These plants were gifted to us by our neighbour Anne and we have since shared them with many friends and neighbours at Byabarra. They took a year or two to settle in and have been prolific this year!
They have many names – Bishops Crown or Christmas bell chillies (Capsicum baccatum) and have this year produce masses of brightly red coloured fruit.
Growing – The plants reaches about 1m tall, and flares out 1.5 to 2m so it requires plenty of space. Chillies plants need good draining soil with mulch.
Care – Plant new seedlings every 2 or 3 years to ensure an ongoing supply as they will produce less fruit in their third – fourth year. Keep the plants moist, watering after planting out with a liquid seaweed fertiliser.
Pruning – Prune back one third after fruiting (in Winter) to get a better crop the following year.
Companion Planting – Chives (improve flavour and yield), Basil (Repel’s common pests), Carrots, Onions, Lettuce and Spinach (reduce weeds), Beans, Peas, Tomatoes, Squash, Garlic, Oregano, Dill, Parsley, Marjoram, Rosemary, Marigolds, Nasturtiums all benefit chillies.
Do not grow Fennel, Apricots or Kohlrabi near chillies.
Pests and Diseases – No known pests or diseases.
Harvest – This year we have two plants which have provided at least 80 to 100 peppers per plant. They set late Summer and ripen into early Winter. Honestly once they get going, they just keep on giving and their bright red colour is lovely in our Winter garden.
Propagation – Sow seed in late spring and plant seedlings into a sunny spot sheltered from the wind. Propagate by drying out seeds on a paper towel on the kitchen bench, store in a cool dry place in a paper bag until Spring. Soil temperature needs to be above about 27 degrees for seeds to germinate.
Health Benefits – Chilli’s have many health benefits
Eating – They are quite mild which makes them very versatile when cooking. We use them fresh in a variety of meals including salads, salsa, nachos and burritos.
You can remove the seeds (which do hold a little heat) and cut them finely with a clove of garlic and add it to roast veggies with cous cous, mash potatoe or rice.
Cheese stuffed bell pepper recipe
• 650 grams bell peppers (remove tops and seeds) place on baking paper in oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.
• Mix 180 gms goat, feta or cream cheese with finely chopped fresh herbs (dill, parsley or basil), and 2 cloves of garlic.
• Fill each pepper with cheese mixture and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.