Watering is critical because if chillies wilt, they tend to drop their flowers, and that means no fruit. Picture: Supplied

Growing your own chillies adds that personal touch to the meal. Love is really just a series of small and thoughtful gestures that communicate affection. Here is one loving gesture that will add to your garden and your kitchen. 

To grow your chillies you need:

  • a sunny, sheltered spot
  • rich well-drained soil
  • lots of water

Watering is critical because if chillies wilt, they tend to drop their flowers, and that means no fruit. Feed your plants monthly with any pot plant food, and harvest the chillies when they turn red or yellow. Chillies make beautiful and dainty little tree-like plants. One small tree can offer enormous harvests, for its size.

If planted in pots, use the normal commercially available potting soil. Pots should not be smaller than 20cm in diameter, bigger is better. Water daily, especially those in pots, and when it is very hot, this can be increased to twice a day.

Chillies do not grow well indoors because they need to be pollinated by bees and other insects. It’s better to bring a pot indoors for a special occasion and then take it out afterward.

Compact varieties like Fiesta, Aquille or Habanero make cheerful container plants or decorative borders. Larger varieties like Jalapeno, Fresno, and Serenade, add colour to herb and veggie gardens.  

Combo pots for bountiful harvests and oodles of love

Think about the herbs you use in your favourite dishes, and plant up your herb pot accordingly. A love garden communicates your affection for your partner, it requires daily tending and care. 

One example of a love garden, or a combo pot, is a Tangy Thai pot. It has one or more chillies as the main plants alongside Vietnamese coriander, lemongrass and lots of garlic chives for a wild combination. Plant them in an old drum, bucket or steel dustbin and paint it silver if it needs a bit of sprucing up!

For more information on bringing Life to your Garden, visit www.lifeisagarden.co.za or join the conversation on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lifeisagardensa.