OK, I grew too many chillies this year, largely to freshen up my five-year old seed stocks of this wonderfully decorative plant. Over-planting works well if the seed viability has dropped, but high viability has the unintended consequence of ‘guilt-planting’ of cute little seedlings that one can’t bear to abandon to the compost heap simply because there are too many of them.
Chillies look great in the garden, but they also look pretty good in the kitchen threaded onto strong cotton and hung up on a curtain wire. Here they can be stored for many months, and taken down as spontaneous gifts for friends who may admire them.
All you need (beside your double-threaded canvas cotton) is an upholsterer’s needle – this is forced through the red body of the chilli just below the green cap, as the latter will rip too easily to sew into. Start with a length of cotton between your outstretched arms, double it over, knot the end, and then sew then tie the first chilli – the rest are just drawn down the string. At the top, tie a couple of knots a few centimetres apart to take the hook. A quiet evening with some reflective background music should see the crop hung up. Save the seeds (as for capsicums) from the best formed ones.