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thoroughburro 2022

Many thanks to those who indulged in my long winnowing process. I had assumed space would be my limiting factor, but it was calculating how much soil would cost that convinced me to narrow my focus yet again. After some heartbreaking cuts, the plan is now locked in! I just put the first seeds in for an H2O2 soak in advance of sowing tomorrow. Let’s go!

Capsicum flexuosum seeds

Capsicum flexuosum seeds

  • Numbers refer to desired number of containers per variety
  • Two individuals per container, to increase diversity
  • 5 gallon containers, unless noted
Sowing Schedule

Sat Jan 8

2 Capsicum flexuosum, wild

Sat Feb 5

4 NuMex Trick-or-Treat
4 Ají Dulce Rojo
4 Ají Dulce Margariteño Yellow
4 Hot Paper Lantern
4 Scotch Bonnet TFM
4 Bonda Ma Jacques
4 Bahamian Goat
4 Jamaican Hot Chocolate

2 Rocoto Mini Olive

2 Ají Amarillo, 10 gallon

Sat Feb 19

4 Ají Fantasy Orange, unstable
2 Ají Norteno
2 Ají Amarillo Baby
4 Ají Pineapple

Sat Mar 5

2 Romanian Rainbow
2 NuMex Heritage Big Jim
4 Jalapeño Zapotec

2 Chiltepin Hermosillo Dwarf, 2 gallon, wild
2 Jigsaw, 2 gallon, ornamental
2 Bolivian Rainbow, 2 gallon, ornamental
2 NuMex Centennial, 2 gallon, ornamental


Extreme Member
The majority of pellets are bone dry. This is despite being kept at 100% humidity (condensation under dome), and regularly applying water (to what I now realize were suspiciously “thirsty” seedlings; in fact, the water was simply running through due to the rewettability issues with peat).
I haven't used those pellets, but I've learned that (the presence/absence of) signs of condensation are not always a reliable criterium. I lift up the pot to know how dry it is, which works best if you "know" your potting mixture.


Extreme Member
Good that you caught the dryness issue when you did.
Hoping that you salvage efforts are successful.
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Looks like the chinense group has pretty much done all it’s going to do… not too surprising after fully drying out, but it leaves me with big gaps in my grow. The hardest to stomach is Habanero Oxkutzcabense, which was meant to be my main sauce pepper, with the recipe already trialed and ready. Just one, sickly germination which I will likely not grow. If RFC is selling live plants of this variety around May, I will probably go that route. I really wanted to grow from seed, though.

Other losses:

1 container of Hot Paper Lantern, down from 4 planned.
1 Ají Dulce Margariteño Yellow, down from 4.
2 Ají Dulce Rojo, down from 4.
2 Bahamian Goat, down from 4.
1 Biquinho Red, down from 2.
1 Tobago Treasure, down from 2.
1 Datil, down from 2.

And, with this group called, here are the figures. Each number is a seed which germinated at that number of days since sowing.

NuMex Trick-or-Treat
9, 10, 10, 11, 11, 12, 12, 14, 17

Ají Jobito
10, 11, 12, 12, 12, 13, 14, 14, 17, 18, 18

Pimenta de Cheiro Luna
8, 9, 10, 10, 10, 11, 11

Ají Dulce Rojo
12, 14, 15, 18, 19

Ají Dulce Margariteño Yellow
17, 18, 19

Biquinho Red
12, 12, 13

Naga Smooky Rainbow
11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19

Tobago Treasure
17, 18

13, 19

Hot Paper Lantern
9, 18

Habanero Oxkutzcabense

Bonda Ma Jacques
9, 10, 10, 11, 13, 17

Scotch Bonnet TFM
9, 9, 11, 11, 12, 13, 13, 14, 14, 14, 14, 15

Bahamian Goat
9, 10, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18

Rocoto Mini Olive (the oddball pubescens hanging out with my chinense)
9, 10, 12, 16

My hypothesis is that the peat began to dry out on day 18 or 19, so varieties which germinate quicker than that have a normal-looking curve, whereas any which needed more time were cut short by drought.

In better news, the baccatum/annuum group stayed more hydrated and the baccatums are going absolute gangbusters, with the annuums not far behind (apart from African Bird Orange, which might skunk me). I begin to see what people mean about baccatum being easy; they all leapt up within just a few days of each other, most in under a week since sowing!
I had intended to grow at least one example each of the five main domesticates. In the current plan, only frutescens is missing.

The Seed Train came through beautifully, and I just finished sowing Ají Caballero (naturalized Puerto Rican frutescens often used to make pique, a ubiquitous infused vinegar) and CGN 22184 (a peach-ripening pepper from Brazil with both chinense and frutescens characteristics).

Since I was sowing anyway, and being antsy to have seeds in a medium I trust, I went ahead with the remaining grow. To compensate for my losses, I added some of my reserve chinense. I also ordered more Oxkutzcabense seeds; nobody seems to sell live plants of it, and I’m determined to grow it this year, even if the harvest gets cut short.

Here’s what hit that sweet, sweet coir…


Frontera Sweet (this was my second choice to Margariteño for a mild bonnet-alike)
Datil (Pure Florida sent plenty of seeds, though including molded ones, so I used the rest of the packet)
Habanero Marobie (second choice to Oxkutzcabense)
Habanero Big Sun (third choice to Ox)
Bonda Ma Jacques (had backup seeds)
Freeport Orange (drop in replacement for the Bahamian Goat, reputedly; it’ll be interesting to compare, as well as shore up my sauce peppers)


Ají Caballero
CGN 22184


Chiltepin Hermosillo Dwarf
Bird’s Eye Baby (a dwarf pequin)
Yellow Pequin
Jigsaw (white and purple variegated foliage)

Rainbow Evaluation:

NuMex Centennial
NuMex Twilight
Bolivian Rainbow
Chinese Five Color (seeking its Chinese name, I was happy to find it’s a rare example of good naming: the pepper is called wǔcǎi, which does indeed mean “[the] five colors”)


Ahhh, that’s more like it. 😎🥥🌴
The baccatums have finished germinating and the culinary annuums are only a day or two away. Look at the germination numbers on the baccatum; they basically leapt out of the ground!

Ají Fantasy Orange
4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 8

Ají Pineapple
5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10

Sugar Rush Stripey
3, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10

CAP 455
6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9

Blended Lemon
5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8

Ají Amarillo Baby
4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6

Again, I don’t keep exact count of seeds planted, but from memory the majority of these reached 100% germination, certainly no less than 95% across the group. 😆

I predict Sugar Rush Stripey will hold onto the early germination crown this year, at just three days… wow!
I’ve called it for the culinary annuums and just finished transplanting them and the baccatums into nursery pots. With everything in a medium I understand better, the grow is truly back on track.

Now, a confession! As wiser heads gently implied, I’ve wronged the Jiffy pellets. You may have noticed my goofy popsicle stick labeling on the first trays… on the very first tray, the chinense group, those actually prevented the dome from fitting, leaving a good half inch gap. I waffled about it for a few days before deciding to trim the sticks to size.

It had completely slipped my mind until yesterday, since at first it seemed to harm nothing. But that, along with less-than-complete pellet hydration, must have been enough to push them past rewettability. For the following tray, the baccatum and culinary annuum group, the sticks were trimmed and the domes fit from the start. And those germinations went very well.

So, I apologize to the venerable Jiffy company. And actually, I feel a lot better knowing it was my fault. I can fix my faults, but dodgy products wrecking work is a slap in the face. I’m glad that wasn’t the case after all.

Anyway, let’s see the germination numbers for the culinary annuums!

NuMex Heritage Big Jim
7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 10, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11

Jalapeño Zapotec
5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 11

Romanian Rainbow
7, 7, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 11, 12

Quadrato d’Asti Giallo
6, 7, 9, 9

African Bird Orange

I’m fairly happy with these results. The d’Asti only reached about 40% germination, but it’s enough for my needs. It’s strange that the African Bird Orange didn’t germinate, but if I had to choose one to miss out on, this would have been it; and I’ve probably slightly overplanted in response to my losses, so it works out well in the end.

Here are the baccatum (foreground) and culinary annuum (right background). A few are drooping from being handled, but they’ll straighten up by tomorrow.



Extreme Member
Glad you were able to figure out what
the problem was with the first tray.
My partner was potting up some stuff and wanted gardening company, and I did leave a few cells in the plug tray open just in case, so…

Biquinho Red (forgot I had backup seeds of this, yay)
Ají Charapita
Ají Cristal Golden

It’s solidly too many peppers, and these aren’t even the last; the backup Oxkutzcabense arrive next week.

On the other hand, my parents live a few blocks away, so I can expand into their (albeit shady) yard and claim it as “keeping in touch”. 😉
My partner was potting up some stuff and wanted gardening company, and I did leave a few cells in the plug tray open just in case, so…

Biquinho Red (forgot I had backup seeds of this, yay)
Ají Charapita
Ají Cristal Golden

It’s solidly too many peppers, and these aren’t even the last; the backup Oxkutzcabense arrive next week.

On the other hand, my parents live a few blocks away, so I can expand into their (albeit shady) yard and claim it as “keeping in touch”. 😉

Sounds like someone skipped the monthly gathering at the chileheads anonymus again... :shame:
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The last of the culinary peppers, the replacement Habanero Oxkutzcab, were sown four days ago. NuMex Halloween doesn’t need to be ripe until October, so I’ll sow it after plant out when I have more room indoors. Then that’s everything for this year!

The germination tray is currently host to four species and three different sowing dates, so the results are uneven:


I’m far happier with how this tray is going than either of the Jiffy pellet attempts. I’ll wait to comment on the germination numbers until the whole tray is done. In the photo, the seedlings are drying in the wind after a watering; it has been waaaay easier to gauge and maintain moisture in the coir.

Also, I think I spoke too soon when I claimed the drying mishap didn’t set the plants back too far. Although they remain outwardly healthy, the plants that were worst hit are progressing at a snail’s pace compared to those which didn’t dry as badly. For example, Naga Smooky Rainbow is making visible progress every day:


Whereas the single of the original Habanero Oxkutzcab that germinated is certainly growing, but it will really need to pick up the pace to not be left behind:


Notice the second sprout in the pot: I “planted” an ungerminated-seed-containing clod of Jiffy pellet along with the loner on the unlikely hope that the seeds, even having already rehydrated and been introduced to soil fungus and such, would survive the second drying out and rehydration to germinate on a second go round.

I’m surprised it worked, but sure enough this little guy popped up two days ago. It will be interesting to see if it also experiences slowed growth or if it managed to stay in or return to dormancy and dodge the drought. If so, an excellent example of how variable germination, although frustrating to us, is to the plant’s advantage in working around disaster.
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Extreme Member
I have to agree, @thoroughburro, there is a certain
logic to how plants react to various stressors. I usually
find the do better if I am patient and let them do their
own thing with less well-intentioned interference from me!
My reaction to my carefully trimmed grow list, itself an attempt at responsibility, being roughly cut back by the twin editors of Inexperience and Misfortune is to in future allow myself to sow widely and indiscriminately.

I’d prefer to think, “well, I didn’t have room anyway” if something goes wrong than scramble to cover a shortage. I know enough folks who might want extras, or will at least accept them and not mention they’re going right in the bin. 😉
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It was a big weekend in the grow room!

I transplanted nearly everything in the germination tray, as most of it had long since finished and hints of true leaves were appearing. Remaining are: Habanero Oxkutzcab, which is juuust wrapping up germination and will be transplanted in a few days; Biquinho Red, which I can now say is simply a late germinator at 14 days average across two seed sources, pre-soaked and heated; and finally NuMex Centennial, which I suspect will skunk me. More on that if it does.

I also sowed the few non-peppers (two dwarf tomatoes, a cucumber, an eggplant, some herbs), so those will set a limit on the laggards. When they’re done, the transplants will need the space where the tray was. We’re full up, folks! And I will almost certainly need to cut / cull a bit more as growth takes off, but that shouldn’t be hard because…

I’m still seeing a mixture of rapid growth, steady progress, and near dormancy. I won’t post photos of everything because, frankly, the pepper fields are formidable at the moment! Three full shelves of lighting, plus four pots invading the succulent shelves. Here are some notably robust specimens and one from the stalled group, to give a general idea…

Naga Smooky Rainbow, swiftly becoming the star of the grow with its strong, healthy growth and intricate patterning. The purple genetics really set themselves apart at this phase, when only foliage is on display:



The other member of the grow with strong foliar anthocyanin is Jigsaw, one of the purple-plus-variegation types which produce splendid green, white, and purple foliage (Bellingrath Gardens and Scarlett’s Chilli are others I’m aware of). It’s among those transplanted this weekend, and I was happy to see confirmation that the variegation is present:


Ají Amarillo Baby, which exploded upward in a way unlike the other baccatums I’m growing. Maybe this is that tall / lanky habit I’ve heard about and the others happen to all be the bushier habit. Not the best angle to display it, but these just had their pots topped off with about 3/4” more soil up the stems, and they’re still taller than anything else:


Scotch Bonnet TFM, trucking along and living up to its reputation as an easy grower:


And standing in for all those that remain stalled, Bahamian Goat, which looks not much different from the day it was transplanted:


Not unhealthy, exactly, but just not growing. I hope they make my life difficult, but if they make the cuts obvious later, that’s fine too. The grow abides.