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2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

I've been a member for a while but never posted a grow log. My usual garden is too boring for that. I use 20-30 pots and overwinter my mama plants in a hillbilly winter shelter. Our ground here isn't good for in soil gardening and I've not been enthused enough to undertake the work and expense to build raised beds.
Now I have my peppers working the way I want and have the need for a much larger grow to supply a project. The main peppers I'll grow will be reaper, douglah and fatalii. For a couple of years I'll do hay bale gardens and heap tons of organic trash into the area. I have monumental amounts of pine straw, oak leaves and bonfire ash every year to dump in the walkways. I think this will do a world of good to make this new garden area mo'betta for eventual in ground growing.
I closed off a 38x38 patch in the NE field that gets full sun. This is the area I chose. The big painted guy is my fertilizer supplier.
The little painted guy is my running buddy and load inspector.


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Just when pepper growing was turning mundane and boring for me because of poor seasons, late starts, awful weather, never having the proper time to invest due to critical priorities and yadda yadda, something has happened to perk my enthusiasm. Bigtime.

No way to keep some long stories short but I'll do my best. Back in 2015 I lost my 4 year old habanero permaplants when I forgot to turn on heat lamp on the wrong night. Rather than start new ones I looked around for some of the new-to-me superhot plants I'd heard of. I found a grower (I call him Billy Peppers) over in Florida who had some things I would be interested in. I went over and came home with two small reapers, a much larger scorpion and a big jar of kickass pepper jelly. The reapers did very little that year but the scorpion made some pods for me. They weren't what I was expecting them to look like but come to find out they were CARDI scorpions. I made three new plants from seeds of those first pods. This is some of what they produced in 2016.


I kept the original mama plant and the best of those three sprouts and thoroughly enjoyed them until this last winter when I totally misjudged the amount of heat needed in the hillbilly winter shelter due to the severity of the five day record cold that bracketed Christmas. As it turned out, I lost everything except for one of the original 2015 reapers and a douglah. I had hopes for many but this was like a slow motion train wreck as they slowly died over time. I put them all in the sun along the fence fed and watered them. I thought those scorpions would come back but they didn't. I had started a new one that did well and is still making pods.

Shifting gears here, I always wished for a CARDI Scorpion plant that made yellow peppers because I love yellow peppers. I know there are all sorts of so-called yellow CARDI pepper seeds available but they're Butch T looking things so I don't know what they really are. I've always watched the CARDI site to see if they would ever release a yellow CARDI scorpion. Still haven't seen that happen.

Now, here's the happy accident. One by one as I pronounced my permaplants dead, I moved them back to a bonepile in the shade by the pumphouse. One of the later ones to give it up was one of my old mama douglah plants. Sometime in midsummer a sprout appeared in this pot. My pissed off, knee jerk reaction was to pull the sprout but I left it alone and let it grow. When it became obvious it was a pepper plant, I amputated the previous resident at the stump and moved the pot back into the light. The plant grew and started making some late season flowers and pods. It soon became apparent these pods weren't douglah but looked like CARDI scorpion. Cool. In early October some of the pods started ripening up and were sure looking like they were going to ripen yellow. They did. Here are the first four that made it to maturity. They look like a yellow CARDI scorpion to me. Something I've been wishing for since I got my first taste of the red CARDI scorpions.


I just opened a more recently ripened small one and finally took my first taste of these. It is indeed sweet and delicious and really spicy. It's most definitely CARDI scorpion spicy. To begin, I tasted that first little pinch off the bottom. That gave me fat lips for a half hour. I will continue tasting the rest of it today and tonight until it's gone. Haha, a ritual capsaicin experience.


Do any of the more skilled minds around here have any thoughts on this? I don't have the foggiest idea how this happened but I am very pleased. I'm definitely gonna grow this plant out for a few years and see where it goes. I sure want to know if this happy accident is repeatable. If the plant survives recent torment, there can be no unhappy accidents with this young lady. This one will probably become a houseplant soon.

Great looking pods DW, but she sure looks mischievous inside. :shocked::rofl:

Yeah, she was an oily little thing.

I think these yellows may actually be hotter than the reds. Wouldn't that be a kick? I'll do a side by side, bit by bit comparison tonight to check on that. I'll use bigger pods and hope to find more seeds in the yellow. Six seeds in the little one wasn't much of a haul.

I ate that first yellow bit by bit and it was impressive. I actually used one of my ho'made big batch burrito.bombs that was loaded with slow simmered YNBS and reapers to cool off in between bits of that yellow. Flavor is nice but a bit more floral than I prefer. I like sweet and fruity but it's all looking good after the first pod consumed.
Thanks for posting this. I read that thread long ago and loaded the video but never watched it through. There are similar old threads on THP. Over the years I've looked at everything I could find on this CARDI yellow. I've never been able to find a thing that ties the pepper to CARDI. Also nothing at CARDI that indicates they ever developed a yellow scorpion pepper. It seems like urban legend to me. Anybody have more on this?
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Thanks for posting this. I read that thread long ago and loaded the video but never watched it through. There are similar old threads on THP. Over the years I've looked at everything I could find on this CARDI yellow. I've never been able to find a thing that ties the pepper to CARDI. Also nothing at CARDI that indicates they ever developed a yellow scorpion pepper. It seems like urban legend to me. Anybody have more on this?

I think you might be right. I was browsing information on the CARDI site yesterday, but couldn't find anything either. The information was somewhat dated, but was current when the Yellow CARDI appeared. The list below is taken from the Hot Pepper Production Manual for Trinidad and Tobago (PDF) from 2011 (see p. 4 and following). The only Yellow mentioned in the document is Moruga Yellow.

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Their production manual you link is awesome. Full of useful info. Some of the things are hard to convert to my scale of growing but I refer to it quite often. According to the properties for my copy of the file, I downloaded it October 25, 2017.

Then, there's this blog post from the same time frame that links to a pdf list of all their seed products along with some interesting details.

You have to be correct about my plant being a natural mutation.. A happy accident. It will be interesting to find out where it leads.

Hmmm. I never thought of this until now. The closest CARDI pod shape I've ever seen to the for sale CARDI Yellow variety is the Moruga Red. I wonder if someone growing their Moruga had a "happy accident" and decided to name it the CARDI yellow scorpion?
a lot of their blurbs start off that way.

i think the wording helps to indicate that it was "created" versus naturally occurring.

but also i noticed this vendor doesn't really update their descriptions, so whenever they first started carrying it, it was obviously much newer than it is at present.
I did the side by side comparison with a larger yellow and a TS CARDI Red pepper last night while eating some pizza. I trimmed bits off the body of both peppers without getting into the seeds and placenta and alternated bites. The yellow is hotter and has a much more powerful taste. A flavor bomb. I put the remains into a small tupperware and into the refrigerator for the night. Please disregard the black specks in the pictures. That tupperware is my coffee grounds container for traveling. I thought it was washed out after our trip to Auburn but no. Update on our trip, too. Ten months after surgery to remove the soft tissue sarcoma from his elbow, Cody is still cancer free. After two years we should be home free.

Early this morning I did the dissection on the yellow and got about 25 seeds and found a fairly decent amount of wicked placenta..


After taking it apart, I cut off the small piece and ate it. I chewed it up good but didn't swallow until I had to swallow due to excess saliva. I wasn't in any hurry to put it downhole into an empty stomach. Interesting experience for such a small piece. A huge burn in the mouth and lips. My nose and eyes watered for a good while and my eyes did that out of focus thing. It was a pretty good pepper buzz and it lasted a while.


Later in the morning I finished both pods with my breakfast burrito. I'm definitely forced to agree with myself. This yellow pod was definitely spicier than the red TS CARDI. Will have to do it again soon.

The fourth quarter is definitely the golden time for picking in the pepper patch. I sure wish the plants could produce a few months longer. I imagine I'd get really tired of dealing with peppers but I'd still like to know what the plants could do if it weren't for that f-word that happens every year.

Wednesday pickings.

After 5 months when we got only a fuzz over 3" of total rain, we finally got some good rain. 3.4" of nice, slow friendly rain over the span of a few days. Never saw a puddle. Thirsty land.

This put my pepper picking schedule way off. The patch needed to be picked Tuesday. Now I have a metric s-ton of peppers. With the rain and the fruit load, the plants are laying down like a thatch roof. Difficult pickings. Hard to find and hard to reach . Picture from Thursday, after the rain.


We started picking today and and spent hours just doing the first row. Working dog Cody wasn't pleased with me. Too much pepper picking and not enough ball playing.


Row two and three tomorrow. Then need to start over and go through again in the opposite direction. At least it's cool for a while so the pepper bins can chill out on the roof of the generator shed.

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All the YNBS pods I de-seeded Sunday went toward hot sauce. Not sure how much the bags of peppers weighed at any time but before de-seed it was probably around 1½ kg of my biggest and baddest peppers of late October. I simmered them in ACV and pink salt for a long while. What came out was 1392 g of juicy, stewed pods and maybe a half cup of potent peppavinega juice. This went in the cooler for a while.

Additional ingredients were 1.15 kg carrots, 565 g Vidalia onions, plenty of garlic and some salt. These got a quick and dirty puree in the food processor and then simmered all day Monday. Added a bunch more pink salt, 2 cups of ACV and 2 cups of lime juice before it was all over. For the last step I pureed the pods in my dedicated Ninja pepper blender and added to the pot. It simmered until everything could make friends and be delicious.

My model for this hot sauce is the Belize iteration of Sontava Habanero XX Hot Sauce. My all time favorite. I get it pretty close on the flavor and that makes me happy since the Belizean production went away years ago. I usually get it pretty close on the color using all red peppers. The yellow peppers didn't do all that great for color matching.to reddish-orange. This time it's more of an orangy-brown. This poorly lit picture is of my 8 quart pot with about 5 quarts of hot sauce.


No matter, it's still sweet and savory delicious. Nice thing about making my own is it can be as hot as I want. And this batch is plenty hot without supplemental capsaicin.

I don't do canning so I partially filled a bunch of quart jars for freezing.All but one fully filled jar for more immediate consumption. I usually finish the sauce off in the food processor for a silky smooth consistency but I got lazy this time. This is how it looks for color when made with red peppers and consistency when the final processing step is completed..