If you can grow tomatoes successfully, you should be able to grow chillis. They are a little different in their needs but are as easy to grow. They like a sunny patio, a big pot on a windowsill, or an unheated greenhouse.
Treat as half-hardy annuals.
The plants have a longer growing season than the UK climate allows, so they have to be grown indoors for protection against frost for quite a long time before you can plant them outside. In the North of the country you will probably have to grow them indoors all summer.
Minimum temperature is around 12°C.
Seed, sown in late February to mid March. Either just sow a few seeds in several 9 cm pots and pull out all except the strongest seedling, or scatter seed thinly acrosss a larger pot and transplant the seedlings. Cover the seed to its own depth in compost and keep at 20°C for best germination.
Pot on seedlings as they grow: if you are planning to keep the plants inside all summer they will need at least a 30 cm diameter pot when fully grown.
Harden off gradually from mid May and plant out, if growing outdoors, by early June. They need a sheltered, well-drained site in full sun: a very fertile soil is not vital.
Pinch out the growing tips occasionally to encourage them to bush out. Plants may need some support from twiggy branches pushed in around them, or can be tied to a cane. Pick peppers when they are green or coloured as you need them.
Unripe peppers can be ripened indoors or off the plant - arrange on a cakerack in the sun to dry, or hang up threaded fruits on fine cotton.
Usually trouble free. Insects find chilli tastes hot too!
There are hundreds of different types of hot pepper, and seed is widely available from seed companies.
You can save the seed from peppers you buy for the kitchen: fully ripe peppers can be red, purple or almost black. Choose ripe fruits which should be really soft and wrinkly before you remove the seeds.
When removing the seeds it's a good idea to wear rubber gloves, as the capsicain in the pepper flesh can irritate the skin.