Curry peppers 2020

Growing Trinidad perfume, lemon drop, Trinidad pimento,
and foodaroma scotch bonnet red and yellow.

Started seedlings in February. Poor germination with the scotch bonnets. My seedlings would have done better with more light. Have had aphids since early , and I let the aphids grow for a few weeks before treating.

Peppers have really been doing well outside in full sunlight recently. We had a few rainy weeks and the peppers really improved in health during that period. I may have been underwatering the Peppers - and the rain also seems to have reduced the aphids.

I now have multiple very healthy good sized pimento plants with numerous flowers. Lemon drop looks ok and has many peppers. Perfumes look ok - many distorted leaves - but with steady growth and multiple peppers. Red scotch looks healthy with a few peppers already.

I think my yellow scotches all got stunted from the aphids. Hoping one will recover and make at least a few ripe peppers. Funny thing is that I ordered the yellow peppers from Refining Fire Chiles, and he threw in some red scotch seeds for free. Im glad he did , otherwise I might have ended up with no scotch bonnets this year.
 
Pictures July 3 2020
 

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I saw more aphids yesterday on two plants.  Last night, I treated one yellow scotch bonnet and one red scotch bonnet with Bonide clarified extract of neem oil. 
 
I used the neem oil on the yellow scotch bonnet last week, and it seems to have improved in health since then.  The oil left an attractive sheen on the leaves and did not seem to bother the plant at all.
 
I spent a lot of time reading about insecticides recently, and it is very confusing with much contradictory information. 
 
NOTES FROM MY READING:
 
imidacloprid: effective systemic pesticide, commonly used by commercial growers.  Should be as safe as eating store bought produce, which I already do. Treat once and plant should be protected for the season. I do not plan on using  imidacloprid because none of the available products seem to be approved for use on potted vegatables or indoor vegatables. I could consider using this if I plant in the ground in the future - but if soap keeps working - I will likely just stick with organic products.
 
Neem: very confusing due to differing formulations.  Products include virgin oil, clarified hydrophobic extract, and Azamax. 
- Azamax is the concentrated active ingredient and supposedly provides a systemic effect. Azamax was banned in some states due to the presence of other non-listed pesticides. I have not seen a response from the company - perhaps the non-listed pesticides were simply contaminates from growing the neem rather than an intentional adulterant. Or perhaps they were added intentionally?  
- The virgin oil contains both oil and the active ingredient.  Virgin oil is not available in most stores, but you can get it online. The virgin oil is thicker and perhaps more stressful to the plant. The oils are all mixed with water and soap.  Confusion arises with deciding which soap to use with the neem oil.  And maybe it is the soap itself that is killing the aphids?
- The clarified oil is widely available and appears to be the most widely used product by home gardeners. This seems to be an inert oil, similar to vegetable oils used for cooking. Primary mechanism seems to be that this is an oil. Active ingredients have been removed. 
- It would be nice to know which formulation commercial organic growers are most commonly using
- Many recommend applying neem oils only in the evening or morning
- oil likely degrades and has limited shelf life
- some complain that neem smells bad, but no smell has bother me with the clarified neem
 
Soap: Commercial formulations of insecticidal soap are effective and should be safe to apply. Most recommend applying in the evening or the morning.  Some concern that soap could stress the plants.
 
Pyrethins: I have used this spray several times. This is considered organic, but I perceive it as a chemical and more dangerous than soap or clarified neem. It has a strong smell. I do not like the idea of exposing myself during application regularly.  
 
Overall thoughts: 
- The soap worked.  I sprayed it over the entire plant.  I had no concerns with the small amount of mist which likely drifted over on to me.  This did seem to leave some white residue on the plants, and I worry that it might cause some damage if I used soap too frequently.
- Pyrethin works and does not damage the plants, even when I have used this during mid-day.  I do not like thoroughly applying this to an entire plant - due to concern with exposing myself to some of the mist.  I like using the pyrethin for a quick spot treatment of an effected area, and then perhaps follow up with a complete treatment of the entire plant with soap or neem.
- Clarified neem: I will continue using this and try to decide if it is useful. Early results are promising.  If soap works, and clarified neem works, I see no reason to experiment with Azamax or virgin oil, which are more expensive and have some unknown factors and complexities.
- If each product stresses the plant in a different way, it might be nice to alternate between neem oil and soap to avoid cumulative stress or buildup on the plant.  
 

ahayastani

Extreme Member
Pyrethroids are generally considered "safe", especially in relative terms (i.e. compared to other insecticides). The odour that you perceive is not necessarily the active component. Pyrethroids are often offered as solutions that contain i.a. emulsifiers. Since pyrethroids are not water soluble, emulsifiers have to be added to make it applicable as a spray/mist.
 
Also, never ever make the mistake to think that natural also means less noxious. 
 
You def have done your research. I tend to favor soap, usually in evening, not when in direct sunlight and concentrating on underside of leaves. Have been lucky here though, rarely need to. Good luck with the battle!
 
I have been harvesting a few Trinidad perfume peppers every couple of days this week. I am pleased with their flavor and appearance. We have cooked a few dishes with them, and eaten a few peppers by themselves.

Trinidad pimentos are starting to turn red and hopefully a few will be ready to harvest this week.

Lemon drops and red scotch bonnet peppers are still fully green. The yellow scotch bonnet has started growing well and flowering.

I increased my miracle gro fertilization a couple of weeks ago. Plants look healthier with more fertilizer, however, a few peppers fell off, and that perhaps might be related to the increased fertilizer. I wish I had a more precise way to add the fertilizer. Directions on the fertilizer products specify how much to add per gallon of water, but now how much of the diluted product to add per plant.

I had been using 0.5 tsp fertilize per 2 gallons water, once per week. The other week I tried that concentration 3 times in one week.

Next season I will try to fertilize more aggressively early on and then to use less later in the season.
 

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Plants are continuing to do well.  Aphids have not been a problem for several weeks now.  The natural aphid predators seem to have wiped them out.  I see occasional wasps, lady bugs, and praying-mantis.  At one point, there were lacewing and lacewing eggs. I was not sure if the lacewing were good or bad initially, so I will try to remember their appearance for next year.   
 
Perfume plants keep producing perfect delicious beautiful peppers. Plants are compact with many peppers.  Peppers are growing pretty much back to back. 
 
I started harvesting a few Trinidad pimento peppers this week.  These plants are much less compact, but they have many peppers. So far, about half of the ripe peppers have some mild blossom end rot, and a few black seeds inside.  One was significantly moldy on the inside. The pimentos have thicker flesh and are sweeter and fruitier than the perfume. Both pimento and perfume have a very nice aromatic chinense taste.  Perfume is more peppery (like black pepper) and floral, and not sweet. 
 
I purchased a 5 x 5 feet grow tent to use this winter for peppers. I am not sure exactly what I want to do with it. I will likely try to fill it with whichever plants I would like more peppers from, although I have also entertained the idea of starting my 2021 peppers extra early.  I could cut back the plants and keep 4 or more in the tent, or I could let a single plant grow very large.  
 
A few of the lemon drop peppers started ripening this week.

The perfumes look yellow until you put them next to the lemon drops. Most of the yellow chinense pepper varieties seem to have a bit of an orange to them. Are there any pure yellow chinense pepper varieties?
 

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ahayastani

Extreme Member
spicy.curry said:
A few of the lemon drop peppers started ripening this week.

The perfumes look yellow until you put them next to the lemon drops. Most of the yellow chinense pepper varieties seem to have a bit of an orange to them. Are there any pure yellow chinense pepper varieties?
 
You can pick them just before they acquire that tan :D
 
Nagabrains Yellow (#4 in my post), in my experience, remains yellow without an orange hue. There probably are many more, I just report from my experience.
 
I have eaten several of the lemon drop peppers.  I am finding the taste underwhelming.  Much less aromatic than the chinense peppers.  I get a bit of a slightly unpleasant bitter taste.  There might be a slight fruity flavor, but it does not remind me of lemon at all.
 
Trinidad pimento plants are my largest and most healthy looking, but about half of the pods have blossom end rot or are moldy inside.

We had a sunny weekend after a very rainy week. One of the perfumes lost most of its leaves on Saturday. Hopefully they will grow back. Some of my least healthy appearing plants have been my best producers of abundant large unblemished peppers.
 

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Red scotch bonnets are producing nice peppers. Interesting shapes. Some pointy at the end. Good flavor, similar to the pimento, but hot. Less hot than the orange habaneros I grew last year, but plenty hot. One of the red scotch plants has grown into a large very healthy and productive looking plant.

These are really good. We have used them in a curry, a soup, and a stir fry.
 

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Pimentos are doing well. I have been picking them every day. Freezer is filling up. Blossom end rot has been less of an issue this week. The pimentos are much larger than the perfumes.
 

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The foodarama yellow scotch bonnet plant has improved a lot. Still a small plant compared to many of the other varieties, but it is looking like I should have a couple of ripe peppers within the next few weeks.
 

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