Dorset used to be known as Enid Blyton's inspiration, rolling countryside and beautiful coastline. However, it is changing with the times and over the last decade Sandbanks in Poole has regularly hit the media as it is the fourth most expensive place to live in the world.
There's also something else that Dorset has become associated with of late, something completely different and a departure from its normal image - the Dorset Naga. A chilli so hot it comes with a health warning when you buy it. And when you do buy a pack but leave them in your bag as you forget about them, pick up the bag weeks later wondering the red mush in it is, then put your fingers in your mouth without washing them, you wish you hadn't. Really wish you hadn't, trust us on this!
The Dorset Naga was developed by Michel and Joy Michaud from seeds of a Naga Morich, a Chilli used a lot by Britain’s Bangladeshi community and bought from a shop in Bournemouth back in 2001. The name Dorset Naga reflects the origin of the Chilli and the fact it was developed in Dorset.
Gardener's World tested the Dorset Naga and got a measurement of 1.6 million SHU, the hottest ever recorded for a Chilli. This Chilli Blog is written in Dorset, so naturally we're going to grow a Dorset Naga plant. In addition we’ll be growing Purple Tiger, Hungarian Wax and Stromboli. They are going to be grown in a 1 metre Bud Box using a 80 cm Parabolic Reflector with Blue 250W Maxibright CFL Lamp. When they are big enough the seedlings will be transferred into Autopots and fed with Chilli Focus.
Firstly add Canna Start to some tepid water at a dilution rate of 1:250. We used 4 ml in 1 litre of water in an old ice cream container. The Jiffy pellets expand to several times their size so we soaked about 10 at a time for 5 minutes, hole side facing upwards.
Using a wooden chopstick the hole was enlarged slightly, a seed inserted then lightly covered. If you wet the end of the chopstick slightly the seed will stick to it and you can avoid having to handle the seed.
Next step is very important - labeling. Do not decide you will be able to remember which variety is in which Jiffy Pellet, you just won’t. Small chilli seedlings look the same and you won’t be able to work out which is which until the plants get bigger.
Place the Jiffy Pellets into a heated propagator and leave until the seeds have germinated. Chilli seeds can take a bit of time to do this so you will need to be a bit patient at this stage.
Meanwhile you can set up your other equipment so it is all ready for the seedlings. We’ll give you instructions on how to do this in next week’s blog.