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Monday, 22 December 2014

HOME GROWN BIRD'S EYE CHILI (BIRD'S CHILI/CHILI PADI) PLANT

One day while I was weeding the small patch just outside my house, I noticed a baby chili plant among the weeds. Initially, I thought it was just one of the weeds. If I had not taken a closer look I would have pull it out by the root just like any other weed. I was thinking, should I pull it out or just leave it there. If I were to leave it there, the meter man might step on it. The place is already congested and I need to leave a path to allow the water meter man to read the meter. I do not have the heart to pull it out because it looked so healthy. If I want to keep it, I need to relocate this cili plant.

With a spade I carefully dug out the chili plant without breaking any of its roots. I relocated the chili plant nearer to the side of the drain, allowing a walking space for the meter man. I am glad I did not throw this plant away because it has grown into a faithful, fruitful chili plant, non-stop providing chili fruits for my own consumption, and enough to give away to bless my friends.
Chilies harvested from my chili plant

My chili plant is also providing for my garden guests i.e. the birds as well. If I were to allow the fruits to ripen on the plant, the birds will feast on the ripe ones. Just wondering, why the birds love these chilies? Could it be that birds eat these hot chili to sing better? Birds, through their droppings are great agents of chili seeds dispersal.

Chilies come in different sizes, shapes and colours. The length of my chili fruits are about 3/4 inch only. Chilies also come in different degree of pungency of level of heat. Some chilies are mild, some are moderate spicy and some are very, very spicy. The chilies may come from the same tree, yet the degree of pungency may differ from fruit to fruit. The longer the chili fruits are allowed on the plant to ripen to deep red colour, the hotter or spicier they will be. Chilies when green are not as hot or spicy as when they are ripe and red.
Chili plant outside my house.

Chili plants grow well in hot, sunny climate. Chili plants love the sun and well drained garden soil. Chili plants can be grown in pots or in the ground. It is not hardy and does not like too much water. Too much water will damage the plant. If the leaves of the plant started to turn yellow and look droopy, it could be due to too much water or lacking in water. If it is lacking in water, quickly water the plant and it might be restored. But if it is over-watered, especially during wet seasons, the yellow leaves will drop off and the plant might not be saved. Pale yellow leaves could also mean that it needs fertilizer.

Chili plants can be trimmed, if done right. New shoots will come forth and bear more fruits. It also needs regular fertilizing.
Chilies ready for harvest.

Chili plant may encounters some pest problem. One is the mealy bugs, a white powdery pest that sucks the sap from the plant and may destroy the plant. Another pest will cause the young leaves or shoots to curl and shrivel up. In its initial stage, just nip off the affected part and discard it.

I have experienced both problems affecting my chili plants. I have to keep my eyes open especially for these two problems. If I see some sign of the mealy bugs attack, I will start my war against them. My weapon is my garden hose and water. Aim and spray or blast the affected parts of plant with water. Do this for a few days till the plant is clear of all these powdery pest. I do this for my other garden plants too. So far so good for me, this method is quite successful. Or I can opt for another method: mix 1 part of dish washing liquid with equal part of water and spray solution at the affected area. I still prefer the simplest, easiest method i.e. take the hose, turn on the tap and blast!
Chili plant about 100 cm (about 3 feet) tall.

Storing excess chilies:
  • Store freshly picked chilies in the fridge, wrap them with paper, it can keep for a few weeks.
  • Dry them thoroughly and keep them as dried chilies.
  • Blend them together with seeds, mix with salt and good quality oil and store in bottles.
  • Fill a bottle with good quality oil, soaked the cleaned, dried, whole chilies in the oil, and by about 5-6 months, you will have your own chili oil
  • Another option is deep freeze the chili, but when the chilies are defrosted, it will be soft and have to be used immediately.

Some chilies for making dipping sauce.

Whole part of a chili fruit is edible. Must practice caution when handling chilies with bare hands or fingers, remember not to touch sensitive parts of our body, especially the eyes.

To grow hot, spicy chilies, choose seeds from the hot, spicy variety.
New baby chili plant growing in a pot.

Chilies are used in culinary cuisines all over the world by all people group.

Here are some of the ways I usually use my chilies:
(Just to share a few, though the list is endless)
  • Dipping sauce:
    • Finely cut chilies in soy sauce
    • Blend or pound chilies with shrimp paste
    • Blend or pound chilies with garlic, ginger and add a bit of vinegar, sugar and pinch of salt to individual taste
    • Finely cut chilies mixed with finely sliced shallots, vinegar, sugar and pinch of salt to individual taste
  • As an ingredient in:
    • Sambal belacan (pound or blend chilies, dried shrimp, shrimp paste, shallots)
    • Dishes
    • Salads
    • Garnishing
    • Pickles
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life.

He who comes to me will never go hungry,

and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

(John 6:35, NIV)

16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Claire, Passion and joy to see them grow.

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  2. Dear Nancy,

    I love the Scripture verse at the end of your post, and your photos are so beautiful! I really like the way you have displayed the chilies on the plate, it is very appealing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Linda, I am so encouraged.

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  3. They are abundant! So what will you make with them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Share with my chili loving friends or I will make dried chilies.

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  4. Replies
    1. You are most welcome, I just follow simple steps only.

      Delete
  5. Hi Nancy,

    We have grown bird eye chilies at our place but the plants died after 2 fruiting seasons.... hmmm and so we stopped growing chilies this year.

    Wish that I have chilies plants like yours.

    Merry Christmas and Happy 2015 to you and family! Love to learn more tips and planting knowledge from you next year :D

    Zoe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Zoe, wishing you Merry Christmas & Happy New Year too.

      Delete
  6. Nancy, your cili plant is doing so well! Mine is fruiting too but some still fall off before they fully develop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes my chili plants also do not do well.

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  7. I have a few plants in my garden but each time the birds will eat them before I have the chance to pluck them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same with my plants too, I have to get up early to harvest before the birds get to them

      Delete
  8. I heard it is very difficult to grown this chili and the government is encouraging people to grow this commercially by giving out subsidies and grants for anyone who is interested.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see, I am sure the people will be encouraged with the subsidies and grants. The season now is rainy and I hope my chili plants will not be badly affected by too much water.

      Delete

Thank you for your visits and encouraging comments. They are greatly appreciated. Have a beautiful day.

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