Chili peppers are widely used in many cuisines as a spice, precisely to add ‘heat’ to dishes.
Chili peppers are a variety of the plants from the genus capsicum, which are members of nightshade family Solanaceae, which are cultivated for their pungency.
According to healthline.com, chili peppers are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitami K1, Vitamin A and minerals such as Potassium and Copper.
The following are instruction on how to plant chili at home. The instructions are as given by Patrick Kimani, a farmer from Kirinyaga.
Choose a variety
Chili varieties in Kenya include Cayenne Pepper, Bird Eye, Jalapeno, Serenade, Habareno, among others.
Chili seeds, Paper towels, Container and Soil.
Get chili seeds from notable and approved outlets such as Kenya Seed Company or Simlaw Seeds.
If you are not able to get a packet of chili seeds, take your favourite chili pepper, slice it and remove all the seeds, spread them on the paper towel and allow them to dry for two to three days.
NOTE: wear gloves while handling chilies and the seeds. Avoid contact with eyes, face and sensitive skin and remember to wash your hands afterwards.
Preparing the seeds and planting
After drying for two or three days, wet them nicely and plant them in soil at a depth of two to three centimetres. The seeds will germinate in about a week.
Water on alternate days to keep the soil moist and the plant should not be exposed to harsh sunlight or strong winds. The plants however need four to six hours of sunlight.
Add compost to the soil to give it a good mix.
When the plant gets to about eight to ten inches in height, small buds will emerge which will soon blossom into cute little white flowers about a month after planting.
The flowers will remain in the plant for about a week to 10 days then fall off, then soon you will see a little chili emerging in its place.
Regularly water and nourish the plant and the chilies will grow bigger and bigger. The bigger they are the more potent their spiciness is.
Once the chili is about five to seven centimetres, long you can pluck it to cook with it. However, if you want it to be spicier you can leave it on the plant itself. If you leave them long enough on the plant, the green chili peppers will eventually turn red. The redder it gets, the hotter it the chili is!