How do you do? Indeed, well…! We are William and Harrison Scowsill, (28, 27). Perhaps like us, you also ogle and dream of acquiring interesting and rare varieties of plants and seeds from all corners of the globe whilst enjoying the catharsis of growing your own food and attracting nature into your gardens? Amen. Like many hobbyists, we love to share our gardening tales; but alas, our riveting stories were too often met with glazed eyes and fell largely on deaf ears with our contemporaries, who wondered where we’d gotten this new-found passion. We turned to the kind and noble strangers on the internet for the mutual enthusiasm we deserved via Instagram @Freshbros_uk
Our interest in gardening started after returning from a mind-blowing trip to Peru, and realising that we couldn’t find the ingredients to recreate the incredible Peruvian food once we were back home. There are many so many types of chillies and potatoes over there – as many as 3000 varieties! So we started off growing the ‘Lemon Drop’ and ‘Aji Amarillo’ chillies for ceviche dishes and our interests snowballed into weird and wonderful tropical plants that had no business growing in the parents’ sunny orangery, such as the Naranjilla, Cape Gooseberries, Tree Tomato, Starfruit, Horned Melon, and more tropical experiments.
Having been lifelong keen rugby players, for a period in our early twenties we had terrible luck with knee injuries and then William had to recover from viral meningitis, so we hung our boots up for a while and transferred our enthusiasm into rare potted indoor plants until we got our own garden where we now grow everything from purple flesh potatoes, black tomatoes and even grew a watermelon last summer.
Our favourite veg to grow are strange chilli peppers and potatoes. Anything weird and wonderful – we are suckers for what we perceive as ‘rare’ in the UK. We also really enjoy our spring bulbs – tulips, daffodils, fritillaria, crocus, alliums and lilies. Nothing beats 15 seconds of planting in return for 5 weeks of flowering!
We Love Chillies!
This year we decided to focus our greenhouse space growing chillies. Through Instagram, we have met many like-minded growers and one friendly chap sent us a load of seeds of different varieties, including ‘Supers’ that are hard to source. We wanted a mix of heats, rarity and colour, so at the top of the scale we grew many varieties of hot Nagas and 7 Pot peppers which range from 500,000 – 1.4M Scoville units.
Then further down the Scoville Scale but still very hot, we grew Scotch Bonnet, Habanero and the black-seeded Rocoto varieties which are very cool. These, with the super hots, make excellent sauces. Just 1 of these would be enough to flavour a large pot.
Further down the Scale, but still with a kick to it, we grew very colourful chillies. These chillies were a good starting point to increase our capsaicin tolerance level. Adding them to salads, fry ups, or eating them straight off the plant is how we use these. Due to some of them becoming sweeter as they mature, we occasionally use these to make sauces.
Finally, at the bottom of the Scoville Scale with little to no heat, we grew mixed sweet and bell Peppers. With their vibrant colours, they’ll bring any meal to life, but they’re equally delicious to eat straight off the plant. Trinidad Perfume is our absolute favourite – a delicate flavour, beautiful aroma and with just a touch of warmth.
We mainly use the super-hot peppers for hot sauces, otherwise we dry them to make chili flakes or powder and jams. In the next couple of years, we want to delve into creating hybrid peppers from cross pollinating different varieties. A new level of organisation is needed, but it sounds fun to try! Other than that, we will look to sourcing different varieties for next year, whilst still growing our favourites.
Get aphids under control! Unfortunately, growing chillies can attract the aphids. Green or black, once they are established, they are hard to get rid of 100%. An example of this was our Hot Lemon Pepper plant that got heavily infested without us noticing. We had to bring out each pepper plant onto the lawn and wash each leaf. From then on, we kept a close eye on the plant’s health, topping up with an organic neem oil solution spray.
By not using pesticide, just neem oil, we also attracted a huge population of carnivorous ladybirds in the greenhouse to eat the aphids, but this topic deserves its own blogpost. Until then!
You can follow us on Instagram @Freshbros_uk
Head to our chilli & sweet pepper hub page to find growing guides and recipes for your chosen chilli varieties.
Brothers William and Harrison Scowsill discovered a passion for gardening after injuries and illness put paid to the rugby they played in their spare time. Starting with unusual varieties of chillies following a trip to South America, the brothers are now rare plants, fungi, attracting wildlife, and growing a bit of fruit and veg from gardens in New Zealand and the UK. The brothers profess to enjoy growing ‘anything weird and wonderful’ – especially rare chillies and potato varieties – and it appears that their social media following enjoys seeing the results of their endeavours!