Pepper Growing Guides

A series of guides covering everything from the germination of your pepper plants to the various ways you can preserve and store your chile pods.

Beginner Guide

[read beginner's guide]
This guide is aimed at anyone who has hit on the idea that it would be fun to grow chile peppers. You haven't grown them before, perhaps you haven't really grown anything before. Research on the internet leaves you completely overwhelmed by the advice and information.

Seed Starting Guide

[read starting seeds guide]
Healthy seeds are dormant living things. To get the most from your seeds it is helpful to understand a little about their needs. This chileman's guide focuses on starting chile seeds and in particular on four of the most basic variables that are required need to be in place to encourage seeds to break their dormancy.

Fertilizer Guide

[read fertilizer guide]
You have successfully germinated your seeds and you are looking at a batch of tiny seedlings. How do you now change those delicate little plants into the big and bushy capsicum plants, heavily laden with pods? The short answer is that you need to make sure the plants get their nutrients.

Organic Control of Slugs & Snails Guide

[read slugs & snails guide]
More and more, people are becoming aware of their environment and the need to adopt natural and sustainable practices. So, what if you are plagued by slugs and want to try a different technique rather than reaching for the poisonous bait? This guide written by Tony Ford describes techniques used to control one of the most common and hated pest in the garden.

Hydroponics Guide

[read hydro guide]
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a water-based plant food (nutrient) solution without soil. Hydroponics has two common associations, complexity and cost. In this excellent guide written for thechileman.org, Tony Ford describes and illustrates the simple principles involved in hydroponics and how great results can be achieved at low cost using DIY systems.

Countries of Origin Guide

[read origin guide]
So where do chile peppers come from? For hundreds of years most Europeans believed that chile peppers came from India or the Far East. Probably because Columbus sailed into the Caribbean, found some peppers belonging to the native people, and thought he was somewhere near India. In fact there is strong evidence that capsicums originally spread from South America where they were first cultivated perhaps as early as 5000BC.

Chilli Heat Guide

[read chile heat guide] Most chileheads know that a chemical called Capsaicin is what gives Chiles their heat. But what is it and where does it come from? Why can some people eat hot habanero's with ease, yet others break out in a sweat at the mere thought? Is the Red Savina really the world's hottest Chile or is it the Naga Morich?.

Pod Variation Guide

[read pod variation guide]
All chile peppers are long red, thin and blisteringly hot right? Well you couldn't be further for the truth. The Capsicum genus is one of the most diverse fruit (berry) species with pods coming in also sorts of colours, shapes and sizes.

Species Guide

[read species guide]
Capsicum terminology is very confusing with Pepper, chilli, chile, chili, aji, paprika and capsicum all used interchangeably to describe the plants and pods of the genus Capsicum. It is believed Chiles were first cultivated by the people of Central and South America in around 7000BC and there are now a bewildering range of over 3000 known varieties ranging from the mildest bell pepper to the fiery hot habanero.

Pests & Diseases Guide

[read pests & diseases guide]
So, you've bought (or saved) your seeds, carefully planted them and provided the optimum growing conditions. However danger lurks in every corner of the garden bringing death and destruction to your beloved chile plants. Learn to read the danger signs.

Seed Saving Guide

[read seed saving guide]
These glorious plants produce a fabulous range of chile peppers, which come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, colours, tastes, and heat levels. The chile peppers, if harvested correctly, are a source of viable seed. This seed can be saved, and stored, in order to produce 'free' plants from your favourite varieties. This chileman's guide attempts to provide guidance on how to identify the best pods for obtaining viable seed as well as highlighting some of the problems and pitfalls that can affect seed viability and quality.

Seed Banks and Research Institutions

[read seed banks guide]
There are many Germplasm systems and seed banks around the world dedicated to researching and maintaining the seed diversify of the Capsicum species. Each institution use their own mnemonics and numbering systems rather than common names thereby further confusing the process of classify unique chile varieties. This chileman's guide gives you a broad overview of some of the better known institutions and their numbering systems. In the chileman database, we have by tried to reduce listing duplicate varieties by quoting the various identifier next to common names where known.

Overwintering Guide

[read over wintering guide]
Contrary to popular belief chile pepper plants are perennials and can grow for many years if over wintered successfully. Over wintered plants can give you a great head start for a new growing season, as mature plants will quickly produce flower sets and very early crops in year 2.