I don't like chillies, I don't like spicy food but my husband does. So, when we had put all the perspex into the greenhouse and installed the tomato plants, I decided to have a look at the local garden centre to see what we could do for a hot chillie plant.
About 20 minutes away is a Garden Centre called Dobbies. It's my kind of garden centre - clean. A huge selection of plants and paraphanalia to make gardening enjoyable and a great coffee bar as well. It's part of a chain and I'd never heard of them until a work colleague told me of our local one during a discussion about coffee.
It's almost as if they have taken over in the few years we lived in Spain.
So a few weeks ago we took a drive over to Dobbies to look at pre-grown pepper plants.
I have previously tried growing things from seed but I've always failed at the second hurdle - transplanting them into larger pots. They always seem to give up. We found several good-sized pepper plants but were dis-appointed to find they were bell-peppers rather than chillie peppers. It wasn't really what we wanted but decided we would chat about it over a cup of coffee.
This all happened on the weekend after Neil had pulled his back so, I left him in the coffee shop while I went for a 2nd look at the pepper plants. There, right in the middle of them I found a chillie pepper plant with a number of flowers on and several peppers already growing. It was reduced to half-price and so it wasn't a huge decision to buy it.
And so, over the last few weeks I have lovingly cared for it, along with the tomato plants of course, and finally the love & care have paid off. The peppers have started to ripen and turn a lovely orangey/red.
Yesterday, I decided one was big enough to pick. I brought it in for Neil's judgement on the flavour. And apparently, it passed.
It's a real, home grown red hot chillie pepper!
All we have to do now is wait and see whether the tomato plants are going to ripen as well. Otherwise, we'll be having a lot of green tomato chutney this winter!