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Growing super hot chillies

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Trinidad Moruga Scorpion seed sown, January 7
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion seed sown, January 7

Get sowing in heat in January

I’m no lover of hot chillies but my stepson Ali must have no tastebuds left. He is obsessed and his fiery culinary creations have been known to make his friends cry and ruin their digestive tracts.

(I must point out he is a grown up, they are also consenting adults and is not feeding six-year-old classmates Naga chillies for fun.)

The heat is on

He claims his flat’s weekly ingestion of chillies:

  • Occasionally exceeds 100 (for three of them);
  • An average chilli/fajita/stir fry contains 30-40 ‘small ones’;
  • This is not including loads of chilli flakes and powder;
  • And when they want ‘a real bastard’ they add Psycho Drops, a one million SHU (500 times stronger than Tabasco) capsaicin extract.

I’ve grown the very tame but nice Loco before – see here but for Christmas thought I’d push him to his limit by attempting to grow Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (Plant World Seeds, £3.15) from seed.

It has an enormous Scoville rating of between 1,200,000 to 2,000,000 SHU. The fruit produced are quite small and lumpy, maturing from lime green to bright red. Once you get past the burn, they have a pleasant fruity flavour.

Makeshift bubble wrap bag will keep the heat in until the real cover turns up
Makeshift bubble wrap bag will keep the heat in until the real cover turns up

Potted guide: Germinating super hot chillies

  • Super hot chillies need a long season to mature, so surface sow in January (save half your seeds so you have time for another go in February if the first lot fail).
  • They also need a great deal of heat to germinate, so thank goodness for the BioGreen propagator – you need a bottom heat of between 27ºC-32ºC, 24 hours a day.
  • Once the seedlings are established, they can be moved to a sunny windowsill.
  • Annoyingly, I couldn’t find the lid, so I rigged up a half-arsed replacement with two small lids and a bag of bubble wrap. It’ll do the job.
  • Also, wash your hands well after touching the seeds and avoid your eyes!

We’ll see how they get on…

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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