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Growing hot peppers in Kyoto, Japan

This is my third year growing peppers since moving here; my first year was pretty good (completely accidentally), last year was a bit of a disaster due to unusual weather and my general gardening ignorance, so I can only hope for 2024 I can apply some of the lessons I have learnt on the way, and I am so happy to find such a treasure trove of knowledge and experienced growers here in this forum!

There are some specific challenges to growing here: in addition to the annual monsoon/rainy season, Kyoto City sits at the bottom of a valley system surrounded on three sides by mountains, which causes cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers. Summers are particularly hot since we are a long way from the sea, so we get no nice sea breezes or cooling effects (unlike our neighbours Osaka and Kobe). It is also hard to obtain the hot pepper seeds I want as the Japanese government has now decided you need a phytosanitary certificate to ship any chili seeds from suppliers abroad.

As you might guess from my username I make hot sauces, currently purely as a hobby, and I am trying to settle on a couple of recipes using chillies that I grow myself. @internationalfish tested one of my older sauces, lived, and very kindly gave me a lots of great feedback and advice. If there are any other members based in Japan I am happy to send you a bottle of my hot sauce from my next batch to test.

Anyway, I have big house move in summer so I am limiting my growing this year to:

Hot Thai (overwintered from last year)
Buena Mulata
Fatalii
Chocolate bhutlah
Chocolate jolokia

I may attempt to grow habaneros again (last year my plants were destroyed in a typhoon) and maybe a Jalapeno for a green hot sauce, I can purchase these as seedlings locally, but I am undecided - I don't want to have to lug too many mature plants across the city in the middle of summer.

Anyway, thank you for reading and any advice, help or recommendations are most welcome! Happy growing to you all in 2024!
 

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Got my seeds soaked and into the heated chambers last Friday. This is my first attempt and I used some standard seed starting mix made by a local supplier. If I were going to grow more varieties I might have tried some seeds on rockwool for a comparison.
 

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I was in Kyoto in June 2012, nice place. I had some good food there, though nothing spicy. I then continued to Nagoya, which felt very asphixiating in comparison. Good luck 👍
 
I love Japan, so I'm going to follow your clog.
I've already made 2 trips, and next year I'm going back for a few weeks.
Good luck with your season, I hope you'll have great harvests this year.

Personally, I'm not a fan of buena malata. I found this variety rather disappointing.
 
I love Japan, so I'm going to follow your clog.
I've already made 2 trips, and next year I'm going back for a few weeks.
Good luck with your season, I hope you'll have great harvests this year.

Personally, I'm not a fan of buena malata. I found this variety rather disappointing.
Thank you for following my glog!
Re: the buena mulata: it is one of those varieties I have wanted to grow for a long time, if anything just for its appearance (Sugar Rush Stripey is another pepper in this category for me). Was there any specific trait (e.g., yield, size, taste, spiciness) that disappointed you?
 
I was in Kyoto in June 2012, nice place. I had some good food there, though nothing spicy. I then continued to Nagoya, which felt very asphixiating in comparison. Good luck 👍
Yes we don't have many spicy things (aside from one very spicy ramen restaurant - if you ever need more info, please ask!) here, I am hoping to change this! My local bar already stocks my hot sauce and my ground chilli powder!
 
Thank you for following my glog!
Re: the buena mulata: it is one of those varieties I have wanted to grow for a long time, if anything just for its appearance (Sugar Rush Stripey is another pepper in this category for me). Was there any specific trait (e.g., yield, size, taste, spiciness) that disappointed you?
I didn't have a big yield, and the colors weren't as intense as other plants I've seen. And the taste wasn't exceptional, for me to grow again.
 
I didn't have a big yield, and the colors weren't as intense as other plants I've seen. And the taste wasn't exceptional, for me to grow again.
We shall see how it goes! I for one look forward to finding out how they look in real life (and not with photoshop/Instragram filters)
 
First to poke its head out is buena mulata. Of course with the seed husk stuck on it!
I really enjoyed growing a few buena mulata plants last year. The peppers work really well in a fermented hot sauce, and the pods were attractive while rolling through the various colors as they ripened. Good luck with your grow this year!
 
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I really enjoyed growing a few buena mulata plants last year. The peppers work really well in a fermented hot sauce, and the pods were attractive while rolling through the various colors as they ripened. Good luck with your grow this year!
Thank you!
Am I right in assuming you used the ripe pods (i.e., red not purple) for fermented hot sauce?
 
Just an update on the sprouting. Seeds came up very asymmetrically, Buena Mulata first, then some Fatalii, and chocolate Bhutlah. Lost a couple of stuck seed husks. Only 1/10 chocolate Jolokia seeds has sprouted so far, I hope they are just taking their time and aren't a loss.

I had to move a Buena Mulata and a Fatalii seedling to mini-pots as they were outgrowing the sprouting chamber. The cotyledons on the Buena Mulata turned dark a couple of days ago; I assume this is normal for a purple variety? The weather was beautiful and sunny in the morning, so they got some rays on my office desk yesterday:
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The one chocolate Jolokia that has sprouted so far:

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Four days since my last glog entry. Moved almost all the seedlings out of the germinator/heat mat setup since many of there were touching the plastic dome or each other. Stronger/good seedlings on the left, those that are a bit ropey/reedy/scraggly on the right. Fatalii seemed to have a lot of problems with seed husks stuck on the cotyledons and my ham-fisted attempts at rescuing them; also one dried out and died over the long weekend (inexplicably; all the other seedlings were fine). I am happy the chocolate superhots seemed to have sprouted well. I was worried the chocolate jolokias weren't germinating well, but it turns out they were just taking their good old time.
 

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it's already growing well at your place, when can you start planting outdoors in kyoto?
I haven't started yet on my side of the globe, as there's a risk of frost until mid-May.
 
I didn't have a big yield, and the colors weren't as intense as other plants I've seen. And the taste wasn't exceptional, for me to grow again.
I'm surprised you don't like the buena mulata! Its on my chilli wl.. What varieties are you growing that you like? Do you grow Aji's?
 
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