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Member Since 10 Sep 2017
Offline Last Active Aug 08 2018 09:18 AM

Topics I've Started

Best varieties for your location -- suggestions please!

18 July 2018 - 05:02 AM

I'd still consider myself a new grower, but when I started, I didn't really have a sense of which peppers worked best in my location. (I just assumed they all did...) I was more concerned with knowing how to grow, than knowing what to grow. 


I've since learned some general stuff, like that growing C. chinense / superhots typically requires a fairly long season and that C. pubescens as a perennial is an option for those in areas that don't experience significant frosts. But I suspect there's probably variation within all the main species such that some varieties work better in different locations for various reasons (e.g. pests, disease, climate, etc.) 


Granted, if you can grow peppers at all, then there's a good chance you can get any pepper to work, but still, I'm interested in collecting some information on what variety grows best in your location so that new growers can have the best chance of having a successful season, and so others in your location might have some ideas about what to grow next. 


If you'd like to help out, comments would be appreciated! 


What I'm interested in is:

  • Your location (city, country, and USDA plant hardiness zone) 
  • Varieties that have worked the best
  • Varieties that haven't worked well
  • Challenges of growing in your area/tips for someone in your location
  • How long you've been growing for

If there's enough interest in this, I'll put together all the results for future reference! 






Plant stress and pepper heat -- recent research

18 July 2018 - 03:46 AM

It's well known that stressing pepper plants by reducing watering can result in hotter peppers, and that this comes at the cost of decreased yields. But what level of stress is optimal? And which varieties respond best?   


A fairly recent article in Food Science, looked into the influence of water stress in four varieties of C. chinense, by comparing the differences in yields and capascinoid concentrations in peppers watered daily or every 2, 3, or 4 days, to determine how to get the most capscacinoids out of a pepper plant. 


The varieties included Bhut Jolokia, Orange Habanero, BGH1719 (a smallish plant, with many small pods), and Akanee Pirote (the largest plant, with large pods around 350k)


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It was concluded that varieties that are hotter and have larger fruit are more sensitive to drought stresses and that mild stresses may have the potential to significantly increase capscacin in some varieties, but not others. The Akanee produced significantly more capascin in the milder 2-day stress group (from around 350k to 450k), whereas the Bhut Jolokia and Orange Habanero produced significantly more only in the 3-day stress group. Moreover, it appeared there were diminishing returns, with the 4-day group, capsacin levels were no higher (or even lower) than in the 3-day group, and plant yields continued to decline.


Looking at the specific capsacinoids, it appears that dihydrocapsacin (which is typically found in larger proportion in C. pubescens) might increase to a greater extent than capascin. So your stressed peppers might not only have a hotter burn, but a different burn.


So how might we use this information to inform our own growing practices?


Perhaps by aiming to achieve the same reduction in plant height and pod numbers, you can determine how much water stress is optimal for your climate. The data is there for Bhut Jolokias and Orange Habs, but it could potentially be generalised to other varieties. For example, the unstressed Bhut was around 1m (3ft) and yielded 32 pods, where the hotter one was ~65cm/2ft tall, with 20 pods (that's about a 1/3 reduction). A potential experiment to determine the water stress you need to apply might be to have two plants (at least), and apply stress to one, aiming for a 1/3 reduction in growth compared to the other. Then adjust in future seasons depending on how far off you were from that goal.


TL;DR: Stress your larger superhots for hotter peppers, but maybe don't bother with your small milder peppers, it might only just decrease your yields. Also, drought stress has diminishing returns, so don't torture your peppers too much!


References: Jeeatid N, Techawongstien S, Suriharn B, Chanthai. S, Bosland P. Influence of water stresses on capsaicinoid production in hot pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) cultivars with different pungency levels. Food Chemistry [serial online]. April 1, 2018;245:792-797. Available from: FSTA - Food Science and Technology Abstracts, Ipswich, MA. Accessed July 18, 2018.





Limited heat mat real estate -- cardboard dividers for cups?

10 July 2018 - 10:08 PM

Hey there, hope the harvests are going well in the northern hemi! 


I've been starting seeds and I'm venturing into familiar territory... limited space indoors. I was wondering whether placing a cardboard separator to divide a cup into two is worth doing. I've done a few plants per cup in the past, but when it got to transplanting the roots had become intertwined and it was a bit of work to get them untangled. Of course, there was some inevitable root damage in the process.


Is it worth placing a separator in to prevent root systems becoming entangled, or are peppers robust enough to sustain a bit of root damage on transplanting? 


I aim to transplant out in 6 weeks, or even longer, so the root system could still be fairly nascent. 


Sure, planting less is an option, but the likelihood of that is ... very low. 



DIY Mini Greenhouse to ripen the last wave of pods

10 June 2018 - 12:39 AM

It's winter here in Melbourne, Australia, and the temperature is around 4 - 15C (~40-60F) at the moment, with lows expected to get to below 4C (or <40F) in July. A few of my late bloomers have set dozens of pods, and in the last several weeks they've been very slow to grow and ripen. So in an effort to extend the season, I built this mini greenhouse! 

I'll be experimenting with a how to keep it from getting below 4C (40F) overnight, perhaps with a few hot water bottles or a heat mat if need be. Because we seldom get frost, I'm hoping this set up will see my chillies through the winter months and into spring unscathed. Fingers crossed. 


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Want to trade - from Melbourne, Australia

22 May 2018 - 10:09 AM

I'm wanting to expand my modest collection of seeds with some local folks. If there's anything on my list you'd like, I'd be keen to hear from you! I'm particularly looking for Baccatums and ornamentals, but really anything I don't have listed below is great. 

What I've got: 


African Birdseye (Piri Piri) 

Aji Pineapple
Ball Chilli 
Banana Pepper (Sweet) 
Bullet Chilli (Large Asian Birdseye variety) 
Candy Stripe F1* (attached below) 
Cap Mushroom - Red
Chocolate Fatalii 
Chocolate Mini Cap
Corno Di Toro - Red
Habanero - Red
Mad Hatter F1*
Thai Birdseye
*Yes I know, F1s! Bit of a crap shoot, but it can be fun to grow out too. 
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