As we have continued to expand our garden (read more about our garden build 2.0 here), we’ve been trying out some unique varieties of vegetables. One of the fun things about growing a garden is trying out things you wouldn’t normally find in the store! One of those plants we’ve been trying is the Ordoño Chile. It’s been a real winner this summer!
I purchased the seeds for this Ordoño Chile plant from Native Seeds Search in Tucson, AZ. (I had the chance to visit their store in person, but you can also shop online!) They cultivate and preserve a number of crops native to the southwest desert. Many of those seeds are available to the general public to purchase. They offer varieties that are well adapted to the hot and dry desert environment we live in. I actually have a number of different seeds from them that we have been growing, but this Ordoño Chile is certainly a favorite!
The Eye-Catching Ordoño Chile
The Ordoño Chile caught my eye because the colorful chiles fill the plant with their small bulbs of color all through the growing season. As they ripen, they progress from purple -> yellow -> orange -> red.
They almost look like little Christmas lights! It is a small plant that grows well in a pot. Because of the small chiles that almost look like little flowers, and the variety of color, it would also make a nice ornamental plant well adapted to the desert heat. We have it on the edge of the garden so we can enjoy its color. But we also enjoy eating the chiles 🙂
How to Use the Ordoño Chiles
Speaking of eating the chiles, these have been a really nice addition to our chile lineup for the kitchen! The spice level is moderate (close to a jalapeño with maybe a little more edge). Because they are so small, you can slice or dice a few up and add to nearly anything that you want spiced up a bit. You can cook with them too. But we typically end up just tossing them in raw as a spicy finishing garnish.
We wait to harvest when they are red, so fully ripe. Stored in a baggy in the fridge, they last the better part of a week. Garden-fresh spice at your fingertips!
Ordoño Chile Growing Tips
Ours is growing in a 10-inch diameter pot, and does get some intermittent shade during the day. But it definitely has it’s share of hot afternoon sun for several hours before the shade from the trees and house shields it for the last couple hours before sunset.
Before the heat of summer really kicked in, we were watering the chile once a week, sometimes twice if needed. Once our temperature highs hit ~105°F, we started watering every day. We also fertilize once every 4-6 weeks during the growing season with an organic tomato and vegetable fertilizer to promote heavier yields.
Time to Try Growing Ordoños!
If you like spicy foods, and you like growing chiles, this is definitely a variety you should try! If you don’t like spicy foods, but would like an easy ornamental plant to grow in the Phoenix summer, you should also give this one a try!
Thanks so much! It is such a challenge to grow anything in Tucson. I just added ordoños to my garden today. Good info, I’ll give it a shot!
Good luck James, I hope you love them and they grow well for you in your Tucson garden! Ours are doing very good right now, we are picking red chiles almost every day! 🙂