Spice things up with your own chillies

With "growing your own" fever sweeping the nation as Britain awaits the official confirmation of a recession, dont be fooled into thinking that subsistence gardening can only provide you with old fashioned WW2 staples like potatoes and carrots.

Gardeners can still show a bit of flare in the kitchen by growing some more exotic varieties to spice things up a little.

Chillies are grown in a similar way to tomatoes but are actually even easier to grow.

They produce the best yields when grown under glass and should be sown between February and April at temperatures between 18-21 degrees in pots of compost.

Once two leaves have formed, the plants should be moved into five inch pots.

As the ideal sowing period has passed this year, young plants can be purchased from garden centres.

A good plan to prevent red spider mite infestation is to mist the plants with tepid water on a regular basis; this will also encourage the flowers to set.

Replant into larger pots and stake and tie as the plants grow, being sure to water them regularly and feed them with a high potash liquid fertiliser once the first fruit has set.

Finally, when the fruit is green and glossy it is ready to be picked but those who prefer can wait until it turns red, although this can reduce the yield potential of the plant.