Frosts Millets farm chilli fiesta

30th August  – 31st August 2014, Millets Farm Centre & Frosts Garden Centre, Kingston Road, Frilford, Oxfordshire, OX13 5HB

Whether you like it ‘meek & mild’ or ‘hot & spicy’, Frosts have a sizzling weekend lined up for you! 

Join us on this weekend for our free Chilli Festival at Millets Farm Centre in Oxfordshire, which promises to be bigger and better than ever before…with exhibitors from around the country, traditional Mexican live music, live cooking demonstrations, tastings galore and don’t forget plenty of chilli plants to admire and buy – last year we grew over 4,000 plants and 15 varieties including the Bhut Jolokia, Dorset Naga & Trinidad Scorpion. 

Now in it’s third year and regularly visited by over 8,000 people – over the course of a weekend the people of Oxford and the surrounding areas really do enjoy a free ‘festival of fire’!

Exhibitors will be bringing chilli inspired products from the UK and around the world to tantalise and tempt you! We will have the amazing talented Mexican mariachi band – ‘Mariachi el Mexicano’ to entertain you over the weekend. With live chilli cooking demonstrations, expert growing advice and floral displays there will be something for everyone. Not only is it FREE to attend but so is the parking!

To keep up to date with suppliers attending, see photos from previous years or details of this years Chilli Festival or if you have an interest in Chilies join us on our dedicated Facebook page - Like Facebook Page.


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 Fatalii.net for kindly allowing me to use some of his photographs.

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

Photo’s courtesy of Fatalii.net

split_flower

 

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:

01_flower_bud1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02_removing_corallas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You should then be left withsomething like this:

04_corollas_removed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

05_demasculating1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

07_pollen_from_stamens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

08_pollen2pistil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Fatalii.net 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 :-)



Frosts woburn sands chilli festival 23-25th August

23rd August  – 25th August 2014, Frosts at Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK17 8UE

Whether you like it ‘meek & mild’ or ‘hot & spicy’, Frosts have a sizzling bank holiday weekend lined up for you! 

Join us on this Bank Holiday at Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes for our 5th Chilli Festival, which promises to be bigger and better than ever before…with exhibitors from around the country, traditional Mexican live music, live cooking demonstrations, tastings galore and don’t forget plenty of chilli plants to admire and buy – this year we have grown 3,500 plants and 28 varieties – including Morouga Red, Shabu Shabu, Brain Strain, Naga Morica, Bhut Jolokia & Cornish Naga!

    • Different, live music and entertainment throughout every day – like never before!

 

    •  25+ Exhibitors selling a huge variety of chilli and non-chilli related products

 

    •  25+ Varieties of chilli plants including Bhut Jolokia, Trinidad Scorpion, Morouga Red, Cornish Naga, Brain Strain & Scotch Bonnet.

 

  •  A vast selection of hot foods and cold drinks served from our own dedicated food stalls and bar.
    •  Chilli Eating Competition - Can you stand the heat? Well if you can, you need to enter our chilli eating competition (A Semi-Final on Saturday and Sunday followed by the final on Monday)! With prizes for everyone who completes the challenge!

 

    •  Mexican Fancy Dress Competition - Get in the spirit of things, don’t be shy and show your brightest colours! We will be awarding prizes to the ‘Best Dressed’ every day.

 

    •  Chilli Sauce Making Competition - Calling all amateur chefs, we are looking for the best homemade chilli sauce, chutney, jam, pickle – in Bucks! The winner will scoop a hot £100 in Frosts vouchers and a shiny trophy.

 

Now in it’s fifth year and last visited by over 14,000 people – over the course of three days the people of Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas really do enjoy a ‘festival of fire’!

In order to make the Chilli Festival bigger and better we will be making a small charge of £3 per person this year (FREE to under 16′s and FREE to Frosts Gardening Club Members). Every person attending will receive a packet of Thompson & Morgan Chilli Seeds FREEPurchase tickets here! 

As long as you keep your wristband on you can come back every day without paying again – the entertainment is different each day!

To keep up to date with suppliers attending, see photos from previous years or details of this years Chilli Festival or if you have an interest in Chilies join us on our dedicated Facebook page - Like Facebook Page  or follow us on our dedicated Twitter page -Follow Twitter Page.



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
Jigsaw
Jigsaw
Jay’s Peach Scorpion
Jay's Peach Scorpion
Fatalii
Fatalii
Bubblegum 7 pot
Bubblegum 7 pot_1

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