The Chilli Challenge

We challenged growers to see how many chillies they could grow on a Dorset Naga plant

To show what could be done we (brashly) claimed we could grow a plant with over 1,000 red chillies

The seed was sown in mid January. On 9th November we picked the chillies off the 11-month old plant

Large Dorset Naga plant the 1407th chilli

And the result...

2,407 red chillies

were picked off one Dorset Naga plant


However, we did grow three Dorset Naga plants.

Here are the details:

The growing

A branch of Dorset Naga loaded with ripe chillies Three giant Dorset Naga plants

We grew three large plants; one in a 160 litre pot (which got the nickname "Nigel"), the other two in 100 litre pots. The plants were sown around 20th January 2013; and pricked out into 1 litre pots in February. They were kept in a heated greenhouse until the end of April, and then in an unheated polytunnel for the rest of the year. In May they were repotted into the large pots. The compost was mostly peat-free municipal compost, but we did use up old bags of other multipurpose compost. Dried chicken manure pellets was mixed into the compost.

The plants were well watered throughout the season. Miracle Gro fertiliser was added very dilute normally about two or three times a week. In June the plants suffered a bad aphid infestation. Control was by washing plants down regularly, and the release of natural predators.


The picking and the count

The whole team picking and counting

On 9th November the lads from Clifton Chilli Club – Chilli Dave, Jim Booth and NickLump BurChilli – arrived to do the official count, along with Matt from Simpsons Seeds who very kindly came to help pick.



The picking Team

We also had Jack, Jason and Matt our regular Saturday workers there to do the picking.

Picking the Dorset Naga plant

Picking the Dorset Naga plants      

Counting the Dorset Naga Chillies

The Clifton lads doing the chilli count

The results

And the final result were


Plant 1 ("Nigel") in 160 litre pot:

Number of chillies picked:

  • 2,407 red chillies
  • 116 green chillies

Yield in weight:

  • 9.535 kg red chillies
  • 0.265 kg green chillies

Plant size:

  • 172 cm high
  • 256 cm wide


Plant 2 (in 100 litre pot):

Number of chillies picked:

  • 1,101 red chillies
  • 4 green chillies

Yield in weight:

  • 4.570 kg all chillies


Plant 3 (in 100 litre pot):

Number of chillies picked:

  • 1,147 red chillies
  • 13 green chillies

Yield in weight:

  • 4.060 kg all chillies


Picking the Chillies


How we grew the plants



Other Growers

End date is 15th November 2013.


The Rules

The plant can be grown from seed or a plug plant, but it MUST be a Dorset Naga, so if you didn't get the seed from us you will have to tell us where the seed came from, and convince us it really is Dorset Naga (there are a lot of fakes around). Older plants, i.e. ones that are more than a year old are not accepted in the challenge.

Any growing method can be used, i.e. it can be grown hydroponically, in a pot or in the ground. Fruit can be picked regularly, or all at the end of the season.

This competition is based on trust. Keep records, take photos, do a video.

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