Why do you want to grow red hot chilli peppers?
That question was posed by a seasoned garden club member last week when I informed an audience that I’d ordered some young plants in 9cm pots and eagerly anticipated their mid-May arrival.
A similar question was thrown at me two years ago when I sat, as part of an open-air gathering, listening to a chilli grower from the Isle of Wight.
The setting was the Eden Project in Cornwall, and the speaker had asked people in the audience to name a chilli pepper cultivar they grew and which part of the country they were from.
Hand pointing skywards in true classroom tradition, when prompted, I responded: “Bhut jolokia in Northumberland.”
“Why on earth do you grow something that hot, especially so far north?” he asked.
My response was the same as at last week’s garden club – because I relish the challenge.
To stand any chance of having a decent crop of the really hot chilli peppers, which are preferably grown in large pots on the greenhouse bench, you need full light, constant warmth and an early start with seed sowing.
That is why I’ve taken DT Brown, to be found at dtbrownseeds.co.uk, up on their offer of the world’s top three hottest chillies for £14.95.
Trinidad moruga scorpion yellow is the record holder, measuring two million-plus on the Scoville scale.
Dorset naga registers 1.6 million, and bhut jolokia records one million Scoville heat units.
Take great care when cooking. Only add a tiny morsel to begin with.
But if you are looking for a challenge or to bring a little warmth into your gardening life, try growing some red hot chilli peppers.