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Don't Panic 2021 - No, Seriously... Don't Panic!

Let's get 2021 started!!!
 
My grow list is a blend of my yearly regulars, new peppers I want to explore, and unstable crosses.  Like a lot of people, I can never seem to grow enough pepper plants to satisfy all my desires, so I have to make some decisions.
 
I have a lot of Annuums on my grow list this year.  Even though they're not the hottest peppers, I always seem to find them useful.
 
2021 Grow List
 
  • Jax - A cross from 2020 between a Jamaican Yellow Mushroom and another unknown pepper
  • Bumpy Bottomed Sri Lankan Chili Red - A 2020 cross between a Sri Lankan Chili Red and another unknown pepper.  It had a bumpy bottom compared to regular Sri Lankan Chili Reds, and was thicker-walled.
  • Jalapeño - One of my regulars.
  • Sri Lankan Chili Red - I've found these to be good utility peppers.  I don't worry about it if I don't save every one of them.  I also like the fact that they often surprise you with a totally different pepper.
  • Orange Thai - Another of my regulars.  I like the flavor and heat level of these peppers.
  • Large Utility Cayenne - I shouldn't even call it a Cayenne anymore.  Over the years, my saved seeds for my Cayenne peppers have started to become unstable, and I started to get this larger version last year, but it is more like a pod than a regular Cayenne.
  • Regular Utility Cayenne - I think this variety of mine is crossed or has somehow otherwise become unstable after several years of saving non-isolated seeds.  But it's a good utility pepper, and I like surprises.
  • St Lucia Roxa (Chinense) - This is just my name for this pepper, I've never really been able to identify this variety.  I bought some seeds for a St. Lucia Seasoning pepper a few years back, and this is what grew instead.
  • PGPG Bird Sausage Pepper - I got this cross from PaulG, where one of his entrants for the 2019 Growdown Throwdown grew out to be something totally different.  This one was really popular with the birds last year.
  • PDN x 7 Pot Caramel (Jay Leno) Pepper (Chinense) - I got this cross from a SFRB I bought from Bhuter.  Since one of the peppers bore a resemblance to Jay Leno, I've started referring to it as the Jay Leno pepper.
  • XL Antep Aci Cross - The 2021 Growdown Throwdown pepper.
I'm growing the following varieties from seeds I got from Atlantic Peppers Seeds
  • Mulato Islero
  • St. Lucia Sweet
  • Aji Benito
  • St. Lucia Seasoning
  • Chimayo (New Mexico landrace)
  • San Isidro Rocotto
I'm planning on growing 40-45 plants.
 
I've bought a special seedling deck for my AeroGarden, and I'm going to see how that works.
 
D5vWPpZ.jpg

 
I started 30 seedlings this way on Saturday (Jan 23rd), and I'll see how they do.
 
I'll start the rest of my peppers on February 1st (to coincide with the official start of the GrowDown ThrowDown).
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Looks good, Mitch. did you use any transplanter
or B-1 when you transplanted? That really helps
mitigate transplant shock.
 
PaulG said:
Looks goo, Mitch. did you use any transplanter
or B-1 when you transplanted? That really helps
mitigate transplant shock.
 
Thanks for the suggestion, I've never given it much thought.  That might be something to try next year.
 
DontPanic said:
Overall, my AeroGarden Seed Starter tray is doing well, but there's a few varieties that are struggling.
 
Dx6imLD.jpg

 
 
I was putting 3 or 4 seeds in every sponge, since this was my first time trying out this method.
 
Some varieties are killing it, but I have a few that might strike out on me.
 
I didn't try to engineer any heating, and my house cycles between 62-72 degrees F this time of year.  With the evaporative cooling from the air pump, I'm pleased with the results so far.
 
The strike-outs seem to be falling strictly along variety lines.
 
Unfortunately, my PDN x 7 Pot Caramel (Jay Leno) Pepper are not liking this arrangement.  This is kind of cool for a Chinense, so maybe it's not a complete surprise.
 
The other strike-outs are my Chimayo peppers and my San Isidro Rocoto peppers.
 
Now that I can see how my AeroGarden is progressing, I'm ready to start a second round of seeds the regular way, with dirt, seed trays, humidity domes, and a heating mat.  I'll give all the strike-outs a second chance in dirt, as well as filling out the rest of my planned grow-out..

I've never used an aero garden or even seen one in person, but seems like you could drop a small aquarium heater in the solution, you would just need to make sure the heater stays submerged.

Cold or not you seem to be doing very well.
 
Mr.joe said:
I've never used an aero garden or even seen one in person, but seems like you could drop a small aquarium heater in the solution, you would just need to make sure the heater stays submerged.

Cold or not you seem to be doing very well.
 
I ended up with decent results.  The San Isidro Rocotos ended up germinating OK, just a little slower.
 
I did strike out with the Chimayos, but I'm guessing that was due to the seeds, and not the AeroGarden.
 
If I bought a heater, it would have to be pretty small.  There's only about a gallon of water in there.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
You could just sit the unit on a heating pad or seed mat.
It doesn't have to be 80˚. My seeds in the AeroGarden
sprout with no added heat except from the lamps which
I leave on 24/7 until a true leaf or two show up.
 
St Patrick's Day Update...
 
I've transplanted everything to pots now.  Here's a group photo:
 
VHNnXj1.jpg

 
I'll probably start planting out the bigger ones next week.  I have a forecast for a few nights in the 40s later this week.  I'm going to let that weather get out of the way before I put them in the ground.
 
Somehow I'm going to have to deal with the dramatic difference in progress between the plants I started in my AeroGarden, and the plants I sowed in soil.  I guess it's a good problem to have.
 
My San Isidro Rocoto is looking good for now:
 
MjD0XTg.jpg

 
I've never grown a Rocoto before.  They're not supposed to grow well at all in my climate, but SkullBiker has inspired me to roll the dice.
 
Here's an inventory of the seedlings I have going.  I'm only planting out about  45 plants, so many of these will be extras.
 
3 x St. Lucia Sweet Pepper.
3 x Jax
3 x Jamaican Yellow Mushroom
3 x Large Utility Cayenne
3 x Bumpy Bottomed Sri Lankan Chili Red.
1 x Mulato Islero
1 x Aji Benito
3 x San Isidro Rocotto
3 x PGPG Sausage Pepper.
7 x Sri Lankan Chili Red.
1 x Jay Leno - PDN x 7 Pot Caramel
4 x GDTD XL Antep Aci Cross
8 x Small Orange Thai
4 x Jalapeño
4 x Bahamian Goat
2 x 2019 Utility Cayenne
1 x St Lucia Roxa
1 x Florida Wild Bird
1 x St. Lucia Seasoning Pepper (Over-wintered).
3 x Volunteers (Mystery).
 
CaneDog said:
Looks like a green St. Patty's Day.  Your rocoto looks super happy.  Doubt it would mind dipping into the 40's one bit.
 
Unless I throw it in the fridge, this'll probably the last chance it'll have to see the 40s for seven or eight months.  :)
 
One last group shot before I start putting these in the ground.
 
gMFUXav.jpg

 
We had a few nights last week with lows around 39 or 40 F.  I was waiting for those nights to get out of the way just in case the forecast got lower.
 
My subsequent updates will be with most everything settled into either raised beds or containers.
 
Skullbiker has inspired me to give Seed Sprout Tea a try.  It's kinda fun to make a batch, even if it doesn't do anything amazing.
 
For my first trial batch, I used 1/2 oz of alfalfa sprouts.
 
After just a few days, I guess it's ready to try.
 
RvR5s1n.jpg

 
This jar isn't nearly as full as it looks, But it is maybe 1/4 or 1/3 up the jar.  Enough to play with.
 
Skullbiker usually ferments his Seed Sprout Tea, but I've read you can use it right away if you don't want to preserve it.
 
I chopped this mess up in a blender, and mixed it in with a gallon of water.
 
I picked nine pepper plants at random (out of around 40), and applied this mixture.
 
Now, I'll compare the growth for a while, to see if I notice any effect.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Great experiment, Mitch. Can't wait to see the results.
 
Everything is just about squared away.
 
I've filled out my raised beds.
 
sh25v2J.jpg

 
DWz8HKB.jpg

 
 
My San Isidro Rocotos are looking healthy enough, but my guess is they'll still prove to be challenging.
 
R30KSk9.jpg

 
 
The plants I dosed with Seed Sprout Tea look about the same as the rest of my plants.
 
I've made up a second batch, and I'm fermenting this batch to see if that makes a difference.
 
Everything's been going fairly well this month.  Kinda boring actually.
 
I don't have many ripe peppers yet.  The plants seem to have concentrated on growing instead of fruiting.  That's OK.  Everything is looking healthy, and I've got lots of blooms coming in.
 
Boring but steady progress.
 
This picture came out interesting, even if you can't see my plants as clearly.
 
ytSQtDc.jpg

 
Another angle where you can see the plants better.
 
l5CLAIX.jpg

 
My North raised bed is also coming along OK.
 
dryLrAN.jpg

 
Even my San Isidro Rocoto seems to be doing OK.  Lot's of blooms, but not too many peppers yet.  Still, I can see about 4 tiny ones.
 
t8nMNZy.jpg

 
 
It'll be interesting to if I can figure out how to keep this Rocoto reasonably healthy through the peak of Summer.
 
I'll have more updates as peppers begin to ripen up.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
A little shade will go a long way toward
helping the San Isidro manage the summer
heat. Nice looking plant, great spread.
Wants to be a big girl!
 
Glad to see the culvert sections still going
strong. Really great re-purposing idea!!
 
PaulG said:
A little shade will go a long way toward
helping the San Isidro manage the summer
heat. Nice looking plant, great spread.
Wants to be a big girl!
 

I wanted to keep my Rocoto in a container this year so I can move it around to a shadier location if necessary.
 
I have a few small peppers growing on it.  I don't think they'll get ripe before the summer heat sets in.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
DontPanic said:
 
I wanted to keep my Rocoto in a container this year so I can move it around to a shadier location if necessary.
 
I have a few small peppers growing on it.  I don't think they'll get ripe before the summer heat sets in.
Great idea, Mitch. I have two of my Rocotos in
three gallons this season, for that very reason.
Also allows moving into the greenhouse or
garage for extended ripening in the Fall.
 
Good luck with those!
 
Yay!  My first ripe pepper has finally shown up.
 
fNI2BVe.jpg

 
This is some kind of random cross that I'm calling a "Large Utility Cayenne".  It's parent was a Cayenne somewhere in the past.  I'm growing a few examples of this cross to see how it pans out.
 
My Aji Benito is taking over this raised bed.  It's clearly one of those Baccatums that likes to get really large and throw off a ton of peppers.  But no ripe peppers yet.
 
z3cPaIt.jpg

 
My San Isidro Rocoto actually has a few peppers coming in.  Nothing is ripe yet.
 
tajOaf8.jpg
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
DontPanic said:
My Aji Benito is taking over this raised bed.  It's clearly one of those Baccatums that likes to get really large and throw off a ton of peppers.  But no ripe peppers yet.
 
z3cPaIt.jpg

 
 
 
 
Wow, nice looking bush, Mitch! Last season my Aji Benito threw
wild, flowering tops with each flower stalk branching into more 
flowers. Crazy.
 
My baccatums aren't looking good this year  :tear:
 
I've begun to get a few ripe Aji Benitos.  I've become fond of this pepper.  It's pretty sweet tasting, and has about half the heat of a Jalapeno.
 
When I get a few things squared away, I'll post an update with some pictures.
 
I hope you come through that PNW heat wave OK.
 
All things being equal, my pepper garden is going OK this year.
 
SS1sKBw.jpg

 
 
As I mentioned earlier in the Glog, I've been playing around with Seed Sprout Tea, made from Alfalfa seeds (http://thehotpepper.com/topic/74585-dont-panic-2021-no-seriously-dont-panic/page-3#entry1714289).
 
I made two batches.  The first batch was just straight (un-fermented) Seed Sprout Tea.  I let the sprouts grow for a few days, threw them in a food processor, then diluted them in about a gallon or two of water, and applied them to a few of my plants.  I didn't see much difference with regular (un-fermented) Seed Sprout Tea.
 
I made a second batch where I fermented the Seed Sprout Tea.  If I understand correctly, fermentation is the method usually employed by Skullbiker.  After 5-7 days of fermentation, I blended this batch up with a gallon or two of water, and applied it to all my plants.
 
I don't have any really good way of saying for certain that the Fermented Seed Sprout Tea worked.  But, my garden is looking really good this year.  :)
 
I'll probably stick with the fermentation method next time I try this.
 
One of the peppers I've been really happy with is my Aji Benito.
 
EZuJfyt.jpg

 
I find I like the flavor of these peppers.  Their heat level is probably below a Jalapeno, but I still enjoy both the flavor and the heat.
 
I've also found one of my Jax crosses may be ripening to yellow.
 
t2bftrD.jpg

 
The pepper plant I'm calling a "Jax" is a random cross between a Jamaican Yellow Mushroom and a second unknown parent.  I like the flavor and heat of my Jamaican Yellow Mushrooms, but I'd prefer a pod shaped pepper instead of the button shaped pepper of a typical Jamaican Yellow Mushroom.  I find it somewhat difficult to chop up that button shaped pod.
 
I'm eager to see how this one tastes.
 
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