Capsicum frutescens - Bird Eye
Bird Eye Chilli
Type/Hardiness Perennial, Annual, Vegetable, Tender
Flowering period Summer
Height 18-24in/45-70cm
Light preference Full sun
Soil preference Rich, moist, well-drained
Sowing time/depth January-April, 0.1in/3mm
A small, medium-hot chilli with a thin skin which dries easily, but for fresh chillies all year round, keep a a pot indoors by a warm, sunny window during the winter. Prune the plant in spring to encourage new, bushy growth. It is possible to keep chilli plants for a number of years in this manner. Add finely chopped chillies when you make apple sauce for a zingy accompaniment to cheese and cold meats, or brushed onto raw meat before grilling or roasting. Wash hands thoroughly after handling and avoid touching the eyes!
Sowing and/or growing instructions
Sow individually into small pots or modules, covering with 3mm of compost or vermiculite. Cover with plastic or put in a propagator, aiming to maintain a temperature of 65-72F/18-20C. Seedlings must be kept moist, but not too wet, or they may rot. Feed as you would tomatoes. Chillis can be kept outside during the summer months, but do remember to bring them indoors well before the first frosts if you wish to overwinter them. Harvest the fruits either when they are red and ripe or (particularly at the end of the season) when they are green, to ripen off the plant, using a small pair of scissors. They will dry well if spread out on a tray indoors in a well ventilated area out of direct sunlight, which can bleach the chillies.
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