liniments and plasters. Small amounts stimulate digestion.
Each variety has a Scoville heat unit (SHU) noted. For reference, a bell pepper is 0 SHU, a jalapeno is 10,000 SHU, a habanero is 100,000 SHU and a ghost pepper is 1,000,000 SHU.
Growing & Enjoying Tips:
If you hold back on water and keep your peppers on the dry side after fruits have set it will increase the heat. Over fertilization early in the pepper plants life will cause an abundance of leaf growth but few fruits so it's best to fertilize after fruit has set. To increase fruit size, spray the plant with a solution of 1 tablespoon Espsom salts in one gallon of water when in first bloom, and then again one to two weeks later.
Habanero and ghost peppers are slower growing than our other varieties and should be started around a month earlier.
Our favorites to use in cooking are Cayenne and Jalapeno. We dry the Cayenne and freeze the Jalapenos whole for storage.