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PeriPeri's Grow 13/14/15/2016: South African

Welcome to PeriPeri's Grow 13/14/15/2016: South Africa
If you would like to see the 2012/2013 Grow, you can see it Here

First a little info about our country:

South Africa is situated at the very southern tip of the African continent. Our country ranges a divers spectrum of cultures and religions and of course habitats. Our country is flanked by the Atlantic on the SW coast line and the Indian Ocean on the NE coast line. Our diverse habitats range from tropical to sub saharan and even desert up north. One thing is for sure, the high summer temperatures and generally mild winter temperatures mean that our country does offer a great opportunity to grow chillies (among other things). To those who are not familiar with our country, Africa probably conjurs up images of harsh barren landscapes with dry baked un-fertile soil and wild animals roaming all over the place. South Africa is probably one of the most established african countries with a large farming sector and loads of fertile soil.

The locality of where this grow will take place is largely situated inland near Pretoria. Altitude here is about 4000ft above sea level. We are talking mild winters with some frost early mornings (temperatures drop at night due to altitude). Daytime temps in winter are round about 21ºC and night time temps can drop as low as -4ºC on a very cold night. There is no rain on the "Highveldt" as we call it in winter. As a rule of thumb all months of the year without an "R" do not have rain. These are our dry months, which go from May till August. Our summer is also our rainy season. This goes from September till April. Temperatures in Pretoria in Summer vary 30ºC - 40ºC daytime to a low of 17ºC on average at night. While there is often long dry spells without rain, rains usually accumulate as huge thunderstorms that bring flash floods, hail and sever lightning.

The farm has a borehole which provides water for the garden. Although at present there is no irrigation system. One of my projects for this year.

Animal wise, we have loads of insects, snakes, scorpions, spiders, primates (Baboons and Vervet Monkeys) as well as Carnivores such as Jackals, Rooicats (mountain lion) and other smaller wild cats. But as far as chillies go, the monkeys and baboons are the biggest problem as they do eat the milder chillies and destroy plants while foraging. There are no traps big enough for monkeys and generally they are very clever to get around most deterrents, so full enclosure with shade netting is the best way.

Other than this, I would say that while there has been much bad publicity about the country in the press, our country is a beautiful country with diversity everywhere, the land, the people, the cultures and the religions. Hence our country is called the rainbow nation. Most famous person is probably Nelson Mandella who established our new democracy in the New South Africa after the apartheit era. Our country is a young democracy in the making - but most of all, our country is a diverse and beautiful country with much to offer and of course home of the Big 5, Blue Whale and Great White Shark... and much much more. Just a quick and very narrow snapshot of what our wonderful country is about!

Last years experience has given me a better understanding of growing at the farm and these are the pitfalls from my exercise last year.

Generally last year was a great season. Great weather - hot and dry. Lots of mistakes made, but things that will not be repeated. Last year we had about 78 different varieties of chillies. We had an estimated 1000 plants in the soil. Last season was our first season growing in the soil and based on previous experiences with growing in pots... I will say adieu to pots and hello soil.

1) Watering. As mentioned there is no irrigation. Water is available a plenty, but regular watering in these hot climates is a must. So for me, I will be looking closely at getting some sort of a watering system up and running. Added problem is that the farm is located about 1 hour from where I live, so watering every day during the week was reliant on staff at the farm watering ever second day during the week. Staffing issues resulted in the loss of quite a few plants due to non watering. So irrigation and a computer will be priority.

2) Season. Last year we started planting seedlings late October/Early November. This year we aim to be in the soil early October. Germination started earlier this season beginning July. I have also acquired a green house which I will use for the seedlings.

3) Planting. Last year planting got into a big muddle. This year I will be more methodical. Also, we planted too close. We found that this becomes a problem when harvesting. We did not feel that last years approach of planting two seedlings together being a problem. We did not notice any significant lower yield with plants that had been planted together as opposed to individually. And found that the cohabitation of plants together (in pairs) actually helped in areas where seedlings were exposed to direct sun. In fact, cohabitation resulted in better growth and larger plants.

4) Spacing. Last year we planted seedlings approx 45cm apart. We would like to extend this to 60cm as we found 45cm to be too dense. We were happy with using channels and rows which helped retain water for approx two - three days between watering and helped channel any run off out of the field. Also, there was no pooling or puddling which was better I think.

5) Insects/monkeys/Snails. Mostly cutworm issues with small seedlings. We will tackle this by using (Stickman's stick method) and through pellets - if need be. Pepper maggots: We suffered quite extensively with Pepper Maggots. We will implement sacrificial boundary plants, fly tapes and beer traps (not for me but the wasps). Monkeys: Plant inside enclosures only. We will be looking at extending the current shade net enclosure, but will need to raise funding for this. Giant African Land Snail: Amazing buggers these. We found lots but only a few that had dug into the plants root system to suck the minerals from plant roots. Not much of a threat as these were just removed by hand, but the enclosure goes a long way to preventing them from getting in.

6) Weeds. Last year we had a problem with weeds. Weeds were time consuming at the start of the season and probably brought about by the application of horse manure. We will try and look at applying some kind of ground cover to reduce weeds, but this will be advised at a later stage.

7) Planting. Last year we took young seedlings and planted them in a nursery. Once big enough we transplanted them densely in the inside enclosed garden (which has 40% shade cloth) and then transplanted the young plants to the open fields once about 15 - 20cm in size. We would like to cut out all the extra work and transplanting, which we found to just delay growth. Every time you transplant, the plant growth is set back... so we will be planting directly into the plants final destination. This means we will be waiting for the pants to get to 15-20cm in size before planting in the soil. Last season we planted seedlings in the soil when they were very small and this also resulted in losses through cutworm.

8) Fertilizers. Nothing hectic. The soil at the farm is incredibly rich and fertile soil. But we found last year that Seaweed and Fish fertilizers to be brilliant and totally harmless. So we will definitely be sticking with this recipe. Out of time constraint, last season, pellets were applied to the surface as opposed to mixing the pellets into the soil around the base of the plant, so this season we will try and do this properly. We alo will pay particular attention to maintaining the mounds around the root base and regularly loosening the soil. With our flash floods and heavy downpours the mounds do flatten and the soil becomes compacted. This results in roots being exposed, water running off the soil as opposed to into the soil and ultimately impacting on the plants optimal growth.

9) Support. Last year we added support as the plants became bigger. Not knowing how big some of the plants would get. We have a better idea this year and will be implementing supports at the beginning. We have two types of bamboo on the farm and will be using the harder thinner bamboo as this does not disturb the roots as much.

10) Drink. More beer. Last year we did not have nearly enough beer to get us through the backbreaking work... so there will have to be more beer for sure :) Just one more thing on that, Nature is an amazing process. Trust in nature. Everything has its place and jumping to intervene (which we always want to do) is sometimes the worst thing that we can do. Plants are very forgiving once established and a lot more resilient than we give them credit for. So chill. Have a beer when the nerves are frayed and you want to reach for the napalm. Nature is amazing most of the time and things in nature have survived a million times over. For aphids there are ladybirds. For insects there are the birds... if you napalm the aphids, the ladybirds will go... just chill and have a beer :) This is my theory and I am sticking to it lol

Ok, lots on the cards this year. plenty to do and arrange and it will be kicking off shortly. The plants from last year are still in the garden and field. I only over wintered the special plants. Of these there are 100 mature plants that I rescued from the winter frost. The other 900 plants are still in the soil. It looks like armageddon in the fields. Some plants have been taken by the frost for sure, but others are showing signs of life. I plan to go this week to weed out the dead plants from the survivors and prune dead wood. I am planning to rearrange things somewhat, so once I have established the survivors, I will be transplanting those plants to get order back into the fields. This will allow me to get the vacant land ready for new plants.

As mentioned germination is well under way. Propagator has been fired up now for month and a bit and seedlings are coming along just great. First week of October will be my D-Day for planting.

Loads of exciting new chillies on the go this season. I had intended to cut down on the number of plants this year... but guess what :D

Grow List 2013/2014

Aji Lemon
Angkor Sunrise
Antilaise Caribbean
Baby Belle Pimento
Bahamian Goat
Bali Long
Bali Naga
Bhut Jolokia
Bhut Jolokia Cappuccino
Bhut Jolokia Chocolate
Bhut Jolokia Peach
Bhut Jolokia X Habanero Giant White
Big Jim
Bile Bile (Zimbabwean PeriPeri)
Bishops Crown
Black Pearl
Bonda Ma Jacques
Boriya Mirch
Cabe Merah
Calapeño Thunder
California Wonder Golden
Carolina Reaper
Joe's Long Cayenne
Cherry Sweet
Cherry Bomb
Cheyenne X Thai
Condom (Aji Verde)
Devil's Tongue Brown
Devil's Tongue White
Ecuadorian Sweet
Explosive Embers
Facing Heaven
Fatalii Red
Fatalii White
Fatalii Yellow
Fidalga Roxa
Fish Pepper
Goronong Cili
Habanero Big Sun
Habanero Champagne
Habanero Gambia
Habanero Golden
Habanero Paper Lantern
Habanero Peach Long
Habanero Red
Habanero Large White
Habanero White Jellybean
Hong Kong
Hot Pixies
Hungarian Hot Wax
Hungarian Sweet Wax
Hungarian White Apple
Jalapeño El Jefe
Jamaican Gold
Long Thai
Makulu Peri
Manzano Orange
Mata Frade
Naga King Jolokia
Naga Morich (European)
Naga Morich (Indian)
Naga Viper
Orange Blob
Pasilla Bajio
Pata Pario
PeriPeri (Mozambique)
PeriPeri (Malawi)
PeriPeri (SA)
Phuli Jiyoti
Pimenta de Neyde
Purple Tiger
Red Savina
Ring of Fire
CARDI Yellow Scorpion
Scarlet Lantern
Scotch Bonnet
Scotch Bonnet Peach Long
Thai Dragon
Trinidad 7 Pot Barrakpore
Trinidad 7 Pot Jonah X Trinidad Scorpion ButchT
Trinidad 7 Pot Primo
Trinidad 7 Pot Brainstrain
Trinidad 7 Pot Burgundy
Trinidad 7 Pot Douglah
Trinidad 7 Pot Jonah
Trinidad 7 Pot Red
Trinidad 7 Pot White
Trinidad Scorpion ButchT
Trinidad Scorpion Moruga
Trinidad Perfume
Trinidad Scorpion ButchT X Bhut Jolokia
Trinidad Scorpion ButchT X Trinidad 7 Pot Primo
Trinidad Scorpion ButchT X Moruga
Trinidad Scorpion CARDI Yellow X Bhut Jolokia
Trinidad Scorpion Long Tail
Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Chocolate
Trinidad Scorpion Sunrise
Trinidad Scorpion Yellow FG
Tuscan Frgitello (Pepperoncini)
122 different types - I hope that will be it :D
Thank you to Stickman for the seeds. Thank you to Conor for his seeds and thank you to Meatfreak for the amazing selection he sent. I am still hoping that Walkgood's package will arrive - so thanks for those in advance my friend!
PeriPeri said:
So just because quite a few seeds were a no show and there were some I forgot, I am busy presoaking another 126 varieties :shh:
I ask you why?? :banghead:
"Hi my name is PerPeri and I am a chillihead".... :D
Hahaha, too funny!!
That is a lot though...good luck with them all.
A big :party: shout out to my good friend Spicegeist - Thank you Charles for your very amazing and generous gift of seeds!! :onfire:  These will be treasured.


The first pod this season will without a doubt be the overwintered Guajilo!

Overwintered Costeno Amarillo...

Pods starting up

7Pot Burgundy... overwintered also... did really well through winter and is just an absolute powerhouse. It's going to be a great plant for sure.

More seeds presoaking in big bertha :)

Cranking up that temperature to speed up germination. A little late... but still doable I think.
I have put one of the Rocotos into the green house to see if it will do better still in this hot shaded space. The one outside seems to be doing just great, but seeing I have two I am going to play :)

My overwintered Chintexle was looking very spindly, so I have recently topped it a little and it seems to be doing the trick.


I also have an overwintered Pequin that also has just been topped as it was just looking quite sparse...



First couple of plants have now been transplanted into their individual pots for planting at the farm.

Pimenta de Neyde

Purple Jalapeño flowering

Overwintered Cabe Merah... love this annuum. Such a beautiful plant when laiden with those twirly red chillies and such a tasty and versatile chilli as a whole...




This Baby Belle Pimento basically seeded itself. Its a joke to think we pamper these little guys and they don't germinate or they just die. This guy here grew through our 4 months of no water, sub zero temperatures - in soil that is as hard as concrete... and its loving it lol Nature is extracting the urine by the gallon I think!

These pictures are for Penny :party:
Thanks Lourens.....those pics are amazing and you are going to be super busy with all that!! :dance:
Are you going to be offering up seeds from some of those plants :party:  ;)
Penny said:
Thanks Lourens.....those pics are amazing and you are going to be super busy with all that!! :dance:
Are you going to be offering up seeds from some of those plants :party:  ;)
Hello Penny,
Thank you  - and for you of course. Please let me know which varieties you are interested in and PM me ;)
Piping hot here this summer. This weekend was an absolute scorcher withv temps reaching 33ºC in the shade. I know that a lot of you will say, you get hotter... but for us here it is exceptionally hot. Johannesburg is actually one of the coolest spots around South Africa. Our average temp in summer I would say is somewhere between 26 and 28ºC, with lots of rain in summer. It gets much hotter in other parts of the country. I think a lot has to do with our high altitude (±6000 feet). Luckily for us our nights are very refreshing as there is quite a large varience between day and night time temps. Temps drop to a good 15ºC at night, sometimes can go as high as 18ºC, but then we all complain about the heat again lol
But this summer there is much romouring about El Ninio here. And it has. This summer has started off with a hectic heat wave that saw the first two weeks of early summer. The expected rains have not materialised. It is hot and dry and although we have had a few drops of rain, our proper summer thunder showers have not really materialised. But, not too bothered about the rains as them chillies like it hot and dry.
Plants are coming along nicely now. At the same time, we are preparing the fields at the farm. I am a little late this summer for planting, but I am thinking that letting the seedlings mature a little longer can not be a bad thing either. Temps at the farm are totally different from Johannesburg, with temps in the high 30's and mid to high 20's for night time temps. It is also very humid there as opposed to Joburgs dry air. Thanks to a very large lake in the adjacent valley at the farm, the air is super humid... which seems to go down well with the plants.
Lots still to do, have to get all the extended grow area shade netted and getting quite excited about getting these babies in the soil now :)
After all the praise and glory of the weather report, we were hit by a totally freak weather pattern that came up from the South pole I guess. Day time temps not so bad, but night time went as low as 6ºC. I know it's not hectic, but just cold enough I guess. This is very unusual for us in November! Anyway, all good. I took the wild babies inside... sadly my biggest Lanceolatum was having none of it and is looking pretty crap right now! I have added a little water and put it in the propagator again... although we had an 8 hour power blackout last night as well... so there was not much I could have done to help the situation :)
Ontop of this, I'm having website hassles. Second time in about a month. Life does have some challenges for sure!

lol and I see my links to the pictures in this glog are affecyted by this too lol... nice one!

One more thing to add to the list!
Strength pepper lovers, strength!
Good news is the cold front is gone and now we are heading into a heat wave lol. At least I seem to think this is good :)
Some more pics - although a little boring. I am afraid that until I take these babies accross to the farm, it will be just the poverwintered plants and the same old culptits. But none the less... some sunnt, warm pod porn lol
You will remember the Tepin in the greenhouse. Its warm and humid in there and direct light only mornings an mid to late afternoon. I topped it a little while ago.. and it's definately looking much better.

Same with the Chintexle... looking much bushier since lobbing off the top. I could probably have chopped it lower, but I'm too much of a chilli hugger to do such drastic things to my plants :)

And its gifting me with just one flower. I have added some Talbourne, which is a great organic fert available locally. Stinks to hell and gone, but does the trick. It comes in three different forumaltions aimed at seedlings, growth and lastly bloom. I shall use some of the bloom and fruit mix onto the plant to get it to throw more flowers I think.

The Rocoto is also showing signs of flowering in the green house and aslo seems to be enjoying this new home. The Rocotos outside are showings signs of stress with the fierce sun.

One odd looking Naga plant. I left the one blanch which was very long. I should probably lob that off, but I just cant bring myself to do it lol

C. Rhomboideum

C. Laceolatum
Sadly one of my plants (the biggest one ofcourse) got nailed by white fly I think... I still have two... but they are so very small and not doing much :(

If any one has any experience growing these and any recommendations - it's welcome :D

C Praetermissum

C. Galapagoense

C. Eximium

These two little fellas I spotted growing out of bone dry coco peat in a pile of stacked seedling trays... that I was about to throw out as nothing had happened!
Cumari Pollux Yea!

Outside in the garden, the new flock are progressing nicely... almost ready to go across to the farm...

I built this outside nursery for all the new seedlings with gum poles and shade netting. I also built it raised off the ground as slugs and drainage have been an issue in the past. The short time these seedling trays were on the grass, I lost a few plants to slugs already. They sit under the trays during the day and hunt at night (bastages). Just as an extra measure, I poured salt rocks around the legs of the structure. Not even Tom Cruse could get up there ;)
Piment de Neyd... blackening up nicely now. Can't wait to get these seedlings into the farm soil. They will just explode me thinkst!

I have focused this season on a lot of the unusual fring varieties I think. And I black plants... I have only ever grown the Black Pears... so this season there are quite a few of the black chillies on the go.
A lot of the overwintered plants will probably stay at home. One always needs chilli plants close by for emergencies :D


7 Pot Burgundy doing its thing

Naga King hybrid

Quite a few flowers and pods on this plant :)

So that is about it for now. I have another few seeds on the go... so more to come. I have presoaked and pumped up the heat of the last batch of seeds and am getting seedlings in 4 days now. Have to speed things along with this last batch... if you guys up north can do it with one month of summer, heres hoping I can get those to bear fruit by May :pray:
PeriPeri said:
Thank you Dragonsfire, the season has not kicked off yet... but things will get real interesting soon ;)
My god you are going to be busy busy busy!!! Are you growing any tomatoes this year?