Chillies, ripe and green
Chillies, ripe and green

We didn’t set out to grow chillies but we do it anyway. The bush just appeared in the garden, perhaps a year ago, weaving its way up through a hibiscus bush. It must have grown from seed, either from our compost like the tomatoes or from bird droppings. We didn’t even notice it until the first fruit began to ripen but when they did, we thought we might as well leave the bush alone for the odd occasion we want one in our evening meal.

When we tried them, we found they were pretty powerful, at least by our standards: one chilli makes a dish for six people hot enough that at least one of them will think it is too hot to enjoy.

If you want to know about really hot chillies, try this article from Australian Geographic. Ours are not in their league. If they were, we would have ripped the plant out long ago as a menace to gardeners and small children.

There’s more about chillies and their relations here, on wikipedia. I knew they were originally South American but I had never thought about how and when they became so central to Asian cuisine.


How to make tomatoes at home:

  1. Fill large styrofoam box 2/3 full with well-rotted compost.
  2. Place in sunny position (near swimming pool is ideal).
  3. Add water.
  4. Repeat step 3 daily until the greenery is big enough to identify.
  5. Remove weeds.
  6. Repeat step 3 daily.
  7. Prop up tomato plants as necessary.
  8. Repeat step 3 daily.
  9. Harvest when ripe.
Bowl of mixed tomatoes
Sunday’s harvest

Did I say, “Purchase seedlings,” or, “Plant out seedlings in the box”? No and no. Not necessary – with our compost, anyway. We have known that for years, because tomato seedlings pop up as if by magic in our plant pots and garden beds. We often let them grow wherever they choose to appear; this time we simply encouraged them.

Did I mention pesticides? No. We didn’t even need to think about using any.

Varieties? We always get cherry tomatoes, and did this time as well (there is one in the bowl although it’s a bit hard to see) but I don’t know why we got so many Roma tomatoes. Perhaps they are better at reproducing from seed than the hybrids.

Cost? $0.00.

Food miles? 0.01 (0.0001 when they are eaten straight from the bush).

And the taste? On a scale of 1 – 10, on which standard shop-bought tomatoes rate 4 – 6, these rate between 9.4 and 10.

Will we do this again? You bet!