Growing chilli peppers is very easy if you know how to do it right. There are many secrets you can employ to grow chillies. In fact, chilli peppers are one of the best vegetables you can grow in Malaysia thanks to the hot weather. Remember the hotter the growing conditions, the hotter and spicy the chilli.
Many gardeners would stress the chilli plants, which causes the plant’s natural defences to emerge and become spicier.
Depending upon the amount of capsaicin, the pepper has different levels of heat. Chillies such as bells, pepperoncini, and paprika have a mild flavor and are low on the Scoville index. The hottest are jalapeño, habanero, and ancho peppers.
Four Steps For Growing Peppers
1. Choose The Right Variety
If you want hot and spicy chilli peppers, you need to choose the right variety. Keep in mind that the hottest types need humid and hot conditions, ideal for growing in Malaysia.
You can grow peppers from seeds. Keep in mind that you’ll get many chillies from a couple of plants.
2. Start Indoors
It’s a wise idea to start hot pepper seeds indoors. Sow seeds in pots eight to ten weeks before the expected outdoor planting date. Sow them around 1 centimeters deep. Keep in mind that super-hot peppers can take several months to germinate, so be patient and always check to see if roots are emerging from the seeds.
Growing chilli peppers seeds in Malaysia can be done almost all year round as the seeds require warm temperatures between 21 to 27° Celsius to germinate. If you wish, you can use a warming mat.
3. Choose A Sunny Spot
It’s essential to provide at least sixteen hours of light each day as the seedlings grow. Place your pots near a bright, south-facing window. If there’s not enough sun, you can place the plants under grow lights.
When you grow them outside, give the plants a warm, bright, sheltered area.
Please note that even though peppers like consistent moisture, you want to avoid wet soil—water when the soil is dry to the touch. Make sure to apply fertilizers every seven to ten days to encourage healthy growth.
When growing chilli plants, make sure to space them 60 to 90 centimeters apart. Remember to insert support as pepper plants are fragile and can break easily, especially when the branches are heavy with fruits.
4. Distress Plants
If you want hotter and spicier chilli peppers, you need to increase the amount of capsaicin. The best way to increase capsaicin is by distressing the plant by separating stems, leaves, and fruit immediately as the fruit starts to grow. This impersonates the damage caused by animals resulting in hotter chillies.
You can also put the plant under stress by not feeding plants. When you don’t give chilli fertilizer, it results in a weaker plant, but it will increase capsaicin production for hotter peppers.
How To Care For Chilli Peppers
Please note that the most common pests of hot peppers include:
⦁ Flea beetles
When the plants are young, the most common problems are slugs and cutworms and as they grow, aphids, and flea beetles. It’s not recommended to use insecticides in your vegetable garden. Try to handpick slugs, use a collar to stop cutworms, and hose off aphids and flea beetles when seen.
Besides pests, chilli peppers are also prone to diseases. It’s crucial to maintain proper spacing and to water to prevent chilli peppers’ disease. Make sure to always water the soil, not the foliage.
It’s a wise idea to grow disease-resistant varieties and do good crop rotation.
You know it’s time to harvest hot peppers when they’ve turned to their mature colour. The colour depends on the type and variety. Usually, it takes about 65 to 95 days from transplanting to harvest.
Always be careful when harvesting hot peppers. Never touch your eyes after picking peppers, especially if they’re super-hot types. It’s a terrific idea to wear gloves and use garden shear to cut the plant’s peppers.
Store your peppers in a cool place or freeze, dry, or dehydrate them for future meals.
To growing chilli peppers the easiest way, simply follow the tips above. Malaysia is perfect for growing hot chilli types. Remember to start indoors and be patient. Chilli peppers are nutritious and have many benefits. They strengthen the connection between brain cells so it’s great to eat them often.
Happy planting and eating!