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growyourown's 2021 adventures

hey all! never done one of these before. this is my third or fourth year growing, but i'm still an amateur. i grow in smallish raised planters (5-7.5 sq.ft. surface area) last year i had 3, this year added 2 more. i don't add anything to the plants apart from store-bought manure and some miracle-gro every week or two, i've never topped plants or even pinched flowers before.
so i am definitely welcoming to any advice or suggestions you guys have for me, and i thank you for checking out my posts.
so here we have my plants for this year (left to right in the pictures, assuming i succeed at attaching them). my mother-in-law germinates my seeds and raises the plants in infancy, since she is retired and has a modest greenhouse off her garage. but also 4-cell trays at my local commercial greenhouse were only 2 bucks when i went and they had more selection than in years past, so i came out with a couple dozen more plants than i anticipated.



left picture:
4x hot pepper "portugal"   -   (seedlings from local greenhouse)
4x tomato san marzano   -   (seedlings from local greenhouse)
8x trinidad scorpion   -   (seedlings from local greenhouse)
4x bell pepper "redskin"   -   (seedlings from local greenhouse)
right picture:
1x habanero jamaican hot chocolate (leftmost middle)   -   (atlantic pepper seeds)
5x fatalii peach (front of pic)   -   (atlantic pepper seeds)
3x chocolate bhutlah (back of pic)   -   (atlantic pepper seeds)
3x bahamian goat (back of pic)   -   (atlantic pepper seeds)
5x ghost (front of pic)   -   (seeds from previous grows)
5x most likely habanero, possibly ghost (back of pic)   -   (seeds from previous grows)
11x habanero   -   (seedlings from local greenhouse)
12x jalapeno   -   (4x seedlings from local greenhouse, 8x seeds from previous grows)
so there they are, what do you guys think?
pretty sure i will have to cull a few, if they are not growing adequately or just because i run out of space. i estimate my planters can hold about 50 plants as long as i let them grow wild in different directions to catch the sun, which is only beating on them from 9am-6pm in full summer, but i have some spare soil and a half dozen 1-gallon range pots in the shed i can make use of if need be.
also my care routine, since i put them into the cups (coffee cups 20-25oz, clear solos 9oz i think) you see them in on may 22, is to take them outside for 3-4 hours each day (at 5pm on weekdays, early afternoon on weekends), water them right away until some water stays on top of the dirt for a few seconds when i set them out, and then bring them back in later. is this okay/too much/not enough? i have skipped a day watering them once or twice, but earlier this week a bunch were quite wilty (especially the habs)
unfortunately my cat has also chewed on a few leaves of the ones he can reach when i have them inside at night (grrr)
the big question i have is that all the "exotic" plants from atlantic pepper seeds are still quite small (mostly under 4 inches high), but i hope to put everything out in the garden this weekend. is it "dangerous" to plant them out to their final home at this stage in their growth? i really would prefer not to have to keep them in cups whether in- or outdoors for additional weeks unless it's going to seriously inhibit their growth planting them out now.
or am i wrong altogether and that the hardening-off period should be longer than two weeks for all the plants?
thanks again for checking this out and for any input you guys and gals might have for me. i am definitely still learning, and this is the first year i bought seeds and am treating it as an actual hobby instead of just a casual grow, so i hope i can succeed.
edit:  forgot to add location/climate details. i am in southern ontario, canada (43.5 degrees north). last couple weeks we have had daily highs of 15-30c, nightly lows of 4-15c.


Extreme Member


growyourown said:
the big question i have is that all the "exotic" plants from atlantic pepper seeds are still quite small (mostly under 4 inches high), but i hope to put everything out in the garden this weekend. is it "dangerous" to plant them out to their final home at this stage in their growth? i really would prefer not to have to keep them in cups whether in- or outdoors for additional weeks unless it's going to seriously inhibit their growth planting them out now.
As long as they're hardened off & safe from frost I don't see an  issue.


Extreme Member
Good luck this season, GYO. Looks like
you have enough plants to keep you busy!
+1 NEC. Plant those babies if the forecast
looks good. Do you get late frosts often?
We are just north of the 45 latitude line, and 
our frosts are over for the season.
here we are again, plants are in their homes since the weekend.
who is who:

tom = tomato san marzano
g = ghost
?hg = maybe hab maybe ghost
port = hot pepper portugal
j = jalapeno
h= habanero
bell = bell pepper redskin
ts = trinidad scorpion
fp = fatalii peach
cb = chocolate bhutlah
hjhc = habanero jamaican hot chocolate
bg = bahamian goat

box 1:

box 2:

box 3:

a couple of the jalapenos are quite leggy, they were mostly like that when i got them from the greenhouse, plus the aforementioned curious cat took some of the lower leaves...
i guess i am limited to the number of pics i can attach, so i'll do a second post in a minute (unless it is a time-limited restriction).
box 4:

i guess that's the max for today. i will post box 5 (all the "exotics" from pepperseeds.ca) and the 3 pots (6x jalapeno only) tomorrow.
those exotics are the ones i have questions about, mostly do you think that, with only 4-4.5 months left before it's too cold, that any of those plants will make it to giving me ripe pods?
they are all very tiny still. but i would be disappointed if the 12 plants i got that i actually paid for the seeds and am excited to try, would have none of them produce before winter.
i guess i could plant back into pots and bring them inside in late october, but my house is pretty small and we have 2 cats and a nearly 1-year-old baby to keep away from them, plus the wife already gives me crap any time i talk about trying overwintering lol.
i will definitely have to start earlier next year if i go from seeds again. at least i did not plant about half of the seeds that i got, so i can try the same types again next year if i come up fruitless.


Extreme Member
Beautiful grow space, GYO.
I think it's worth it to keep a couple going. Just root prune
a bit and pot down to a #1 nursery pot with some fresh dirt.
A little plant starter to avoid transplant shock. A couple of
weeks later you can try a bit of fertilizer  to help the pod
production and ripening.
WHAT A SHITTY GLOG I DID! As with many things, first one’s usually a throw-away. With what you’re about to read, though, you’ll see that i learned some things and intend to apply them for 2022, so stay tuned for the upcoming glog, friends! Thanks for stopping in, and away we go –

Apologies i haven’t posted any updates in many months now, and obviously my growing season is long over. To be honest i was frustrated about having to figure out how to get images posted up on the site. I’m not computer illiterate, and i tried putting pics on imgur but wasn’t able to get them to post here. Now that this site has been upgraded i am hoping it will be easier, and this will be my first effort since then, so bear with me.

NOTE: I first typed this post out in early November, but failed to actually try and post until now – with edits made to make it current – and i owe it to myself and you guys to post my 2021 results for posterity and closure. I lurk here every day nearly, and i really should post more, and i resolve to do so in 2022. All y’all PPATB; I thank you to read on –

As for 2021’s season overview, I’ll summarize by saying it was generally successful. But I’ll list all the bad news first, and then relate the successes at the end (hopefully with pics).


R.I.P. 1x Fatalii Peach – just never grew after potting out to the raised bed. One day i went out and it was just a bare stick.
R.I.P. 1x Jalapeno – accidentally had the hose nozzle on jet mode when i went to water and cut it clean in half.
R.I.P. 1x Jalapeno – something got to it (animal or wind, don’t think it was me this time) and severed the stem. This plant was in a pot on the ground, not in the beds.
R.I.P. 1x “Ghost” – just never took off and all the leaves went yellow and fell off. This one had been overshadowed by one of the tomato plants, despite me trying to tie back the tomatoes to keep the peppers open to the sun.
R.I.P. all the tomatoes essentially – extensive BLOSSOM END ROT on nearly all fruits, and tying them back away from the other peppers also made the stems weaken and break as the branches began to hang down to the ground and rub/bend on the wood of the beds. Got only a handful of useful tomatoes in total (but they went into the homemade sauce/salsa my wife makes)


Regarding the quotation marks around “ghost” above, turns out i had mixed up some seeds and discarded the wrong baggy (as i had been dehydrating pods at too high a temperature for seed viability, i learned). Everything labelled Ghost or Mystery in my left-hand side bed all turned out to be only habaneros. The fruits on one of the plants sort of resemble ghost, but i suspect it is just elongated-shaped habs.


1. Start earlier. Although i finally got some level of production from all my plants, the chocolate and peach varieties were VERY slow to ripen. My mother-in-law has been starting my seeds for me because she has all the equipment, plus a small greenhouse attached to her garage, but i will either need to convince her to start sooner, ask if i can do some myself at her place in Jan-Feb, or get my own supplies and start them here at home.

2. Soil quality. Cheaped out this year and got a trailer-load of landscaping dirt for $80, as i had some other holes to fill in the yard and to top up the flower beds surrounding the house. Filled my 2 new containers with the stuff, or rather shared some of the old dirt from the other 3 and also added the new stuff to refill those ones back up, and it just wasn’t good. Although it did contain manure and some composted material, it was very dense and not conducive to the plants’ needs. Next year i hope to add 1-2 more containers and i will get a good potting mix from the nursery to improve the consistency.

3. Tomatoes are annoying! Their growth was prolific and swift once they went to the raised beds, but that meant they kept growing over top of the small pepper plants and i had to angrily tie back branches every few days. That made them start growing to hang from where they were tied off towards the ground below the beds, and the branches sometimes got “choked” by the twine or the edge of the wooden containers. Add to this the BER of 95+% of the fruits, has put me right off growing tomatoes. I don’t like them enough to go through that, or to have to dedicate a single segregated bed to tomatoes only.

4. Give them space. I think a dozen plants in each bed was too many. If i get more of these crate containers for next year i will definitely attempt to not load them up beyond their capacity, but i hate culling plants so i want to squeeze them all in, and i doubt if that will change lol. Maybe if i can just resist buying 30 additional seedlings from the greenhouse, oh c’mon who am i kidding...


Most impressive is the number of jalapenos that turned red for me. I ended up with nearly a full large freezer bag of only red ones. Come end of season I still had to harvest a few dozen that remained green, but percentage-wise i have so many more that ripened fully this year than previously.

I’m also very happy that relatively few of the peppers i harvested had mold/black spots inside them. I did have to gut a number of them and discard some, especially the real small ones, but over two-thirds were perfectly fine inside, which again is a good ratio for me compared to years past.

Also, the “Portugal” peppers were a success in terms of yielding large, curly and aesthetically-pleasing pods, and also in giving a nice mild spice to food without the jalapeno flavour profile. I gave most of them away, however, and did not dehydrate or save any seeds, but my mom will be trying to grow some out this coming year.

Of note as well were the Bahamian Goats, from all 3 plants, had nearly all pods with a second pepper growing inside of them; i would say at least 90% of pods exhibited this phenomenon. Feel like i read somewhere that this occurs more commonly in this variety than most others, but nonetheless it was surprising to see how prevalently the trait expressed in nearly all peppers across several plants. (If there are any pepper scientists out there wishing to obtain some seeds carrying this abnormality, hit me up; I am willing to make a trade for whatever you might have to offer.)


tomatoes: fuck right off
bell “redskin”: 4 plants, 10 ripe pods, 0 green pods (avg. 2.5/plant)
jalapeno: 10 plants, 63 ripe pods, 36 green pods (avg. 10/plant)
“portugal”: 4 plants, 34 ripe pods, 3 green pods (avg. 9/plant)
habanero: 20 plants, 375 ripe pods, 65 green pods (avg. 22/plant)
scorpion: 8 plants, 17 ripe pods, 0 green pods (avg. 2/plant)
fatalii peach: 4 plants, 11 ripe pods, 8 green pods (avg. 5/plant)
hab jam hot choc: 1 plant, 7 ripe pods, 14 green pods (avg. 21/plant)
bahamian goat: 3 plants, 23 ripe pods, 11 green pods (avg. 11/plant)
chocolate bhutlah: 3 plants, 16 ripe pods, 0 green pods (avg. 5/plant)

(totals include all peppers picked, counted from photos. 20-30% may have been discarded at processing time due to mold/rot, and some peppers were not recorded here as they were tossed immediately due to excessive mushiness or earwig/insect holes)


here is a typical pull, i picked roughly this volume of peppers of varying varieties every 7-10 days from the first ripe ones (don’t remember what day that was) until october 30, when i pulled everything including unripe pods. November 2 we had a couple inches of snow come down.


here is the final pic of all the peppers i got from this season. A large freezer bag each of ripe jalapenos and habaneros, a third of a bag of unripe mixed peppers, and at right are sandwich ziplocs of dehydrated pods: 1. habs, 2. mix of fatalii/scorpion/goat, 3. mix of choc. bhutlah and h.j.h.c., and 4. on the plate is jalapenos. All of the powders i made turned out very delicious, and although they clump up and i have to bang the shakers on the counter before dispensing, it’s dope to have several different types of hot pepper flakes available to sprinkle on any given meal.


thanks for taking a look at my weak-ass glog, i promise the next one will be better. I am excited already (spoiler alert: bought my own gear, started early as i knew i must, and so far 26/60 sprouted in 10 days). I’ll try and get that posted up this weekend, because i have some questions how to proceed. See you there...


Extreme Member
Nice summary of your 2021 season. I'm sure
you will ramp up your game this season.
I imagine the 'landscaping' soil was not really
meant for garden use. Probably more suited
for shrubs. etc. A couple of years ago a yard
of really good garden mix was running around
$40. Even at that, I added horticultural pumice
or perlite to the mix to improve aeration.