Crossing/Breeding chillis

There are 1000’s of varieties of chillis available, and a great portion of these, are Hybrids,…. which means Two varieties have cross pollinated.
This happens quite naturally most of the time, through natural movement of the plants, or via insect pollination. However, a lot of the time, it is done on purpose by the grower, who will take Two varieties of chilli……. with qualities they would like to have in One chilli, and cross-pollinate them by hand, before they get chance to pollinate naturally.
Here I am going to show you how to create your own crosses (Hybrids).

Now my photography skills are not very good, especially for close-ups ! Therefore, I’m very grateful to for kindly allowing me to use some of his photographs.

Before we begin, here is the anatomy of a flower:

Photo’s courtesy of



a. petals
b. stigma
c. pistil
d. stamens
e. blossom end
f. calyx



The first thing to do, is obviously choose the varieties you want to attempt to cross.Always choose strong healthy plants, and try to pick varieties where the pods are very different to each other. This will make it easier to see if the cross has been succesful.The flower you choose to take pollen from, will be the male, and the flower you pollinate…. ( emasculate is the correct term ), will be the female.The female flower must be closed, to ensure it hasn’t already been pollinated.

Next, using a pair of tweezers, very carefully remove the petals from the female flower:

















You should then be left withsomething like this:









The next thing to carefully do, again using tweezers, is to remove all the stamens.










Now it’s time to collect some pollen from the male plant, one of the best way’s to do this, is using a cotton bud.










Then transfer the pollen carefully to the stigma of the pistil, on the female flower…..Warning !! this must be done very gently, as the pistil is easy to break.

It’s a good idea to do this on a number of flowers on the plant, in case the cross doesn’t take.










The last thing to do, is to clearly label them, with type1 being the male, and Type 2 being the female.

labelled (1)









If the cross has failed, then the flower will drop off. However, if it goes on to produce a pod, then you know the cross has worked.

Save the seeds from any succesful pods, and when these are germinated and grown, you will be able to see the result of your cross !!
So have a go yourself…… it is fun and exciting to see the resulting pods !!

Once again, I would like to say a huge thanks to for allowing me to use his photo’s. Pop over to his site, for more information, and have a look at his range of projects, and seeds.

Next weekend I’ll be at  The upton Cheyney Chilli & Cider Festival, along with the CGUK crew, and I’ll be doing a write up on the event shortly after……… stop and say hello if you see us.

iggy :-)

I’m Back !!!!

Yes folks….I’m back……. I apologise for my temporary disappearance, but I had some things going on, that prevented me from having the time to sit down and write. However, hopefully I can now keep the blog updated from now on.
So….just a quick update………Last season was an excellent one for me….all my plants stayed healthy, and produced loads of pods. Regular readers may remember, that I decided to use Tomorite only for feeding last year, and I have to say, I was very pleased with the results. Now I don’t believe for one moment it was this alone, as the weather was very kind and I didn’t have many slugs & bugs to fight against. But I do know, that by using Tomorite I raised loads of healthy plants…and saved a small fortune !!!
I think one of the best choices I made, was to convert one of my Quadgrow’s into a Wilma system…..the plants really took off once it was set up, and produced loads more pods than the one’s in the other Quadgrows.
The upshot of last season, is that I got to eat loads of fresh hotties, and had around 10 kilo of frozen, plus 3 containers of dried pods….along with plenty of powder & flakes, to keep me going.
I would say the top 3 producers last season were, Fatalli….Morouga…..and the Carolina Reaper, which started a bit slow, but was soon turning out heaps of pods.

So…. on to this season, and again I’m mostly using Tomorite, along with Greenhouse Sensations Nutrigrow in the Hydro equipment. The first thing I’ve decided from this season, is that I’m going to be changing my sowing date.
I’ve sown my new seeds on Halloween Night for years, and then grown the young plants on under lights. However, I lost a couple of trays of seedlings, due to overcrowding in the light boxes. To be honest, the plants from the second sowing, around New years Day, soon caught up, and even overtook the earlier sown plants, producing healthier, stronger plants. So I’ll be sowing my main crop later for next season too.

Anyway….. apart that little hiccup, this year has gone really well. I moved all the plants out into the greenhouses around April, and gave a load away, as I had too many. What I kept have all produced pods, which is the whole idea of growing chilli plants !!! The feeding has been once a week with Tomorite for the plants in compost, and again I can’t fault the results.
One thing I tried this year, was growing some of the wild varieties, as I’ve never grown them before, and I’ve decided they’re not for me. I know some chilli growers love growing wilds, but I found they took up a lot of room for something that I’m not going to eat/use regular. So those plants have been moved outside, and are going really well.
All the plants are having a regular trim, removing bigger, lower or damaged leaves. This aids airflow through the plants, and lets the plant put more energy into podding.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get to any shows/festivals this year, but I’m really looking forward to meeting up with the CGUK guys at Upton Cheyney Chilli & Cider Festival at the end of August !!
Well………that’s enough from me for now, I’ll try and be more specific in the next article. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments….just let me know……Here are a few pics too.
Thanks for reading.

iggy :-)

Scotch Bonnet
Scotch Bonnet
Jay’s Peach Scorpion
Jay's Peach Scorpion
Bubblegum 7 pot
Bubblegum 7 pot_1

Bubblegum 7 Pot
Alberto’s Locoto
Alberto's Locoto
Aji Fantasy
Aji Fantasy

Guest Blogger….

I read loads of blogs, covering many different subjects. Most of them are chilli related or cover gardening in general.
One blog I go back to time after time is The Forget-me-Not Cultivation Blog written by a lady called Sophie Cussen. This lady really knows her stuff around the garden, and her blog is very well written, very informative and contains just enough humour to make it an enjoyable read.
So I was over the moon when Sophie agreed to write an article for my blog, have a read through and I hope you enjoy it….. and please make time to have a read of her blog The Forget-me-Not Cultivation Blog I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

iggy :-)

Where are all the female chilli growers?

By Sophie Cussen – The Forget-me-not Cultivation Blog

I am a huge fan of Iggy’s blog and was really rather chuffed when he asked me to write a post for his blog. So as I pondered about what I’d write a thought came to me – why do men mostly grow chillies?

No, don’t worry this isn’t going to be any sort of feminist rant.

I’m just really curious to see how of all the plant types that can be grown in the world the chilli plant is most noticeably grown by men.

Is this because chillies = hot = eating the hottest food imaginable? Or is i just that chillies are a ‘cool’ plant to grow in the garden?

Undoubtedly if chillies represented grooming products they would be the shaving foam of the shelf. Stood there all red and green, showing full strength and vitality!

Chillies, having a variety of heat strengths mean there is always room for a little competition with a grower always looking to create the next heat level.

Maybe the attraction is that unlike other plants chillies can be grown indoors, or hydroponically meaning gadgets and technical DIY projects galore.

It’s all appears rather very manly-esk and challenging, and in some cases quite competitive (looking at some of the chilli testers on YouTube).

This is probably one of the reasons I like chillies myself, it’s not the normal placid flower or safe herb. It’s a plant that says grow me if you can and then just try and see what happens when you eat me!

Even in the media chillies, and food with chillies in have been predominantly eaten by men. Look at Scooby Doo and Shaggy. They can eat their body weight in chillies and still come back for seconds. I don’t think Daphne ever touches a chilli – ever!

So do you need to be a man to grow chillies? No, I think not. I’ve been growing chillies for about four years now. I dabbled in growing sweet peppers before that and to be quite honest I didn’t even like hot food.

Every time I had a curry I’d opt for a standard korma and as for chilli con-carne, well I used to avoid it like the plague.

Now, four years later not only would I eat a hot curry every night if I could but I actively cook with chillies and pour hot sauce over everything from boiled potatoes to vegetable stew. While the strength of the heat plays some part, any chilli connoisseur will tell you it’s as much about the flavour of the chilli and the source as it is about the heat.

Sure watching people eat hot chillies is rather amusing, especially when these big tough, muscle bound guys stand there declaring that they don’t even need milk on standby before taking a huge chunk of a Ghost chilli are found to be quite meek and mild within five minutes and crying out in pain in another ten minutes (you mean you haven’t seen this video? It’s hilarious).

So to anyone (not just women) thinking of having a go growing chillies I’d say go for it. They are no more difficult than growing tomatoes or dahlias from seed. Like fuchsias there are literally hundreds of varieties to grow ranging from the very small compact plants like the prairie fire to the rather large like the tabasco. All pods can be used in cooking, stored and preserved and I have to say some of the plants grow flowers that are really very pretty in their own right.

One other thing to remember about chilli growing. I’ve found growers to be the most helpful, most informative guys around. If I need to know what I should feed, when I should feed, what to do with dropping flowers, or what varieties to grow the community (of which there is a very large crowd) help me every time. Iggy’s blog is very much a casing point.

Quadgrow To Wilma Conversion…….

This is something I decided to do a while back, convert one of my Quadgrows into a 4 pot Wilma system. I was going to wait until the end of the growing season to do it, ready for next season….. however, I bought the bits I needed, and went ahead and did it today :-)

The “bits” included, a pump, some pipe 2mm & 13 mm, two nipple connectors, stop end and fast flow drippers and a bag of clay pellets.


The first job, was to take the plants out of the Quadgrow, and wash the roots off in warm water.


Next I fitted the pump into the reservoir and joined all the pipe work up, filled the reservoir with 30 litres of water with nutrients added and tested the drippers.


When I was happy it was running correctly with no leaks, I washed the clay pebbles, filled the pots and put the plants back in.


It works a treat ! And it should improve the plants and therefore produce more pods….hopefully !

The good thing is, I haven’t actually altered the design in any way, so still have a fully functional Quadgrow if ever I want to change back ;-)
I’ve also decided to convert the other Quadgrows at the end of the season….can’t wait !


Liquid Gold….

A couple of weeks ago, a few of my plants were looking like they needed a little extra nutrition. Instead of racing off to the garden centre and spending even more hard earned cash, I decided to use something I tried a few years ago…. Liqud Gold….. yes folks… URINE !!!

Liquid Gold

I know a few of you will think Yuk ! That’s gross !!! However, we have all used horse manure, bat poo & chicken poo in the past without a second thought.
Human urine is absolutely sterile when it leaves the body and therefore free from bacteria,in fact it’s so sterile that it can be drunk when fresh, and makes a very good fertiliser, urine is one of the fastest-acting, most excellent sources of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and trace elements for plants. It does need diluting at a ratio of about 10:1, i.e 10 parts water to 1 part urine, otherwise it would burn the roots of your plants.
SO I fed it to the plants a few times, and the new growth is coming through lovely, as you can see in these Two pics:
7 pot Brain
7pot Brain

That aside, everything else is going pretty much to plan with the plants, they have all had a good trim to thin out the foliage, they are being fed weekly with Tomorite and most of them are carrying their first small pods. These pods may be small, but they still have terrific heat and once they are picked, the plants should produce proper sized pods.
All in all Im happy with their progress, and it is only June so there’s still plenty of time for them to grow dozens of pods…..hopefully !! All we need now is some sunshine ;-)

Also as an udate…. my 2 year old Orange Hab Bonchi has quite a few pods on it, curiously…last year it produced 3 full sized pods, and this year it has produced so far 7 smaller pods:


Anyway….here’s a few pics of some of the plants for you to look at, any questions….get in touch.
4 pot wilma

7 pot barrackpore

Carolina Reaper


Thanks for reading :-)