People keep telling me that you can't grow chillies in Canberra. Or they tell me it is very difficult to get a decent crop out of them due to our short summers. Or they tell me how much work they are and that special heated greenhouses are required to get a crop before the frosts.
Fortunately these people are wrong, very wrong. Of course you can grow chillies in Canberra and get a great crop. They are simple to grow and can be productive.
In 2016 I planted aji pineapple chilli seed in early spring, the seedlings grew well, then they died from heat/neglect so had to be replanted. This happened twice. I really needed to pay more attention.
Unfortunately I did not record the date I planted seed the last time, but it was very late in the season. Being so late in the season and in a short summer climate made me worry if they were going to ripen in time. Then my plant flowered and started to set many fruits.
Aji Pineapple taste amazing, and are extremely productive, so I decided to count the number of ripe pods I got. I tried to count them on the plant but kept getting confused, so I counted them and recorded them as they were picked which was much more achievable.
On average, Aji pineapple pods weighed between 4 grams and 5 grams each. They were pretty uniform in this.
I harvested 405 ripe pods from one plant before the frosts really hit. The plant also had plenty of unripe pods and I also harvested 35 partially ripe pods after we had a week or two of hard frosts that threatened to kill my plant.
This meant that for a first year, extremely late planted, seed grown plant I harvested over 1.8 kg of ripe pods.
I was tempted to overwinter this chilli plant as they are more productive in subsequent years, but I don't know what I would do with all of the chillies so decided to let nature take its course. Last weekend we had temperatures below -8 C, my plant looks bad but is still alive. It is unlikely that it will survive until spring.