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.
 
Those red insects were hatchling leaf-footed bugs. They feed on the plants, but I have never noticed any issues or damage, which is surprising considering they feed in a similar fashion as Brown marmorated Stink Bugs, which do cause damage to pepper fruits. Since they are generalists it certainly doesn't hurt them to move them somewhere else. Hatchling Wheel Assassin Bugs look very similar but only hatch out in spring and quickly disperse away from each other.
 
My season has been a success. My freezer is loaded with enough peppers to get me through the year, and I have shared some with friends and family.

Lately I am finding peppers with holes in them. Im guessing from some sort of insect. I havent caught any insect or animal in the act. I have been discarding these damaged peppers, but it is tempting to eat them since they still look and smell very fresh. I have seen hornworms eating the leaves
, but I havent seen them on the peppers yet.

My largest Trinidad pimento plant is now 3 feet high and 4 feet wide. I may need to trim it to fit through the door for overwintering.

Plants have slowed down, dropped some leafs, and yellowed some lately. Perhaps from the cold weather.
 

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I set up a grow tent this week, 5 x 5 feet. Initial intention was to use it for overwintering my plants, but now Im very tempted to get a super early start on my 2021 peppers.

I ordered some seeds, and they arrived today. red Congo, yellow Congo, Grenada seasoning, Venezuelan tiger, Antillais habanero, Aji Cachucha, and purple splotch aji Cachucha.
 

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I have the grow tent set up, and I moved a Perfume and yellow scotch bonnet into the tent a couple of weeks ago. They currently look healthier than the peppers plants still outside. I also move my culantro plants into the tent for winter. I am planning to start some more culantro since we use a lot of it.
 
I decided to start a few seeds with the paper towel method.  I soaked the seeds in hydrogen peroxide for 1 hr, and then soaked in water for 24 hours before moving seeds to the damp bagged paper towel at 85 F. Most of the seeds sprouted in less than 1 week, and I moved them directly to red solo cups filled with miracle gro potting soil.
 
This was my first time trying the paper towel method. I will probably stick with this method in the future.
 

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The Trinidad perfume peppers in the grow tent are ripening to a true yellow color, while the ones outside are ripening to an orange/yellow. See photo. In the photo, the Perfumes from the grow tent are the same color as the adjacent Lemon Drop pepper.

The yellow scotch bonnets are ripening orange-yellow, in both the tent and outdoors.
 

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My tent in the fall ended up full of aphids and white flies. The white flies made the entire floor of the tent sticky.  I tried adding some lady bugs I captured outside, but they did not seem to help any, at least in the short term.  The outdoor plants also brought in some house flies and other insects; these started accumulating dead in my led grow light fixture.  I had some concern that this might eventual damage the light.  I decided the overwintering project was not worth pursuing further, and I will probably not attempt overwintering again.  I cleaned the tent and let it sit empty for a month or so to decontaminate.
 
Starting seeds is easy enough, and easier than dealing with indoor pests.  I will prioritize having a sterile space for seedlings, or even for mature plants that have never been outside.  Rather than overwintering, it seems easier to me to use the extra space to start seeds extra early. I could consider starting a batch of seeds in early summer to enjoy inside in the fall and winter once the outdoor season ends.  
 
I started three pepper plants in October, Aji Cachucha, Bahamian goat pepper, and Jamaican Chocolate Habanero.  I had them by a south facing window until January, when I moved them into the decontaminated (hopefully) tent.  They grew steadily by the window despite the short cloudy days.  I moved them out of the red cups and into 7 gallon square pots last week. 
 
The Aji Cachucha and Bahamian goat pepper germinated easily and have looked healthy ever since.  The Jamaican Chocolate Habanero was more difficult to germinate, and it has grown a little slower and looked a bit less healthy throughout this time period.  Perhaps this variety is just less vigorous? 
 
When I moved to the full sized pot, I noticed the Jamaican Chocolate Habanero had some early roots growing out of the stem, which had thinned and turn white, a couple centimetres above the soil the soil line. Not sure what caused this.  Perhaps excess watering or insufficient ventilation. For now, I piled up some extra potting soil around this area.
 
I started another batch of pepper seeds yesterday, with the same method as before. 3% hydrogen peroxide soak for one hour, 24 hour hour soak in RO filtered water, and then paper towel method at 85 F.  I was happy with my results in October, so I am doing nothing different this time. Will again move from paper towel into red solo cups with miracle gro potting soil.
 
Last year I used old potting soil, already full of ants, and probably somewhat depleted and possibly full of pests or virus. This year I will use fresh miracle gro potting soil for everything.   
 
Final 2021 grow list: red Congo, yellow Congo, Grenada seasoning, Venezuelan tiger, Antillais habanero, Aji Cachucha, purple splotch aji Cachucha, Bahamian goat pepper, Jamaican Chocolate Habanero. Also trying some old Foodarama Yellow Scotch bonnet seeds, which germinated and grew somewhat poorly last year - giving them one last chance.
 

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PaulG

Extreme Member
Don't know what latitude you are at, sounds like the tent
isn't a good winter solution after all. Too bad.
 
The stickiness came from the aphids, probably. I had an
infestation last season in my grow shelf and garage, and
everything was sticky- shelf, tray, pots. Yuk  :sick:
 
I read that they suck so much plant juice, their bodies
can't store it, so they secret the 'dew', basically sticky
sugar water. 
 
Nice critters, they basically poop out sugar water and
babies non-stop. Doesn't take long to get ugly   :neutral:
 
Hey, good luck with your year-round plan. You could
make this grow log last forever!
 
Pepper plants have grown only a little in the last week.  Was hoping to see growth take off with 16 hours of LED light, compared to less hours of cloudy winter window-light.  Maybe they are growing fine, but I am just checking on them too often to notice. Or they could be adapting after being repotted.
 
I checked the temperature in the grow tent yesterday.  Was colder than I expected.  62F with lights off.  I added an incandescent lamp and closed off some of the ventilation holes.  Was able to get temperate up to 67 with lights on.
 
I will tinker with the tent some more this weekend and see if I can get the temperature up to 70 or above.  I will try adding some insulation, since the lights should be putting out some heat, and I just need to keep enough of the heat in the tent.  I could put a blanket under the tent, to insulate from the cold concrete floor.  I could also drape a blanket over the top of the tent, and further restrict the ventilation. 
 
One option would be to move the tent out of the colder basement into the warmer living area of the house. 
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
They look great. Well done!
 
I now have a handful of pepper pods on my Hot Chocolate Habanero and Bahamian Goat pepper plants.  I have been pollinating with a Q-tip, but not sure how much that has helped.  These two plants now take up slightly over half of my 5 x 5 grow tent.  The pods have been there for several weeks now.  Still green.   The Hot Chocolate Habanero pods are nice and large.  The goat pods are on the small side.   
 
Overall, things have been easy and uneventful.  Many of the plants have some edema, but otherwise are growing well.  I have increased the ventilation in an attempt to reduce the edema.  I ran out of room in the tent, so I had to move several pepper plants, all of the tomatoes, and all of my culantro out of the tent, and they are now beside a window.  The culantro is slow to grow, and occasionally leaves die.  The tomatoes seem less healthy than the peppers.  Hopefully the culantro and tomatoes will improve once moved outside.
 
Last year, I started hardening off early, and regretted it when I brought aphids inside.  I plan to start hardening off this weekend, and, pending weather, will permanently move all of the plants outdoors next week.  I might have waited another week, but I am going to be away on vacation, and I will need someone to come by periodically to water my plants, and I do not want them to have to mess with my tent.  It is a little scary leaving these peppers now for a week, after babying them for so long.  Will be prepared to apply some neem and/or soap upon returning. 
 
I have a huge head start compared to last year.  Two plants are already larger than many of my end of season plants from last year.  The rest are all significantly larger and healthier than what I had at this time last year.  
 
One plant has been a little disappointing, my fall started Aji Cachucha.  It started as a very dense small bush, then the entire plant shifted in the soil a bit (fell over some), and since then it has been growing like a vine, in every direction other than up, and I have banished it from the tent.  This plant has also displayed the heaviest edema.  Edema has improved some once removed from the tent and placed by the window.  Will be interesting to see if this plant ever grows into something productive and better to look at. 
 
I do not like staking pepper plants.  I let them do their thing, no staking, no topping.  I have another Aji Cachucha, started in February, and I will see how that one grows. If it does the same thing, then I will not grow this variety again.  I also have two of another variety of Aji Cachucha (purple splotch variety) growing well, and perhaps they will end up my preferred variety of Aji Cachucha. 
 

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Plants have been outside most of the week.  It has been tiring, bringing the plants outside and then back into the house, several times, as part of the hardening off process. 
 
This is my first season starting with plants of these sizes.  It is a little stressful seeing them exposed to the elements for the first time. I normally do not stake or support plants, but I am now finding it necessary as the plants have been blown about in the wind.  Some plants have been blown sideways, perhaps my potting mix is too loose.  Some plants seem to just get tired and go limp, but then recover once they are sheltered or brought back inside for a while.  Many leaves have already been lost to the wind, but plenty remain.
 
Forecast calls for lots of rain and cloudy days over the next couple of weeks.  Several nights with lows in the low 40's or high 30's.  Probably not the best weather to start the outdoor season, but I am going to leave them out and hope for the best. I will be out of town next week, so I felt it best to have them outside rather than in my basement in the tent.
 
 
 

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Came home from my trip to ripe peppers, goat and jamaican hot chocolate.
 
Initial impressions for these two varieties:
 
Goat pepper - Beautiful white color on the inside when cut. Nice smell, taste, and heat. Worked very well in a jerk marinade.
 
Jamaican hot chocolate - Very hot. High heat to flavor ratio, good for when you want strong heat, but without overwhelming habanero pepper taste.  Taste and smell are good, but nothing jumped out to me as a particularly unique flavor compared to red habanero type peppers. 
 

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Aphids appeared this week.  Sprayed several plants with Bonide neem oil spray (clarified hydrophobic extract).
 
On one of the plants, the aphids were predominantly located on the flowers.  I do not often pinch off early flowers, but this seemed like a particularly appropriate moment to do so.
 

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