RK Alker Childrens Author as the ChilliMan Chilli Growing in the BIG Greenhouse Little Green Men Chorley Lancashire Coast Best Selling International Writer UK

7: The BIG Chilli Greenhouse

The Hydroponic BIG Chilli Growing Greenhouse—More Chillies!

Say’s Law had worked beyond my wildest dreams—my chilli and chilli product supply had created demand that exceeded supply! Therefore, I needed to grow more chillies by expanding production. I needed a BIG chilli greenhouse.

The Chilliman in the big chilli greenhouse showing chilli growth over the season to 2.5m or 8 feet Lancashire

Divine Intervention?

BIG chilli greenhouses are difficult to come by. Especially ones with the right setup to grow a new type of crop like chillies.

I was introduced to a brilliant self-made tomato grower.

Talk about falling on your feet! I dropped into a massive state-of-the-art hydroponics facility that this engineer had created for his own tomato business. He turned out to be one of the best in the business! I could not have been more grateful.

Another Leap of Faith was Required

A big question mark on an island in the sea No roadmap no advice no rulebook Noone had done this before The ChilliManIt was my biggest ever move—it felt like the BIG leagues! It felt like success. I was in high demand. But how on earth was I going to do this? No chilli grower had taken the journey from the windowsill, to back garden greenhouse, to polytunnel and scaled up in the proportions I was envisaging!

There was no roadmap for this either. No one was doing this. I remember some advice that came from an agricultural marketing consultant I met:

“If I was you. I’d grow as many as I can and worry about what to do with them later!”

That was my kind of plan! I was used to wayfinding by now and had faith that it would succeed.

The tomato grower and I talked it through. I picked his brains. I took an educated guess.

Tomatoes are from the same family as chillies: Solanaceae. The feed is similar, but they grow differently. Chillies are bushier. We blended some of the tomato growing techniques with chilli growing.

RK Alker Childrens Author as the chilliman sat ina rocket flying to press and media stardomI lit the BIG chilli greenhouse rocket fuse, closed my eyes tight and jumped in!

The Hydroponic BIG Chilli Greenhouse

The hydroponic facility was spectacular! The hydroponic system pumped feed in water. The fluid flowed in a giant greenhouse circuit around the plant root systems in troughs. Excess water returned to massive tanks. This was tested, managed and recycled, known as:

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)—The Perfect Chilli Feed Recipe Flowed to the Chilli Plants

The perfectly balanced growing mixture of water and feed would be pumped to flow through the chilli plant root troughs as a nutrient film.

(I apologise for the sound of the hissing pumps. You will notice that video quality has improved a lot these days!)

Sun bathing chillies in a field of wheat All plants need are sun water and feed nature does the rest RK Alker Childrens Author

Water and Feed

Plants need sun, water and feed. Nature does the rest. If you get the feed right, amazing things happen with hydroponics.


I remember speaking to a TV weatherman at Southport Flower Show, when I won a first prize. He said seaside resorts often develop because the sun shines more often in those locations. It was sunny more often in Blackpool and on The Fylde Coast. The weather was even more amazing because the colossal greenhouse was positioned on a spital of land between two rivers.

It was Lovely in the BIG Chilli Greenhouse

The Chilliman in the big chilli greenhouse showing chilli growth over the season to 2.5m or 8 feet LancashireThe long, white, crop-growing rows went on forever, under an enormous expanse of glass, on the British coast. Some days you could see the weather rolling in from the sea. The clouds would split and follow the water in the rivers on either side of the spital of land, leaving good weather for the crop in the greenhouse. What a location! What a find! What an experience that was!

On the ground, the white hydroponic troughs carried flowing water and feed for the plants. Down low, it was cool and oxygenated by the plants. It was lovely to breathe. The running water made it cooler, even in the height of summer with that life-giving golden sun bathing the crop (and me!) through the glass. Picking chillies there was a lovely experience.

Huge Specimen Chilli Plants

Chillies growing in the big chilli greenhouse with RK Alker Childrens Author as The Chilliman from Chorley in Lancashire EngalndI had 120 varieties of chilli plants which had responded incredibly well to the perfect feed balance. The chillies grew to ridiculous sizes, producing an abundance of chilli fruit. By summer, the chilli plants had grown to over 8 feet in height or 2.5 metres. I had never seen anything like it! We had a chilli forest!

The bonkers hydroponic NFT system and sunny location was producing more chillies than I could possibly sell…

I estimated I grew at least 25 tonnes of chillies in the largest greenhouse.

ChilliMan Vlog or Video Log or Video Blog

I have some old videos of the plants during the height of the season. I shot them on a videotape camera. Uploaded to a PC by FireWire. Edited and then slowly uploaded to YouTube in the very early days of videologging or vlogging.

A Pioneer of UK Chilli Blogging

At the time, no one else was doing this type of video blog—I was a pioneer of UK chilli vlogging. The videos are unfortunately a little blocky! The hiss in the background is the noise of the powerful pumps and jets used to circulate the chilli feed around the hydroponic system, which ran 24 hours a day.

I have the video above of The Chilli Farm of Little Green Men. It was produced with the help of Lancashire One TV. I kept some old videos on Little Green Men YouTube Channel above. They were so impressed with my work on camera that we progressed to shoot our own ChilliMan TV series!

Chilli Growing Produced Beautiful Peace and Calmness in the BIG Chilli Greenhouse

The Chilliman RK Alker Childrens Author picking red chillies in the big chilli greenhouse Lancashire England UKA deep, soothing calm could be found in the air oxygenated by the massive chilli plants. Away from the hiss of the pumps, down low in the lanes of chillies, where the cool, life-giving water trickled by in the troughs was a beauty and calmness that I have rarely experienced anywhere else. That is, until I had newborn children of my own, of course!

Give it A Go!—Grow Your Own Chillies

If you have the room. Propagate chillies from seeds. Watch them grow. Feel the life-giving sun on your face, the wind in your hair. Appreciate and savour the rain. Watch them grow from double-leaved seedling, to flourishing bush, and delicate white flower. Then the first sign of fruit, the tiny green chilli…

And wait for that moment. Build over the days and weeks until you stoop low to the cool oxygenated earth and breathe in the beauty of creation. Pick that perfect coloured chilli. Feel and hear the crack of the chilli stem. Then take a moment to reflect on what has gone into that chilli. The seasons, water, feed and love—your life poured into that beautiful flourishing plant. Hold the fresh, firm fruit, grown by your own hand. Savour the moment and give thanks for all that is good.

I have some Chilli Growing Instructions for you CLICK HERE

The Chilliman RK Alker Childrens author in the big chilli greenhouse picking red chillies for markets and food and drink events in Lancashire EnglandChilli Sales

Back to that 25 tonnes—it focussed my mind! I was the highest-profile chilli grower in the land. I had a massive coastal facility producing 25 tonnes of chillies and more! My high media profile introduced me to Michelin-starred restaurants and celebrity chefs.

But I needed to cast my net even wider to make sales and move the huge amount of chillies I had created. I travelled the country exhibiting at food and drink events high up north and as far south as London and Motorcycle World at Beaulieu Abbey on the coast with The Hairy Bikers! I supplied manufacturers—I supplied anybody!

Making Chilli History in the BIG Chilli Greenhouse

It was new. It was ground-breaking. I wanted to learn from this massive new move. I documented the whole growing experience from seed and propagation house, to colossal growing greenhouse, harvest and beyond.

Add to that everything I have told you: the beginning, the hobby leap of faith, the journey, community outreach work, and the unusual, serendipitous rise to chilli rock stardom—it equates to a chapter in my life like no other…

I said earlier, “A passionate hobby will fill your spare time.”

RK Alker Children's Author award winning Chilliman Little Green Men 5-star book reviews testimonials primary faith school author visits reading funny kids books England Lancashire Day Press Media chilli grower foodie community big greenhouseBut a big greenhouse to manage, a business, PR, media and events, PLUS university lecturing in economics, business and MBA and digital pursuits like slow, time-burning YouTube, websites and online shops will take all your time.

I asked a question in Part 1: How far can you get on a handful of chilli seeds ‘n’ dirt?

I said, “In Passion Lies Power!”

In the articles leading up to here, I have fulfilled another ambition—to analyse and tell the story of my amazing life as The ChilliMan.

  • How a geeky kid from the northern hills, had a hair-brained idea to follow his heart and engage his passion for chilli growing.
  • That my community outreach work in the foodie community and championing my local producer friends during the ground-breaking growth of the local food revolution catapulted me to the forefront of the industry.
  • On a shoestring budget, I bootstrapped my chilli growing and artisan chilli product business and fearlessly pursued my dream.
  • In harnessing the latest technology, I became an early vlogger and created a website resource with over 2 million visitors.
  • My reward was a gift—the rock star ride of fame, awards, media and press—a lifestyle amongst celebrities that was beyond anything I could have hoped or imagined.
  • The ChilliMan became the first rock star chilli grower in the world of food and drink.
  • Culminating in possibly the country’s largest dedicated hydroponic chilli facility on the beautiful British coast supplying local food producers, retailers and restaurants, some holding Michelin Stars.
  • I could not have worked any harder, and I think, after long consideration whilst writing and reflecting on these articles, that I gave it my best shot… and more!

RK Alker Childrens Author holding a green chilli in his polytunnel growing as the chilli man from little green men from chorley lancashire England UKIn final analysis, I conclude I had EPIC FUN! On the ride of my life! Doing something that I LOVED! 😊

I had a favourite expression during those halcyon days of chilli growing…

“Be careful what you wish for—you might just get it!”

Vaya Con Dios ChilliMan x


If you would like to grow your own chillies, here are 10 SUPER QUICK Chilli Growing Instructions you can read in 20 Seconds, and a more detailed explanation

READ ON… Part 8: Chilli Growing Instructions



Part 1: Chilli Beginnings

RK Alker the chilliman going from unknown to famous to a children's author 2

Part 2: Polytunnel Chilli Passion

RK Alker the chilliman in his polytunnel growing chili plants and seeds as a famous children's author 2

Part 3: Chilli Leap of Faith

Chilli growing chili man jumping to freedom leap of faith across a ravine canyon valley

Part 4: The Foodie Community

Local food producer chilli growing chili man with food agencies selling chile products Chorley Lancashire England UK

Part 5: The Rock Star ChilliMan

Rock Star Chilli Grower Local food producer chilli growing chili man with food agencies selling chile products Chorley Lancashire England UK 2

Part 6: ChilliMan Press and Media

Chilliman Press and Media Stories F Word Lancashire Life for RK Alker Childrens Author The Chilli Man from Little Green Men Chorley England UK

Part 7: The BIG Chilli Greenhouse

RK Alker Childrens Author as the ChilliMan Chilli Growing in the BIG Greenhouse Little Green Men Chorley Lancashire Coast Best Selling International Writer UK

Part 8: Chilli Growing Instructions

Chilli Growing Instructions from RK Alker Childrens Author aka The ChilliMan in the BIG Chilli Greenhouse Little Green Men Chili Chorley Lancashire Coast England UK

Part 9: 999 Emergency Ambulances

RK Alker the chilliman on emergency 999 ambulances children's author of funny kids books Lancashire England UK

For my Kids’ Gardening Pages CLICK HERE

For more information on Gardeners World CLICK HERE

Who is RK Alker Children’s Author?

My Grandad vs The Fangazoo RK Alker Childrens Author of Funny Kids Books from Lancashire England UK 5-Star Book Reviews and TestimonialsR.K. Alker Best-Selling Children’s Author was born in the UK, but he was MADE IN LANCASHIRE!

He is famous as the TV & Radio ChilliMan aficionado and a champion of local producers or “Food Evangelist!”

R.K. Alker has a career spanning more than 3 decades of university lecturing, content writing, UK 999 emergency ambulances, media and entertainment as the colourful TV ChilliMan which contributed to this hilarious children’s adventure book written for his kids.

RK Alker Children's Author award winning Chilliman Little Green Men 5-star book reviews testimonials primary faith school author visits reading funny kids books England Lancashire Day Press Media chilli grower foodie community big greenhouse
Do you remember this funny entertainer? The ChilliMan was on all the TV & Radio Stations!

Read RK Alker Funny Kids’ Author’s amazing story in the PRESS SECTION CLICK HERE

RK Alker is an author of funny children’s books from Chorley, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom, Earth!

His little girls think RK Alker is the Best Funny Kids Author in the World.

Find RK Alker Children’s Author Events, Book Readings, Children’s Bedtime Stories, Kids’ Storytelling, School Author Visits, Children’s Book Signings and more on Eventbrite.

R.K. Alker is also The Chilli man from Little Green Men, a master of The Ancient Lancastrian Art of Ecky Thump! and can be found on Instagram, Blogger.com & Yell