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in-ground Growing Hatch chile in the northeast


For the last three years I have grown Hatch green chiles in my garden here in upstate NY (Zone 5A). My plants grow beautifully, but they are not even a little spicy. This year, for example, I grew an extra hot variety from Sandia Seed Company, and they grew beautiful peppers that tasted like sweet peppers. I've also grown a few varieties (Big Jim and Sandia Select) from the NM Chile Institute, and those were also sweet. I think my seeds are good quality.

I had assumed that my problem might be that it is too wet here to produce spicy peppers. So, this year I grew the peppers under an open high tunnel and severely limited their water. Still not spicy. My soil is very healthy, and I am restrained in my use of fertilizer. What could be affecting the flavor? I've been through a variety of ideas--nutrients, day length, etc--but none of them make sense to me. Our climate is about 10 degrees colder than NM (our highs in the summer are around 95), so I don't expect my chile to taste the same as what my family gets in NM, but I cannot fathom why my chile doesn't get at all spicy.

For comparison, every other hot pepper I grow is spicy. HELP!
Try growing them in containers under a grow light indoors. When I first started growing peppers in a grow tent and spiderfarmer2000 light, I didn't really know what I should be doing with the light intensity. It turned out that having the light at 100% intensity on the adjustment knob bleached out the pepper leaves closest to the light.....but I grew the hottest jalapenos I ever tasted! My other annuums were also surprisingly hot. I have since turned the knob down to 45% and still get hot enough peppers without the leaf bleaching. This could just be a classic correlation is not causation phenomenon, or maybe sun/light intensity plays a role?
What's your humidity like? I used to live up there, but don't remember enough of the climate.


It could be luck of the draw with plant genetics. Some grow true, and others don't.
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It's definitely much more humid here than in NM--there's no doubt about that. I'm just not sure why that would affect capsaicin production. The overnight temperatures are about the same here as in Hatch, but the daytime highs are a bit lower. Still, I wouldn't think that would affect capsaicin production so much. I've grown enough different seeds from different companies that I can't believe that bad luck with genetics, particularly after I grew an extra-hot variety. I'm stumped!
You try stressing the plants? That works sometimes.