DORSET’S hottest competition has returned ahead of a popular summertime event.

The Great Dorset Chilli Festival’s chilli plant growing competition will begin now, months before the August 2-3 occasion.

Organiser Miles Halton, pictured, said the plants can take a while to germinate, and should be grown now to maximise the chances of ripe fruit come judging day.

“After the popularity of last year’s competition I think many people will want to have a go,” he said.

“Just remember to feed your plant as it makes so much difference to the appearance.”

Class one in this year’s competition starts with a level playing field – all participants have to grow the same variety of chilli, the NuMex Twilight.

Festival organisers will even supply the seed free of charge while stocks last and with a basic growing guide.

Class two is open to any variety of chilli plant, but it must have been grown this year.

To get further information about the competition, or to request chilli seeds, email info@greatdorsetchillifestival Alternatively, call 01258 447040.