Unusual Vegetable Plants
Sweet Peppers and Chili Peppers - Capsicums
Sweet Peppers are very closely related to Chili Peppers and grown in exactly the same way. Both can be grown in either pots or grow-bags on the patio, or better still in a greenhouse/conservatory, so that they can have protection from the worst of the weather as they are rather tender. Both also need constant moist conditions, so don't place pots in the sun where they will dry quickly. If you really want to grow Peppers outside in the ground, you will have the best results under large cloches where they will get more warmth and shelter from cold winds and have higher humidity, on the other hand some people seem to do quite well simply growing one or two plants in pots on the kitchen windowsill.
Sweet Peppers are the size of an apple and can be red, yellow or green, with a very mild flavour, whereas Chili Peppers tend to be more the size of a pea pod or baby tomato and usually have a fiery bite. Peppers should be picked as soon as they develop to encourage more to grow, however leaving them on the plant will make Sweet Peppers sweeter and Chili Peppers hotter.
Chili enthusiasts often vie with each other to see who can grow the hottest peppers with varieties often graded as to their fieriness with a rating on the Scoville Heat Units scale, which is the number of times a chili extract must be diluted in sugar syrup for it to lose its heat. Some peppers are rated at a few thousand units and others claim to be rated at up to a million units according to the Guinness Book Of Records. It is best to handle this type of Chili wearing plastic gloves as merely touching the fiery, raw pepper, will spread the effects to anything you touch afterwards, especially your eyes! Not only are Chilis an irritant, but one or two people have actually been known to die from toxic shock brought on by friends challenging each other to chili eating competitions.
One interesting little point is that the fiery Cayenne Pepper is made from ground Chilis, whereas the traditional Chili pepper powder was not.