• Blog your pepper progress. The first image in your first post will be used to represent your Glog.

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!

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Jigsaw, seen here edited in from June 2022, became iconic of the grow

Notes
  • 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
 
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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
I have some pods worth showing. First of all, making an early appearance way out in front of the other chinense, the ongoing spotlight-stealer of the grow: Naga Smooky Rainbow.

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I’m crossing my fingers it works well in the kitchen, because it has simply been a delight to grow in every respect. If it’s tasty as well, it will be a mainstay in years to come.

Chinese Five Colors, an ornamental annuum, isn’t far ahead:

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And let’s round this out as a look at the all the purple guys by checking in with Jigsaw, another ornamental annuum:

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Its sibling container has juuust set fruit, no real pod yet as such. This one is displaying the most purple-on-white foliage, the main feature of the variety. It’s certainly neat, but so far I get more of a “jungle camo” vibe than anticipated; sort of messy and confusing to the eye. I might prefer the simpler white and green variegation of Fish Pepper and the like.
 
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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
I noticed an issue affecting just the new growth on certain of the baccatum and the pubescens, while watering today.

A baccatum:
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And pubescens:
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To me, it looks like a nutrient issue. I would have guessed calcium again, but additional calcium (in the form of Calcium Ammonium Nitrate) has been part of their regular watering since last time I suspected that. Last time was new growth warping off to one side on a fast growing annuum, however, and it did seem corrected by the CAN. This time the annuums, still fast growers, are notably unaffected. A few of the chinense are maaaybe showing this same thing, but not to any concerning degree.

Anyone seen the same thing or have a good guess?

Y’all, I think I may be fooling myself that this condition is on the mend. What do you think? These photos aren’t of exactly the same spots as above, but they’re representative enough.

A baccatum:
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A pubescens:
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I don’t have a better theory of disease than calcium uptake issues caused by soil pH, but I’m going to buy a soil test kit along with more garden lime to make sure I’m on the right track.
 

thoroughburro

Extreme Member
An alternate, perhaps unlikely theory: it has been very windy lately, and our lot tends to amplify winds rather than break them. The peppers have been bending and twisting like champions and adapting well (meanwhile, a gust nearly knocked me over yesterday), but it must be posing transpiration issues to some degree. I’ve read about wind-caused stress of various types, but haven’t seen a clear description of symptoms or any photos.
 

thoroughburro

Extreme Member
Hello pfeffer friends, I’m past due for a decent update and some photos. I’ve been waiting to have some sort of resolution to my nutrient problem, and things are finally looking up, so here we go!

The good news is that prevention in the future will be easy: care more about soil composition. If my soil had been a reasonable pH and included some form of slow release feed, this wouldn’t have happened in the first place. I’ll give my best guess at exactly what happened, for those troubleshooting similar issues.

1. I was using barely enough liquid nutrients when watering, considering my (peat and pine bark) soil is essentially barren. That was intentional since this method of growing is what I’m used to (albeit in slightly less acidic coir), but given my previous experience is with slow-growing cactuses and succulents it turns out I was erring on the side of too little.

2. That likely wouldn’t have done much more than slow growth, except that my soil was also just a little too acidic. As a result, the telltale signs of calcium deficiency were quick to show up. I now know that, while warped and canoeing new growth is indeed a solid sign of calcium deficiency, calcium deficiency itself is the first visual sign of general nutrient deficiency since it dramatically effects new growth. As such, it’s not necessarily wise to fixate on calcium just because that’s the only deficiency visible, as I did.

3. Having thus fixated on calcium, I focused my efforts on raising the soil pH using garden lime (which provides calcium at the same time as the rising pH makes it accessible). This was a good and probably necessary move, BUT: because I hadn’t yet realized this was only the first symptom of a general nutrient deficiency, I simultaneously backed even farther off my general nutrients, since they somewhat acidify the soil counterproductive to my goal of raising the pH.

4. For a few misguided days, I kept up that treatment, expecting a reduction in calcium deficiency symptoms to signal when the soil had improved enough to return to normal feeding. Instead, of course, the symptoms got worse as I was now starving the plants in general.

5. Finally, out of ideas, I tripled my feeding amount and watered deeply. The new growth was looking hopeful the next day and obviously on the road to recovery the day after.

A baccatum:
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A pubescens:
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They still look rough, obviously, but believe me: having watched day by day, they’re clearly on the mend.

I’ll be taking more photos throughout the day and will post a more general update tonight.
 
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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
Not everything by a long shot, but a good selection. Here’s what caught my eye today…

Rocoto Mini Olive, scraggly but recovering:
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CGN 22184:
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NuMex Heritage Big Jim, with a pod I missed the first couple days; it hugs the stem so well:
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Romanian Rainbow, really packing ‘em on:
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Jalapeño Zapotecs are podding up:
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NuMex Trick-or-Treat is showing a first pod, easy to miss in the right-hand shadows:
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Naga Smooky Rainbow, too dark to show up super well but they cut a nice silhouette:
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Habanero Oxkutzcabense:
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Scotch Bonnet TFM:
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Ají Jobito:
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Chiltepin Hermosillo Dwarf, before and after I gave up on waiting for it to fork naturally:
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Ají Charapita:
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Bird’s Eye Baby, so bushy for being just one individual in the pot:
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Bird’s Eye Baby other container, with two individuals:
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Jigsaw, couple inky pods visible near the center:
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Biquinho Red:
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The pests are nibbling a bit, but not enough to worry much (and there are predators visible), and I’m finding my footing with the soil and nutrients… hopefully next update will show bigger improvements and lusher foliage.
 

thoroughburro

Extreme Member
A couple more this holiday morning.

CAP 455. If this had won the Growdown Throwdown selection vote, I’d be set:
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At this unripe stage, these Naga Smooky Rainbow pods are genuinely difficult to discern as more than black. But when the sun hits them just right, you get a hint of what they’ll become:
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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
Watering just the vegetable garden manually is taking me three solid hours every two to three days, using my 4 gallon backpack sprayer (with spray nozzle detached the flow is gentle enough). Next year, I’ll look into either a dripline setup or, if that’s too pricey, maybe a 30 gallon tow-behind sprayer. For this season, I’ll just chalk it up to good exercise.

Last time we saw Jigsaw, I was deriding it for resembling “jungle camo” and being underwhelming in comparison to the Fish Pepper I grew last year. I think it overheard, because it took a turn for the better:

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After I took that, I decided it could use a slight trim, providing this closer view of the flowers; one area where it definitely has Fish Pepper beat:

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I’m going to try rooting those cuttings. I cut them into smaller, two-node segments; removed the flowers, buds, and the larger leaves; denuded and slightly scarred one node and the stem below it; painted the scars with rooting gel; and have them in little beakers, scarred bits below waterline. We’ll see!

After the haircut:

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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
I noticed a bunch of new pods, today. It’s amazing how well they hide under the foliage!

CAP 455:
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Scotch Bonnet TFM:
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Bahamian Goat, already demonstrating a lovely cup and saucer:
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NuMex Trick-or-Treat:
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Ají Jobito:
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And I haven’t shown a Jigsaw pod yet, even though it’s been podding for a while. It takes just the right light to show them up:
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I also posted some CGN 22184 pod shots in its thread.
 
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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
Yeah, I saw those threads during research on the variety. It did seem like there was a cooling of enthusiasm once the seeds actually got distributed and grown. Coming to it later, my conclusion was that it sounds like a really good mild chinense, but I won’t expect it to hit all the flavor notes from Nigel’s original review. 😉
 
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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
Whew! It’s been 98 F (37 C) in the shade and mid 50% humidity, the past couple days, and a couple more to go it looks like. I’ve had to water twice daily to keep up with transpiration, and they’re still basically dry by the next watering. I will definitely be setting up some kind of dripline, next year!

To avoid dropping dead, I’ve switched to watering with the hose rather than the 4 gallon backpack, but I’m still struggling to appreciate the majesty of nature after a sweat-drenched hour and a half! I’m going to try switching to a slow-release, Osmocote-style (Miracle Gro brand), water-in fertilizer and ditching the backpack for the rest of the year…
 
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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
An interesting side effect of, I’m assuming, the high temperatures: Rocoto Mini Olive flowers are losing their purple. Have any of you experienced the same?

Before heatwave:
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During heatwave:
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I have it in full shade for half the day, about the best I can do on this lot. It’s also the only plant with no signs of set fruit… I debated whether to use grow space on something unsuited to the local climate, and if it’s already struggling in June, hm. Might skip over pubescens, next year.

Also, a new pod! Ají Fantasy Orange, already showing the unique form which attracts me to the Fantasy series:

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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
I’ve used a few green jalapeños at this point, but Romanian Rainbow is in lead to become the first ripe culinary pepper (Chinese Five Color has a ripe pod, nabbing first overall):

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For a bell type, these have such an odd habit. They are very squat and bushy, with thick, strong stems and dense foliage:

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They’re shorter than half of the chinense! Yet underneath, they are more generously laden than our other bell, with its more traditional, taller habit.

The grocery store bells are getting smaller and more expensive at the same time, so I’m feeling good about using grow space on such a common pod type.
 

thoroughburro

Extreme Member
Jigsaw has definitely earned its place as an ornamental and will be grown again next year. I can take photos of it all day long.

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Say when! 😉

A few new pods to note. Almost everything is podding up to one degree or another, but getting a decent, in focus shot from within the foliage is tricky on some.

Biquinho Red:
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Ají Dulce Iquiteño Red:
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Ají Dulce Margariteño Yellow:
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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
I have a low level infestation of woolly aphids on about half the grow, probably. A gardening neighbor confirmed my identification and thinks they’re associated with the American Beech shade trees in the neighborhood. I think it’s being kept under control by a combination of showering them upside the leaves with the hose about twice a week and pruning affected growth as noticed.

Aside from that, the switch to an Osmocote-style tomato fertilizer has led to some signs of nutrient deficiency and a couple instances of blossom-end rot. The dosing guidelines were pretty vague, so I’m going to double the dose and observe for a while; probably just not enough nutrients. Again, next year I’ll be incorporating worm castings or some other compost in the soil to begin with!

I finally got an in focus shot of an Ají Caballero pod:

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It’s the only true frutescens I’m growing this year.

Habanero Oxkutzcabense is planned to be a primary sauce pepper, but the first seeds failed, were reordered, and restarted once arrived… so I’m especially glad to see it podding up:

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Bird’s Eye Baby pods are beginning to ripen:

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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
I got some decent detail shots of Ají Caballero, showing typical frutescens characteristics:

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And the ripe pods come trickling in. Romanian Rainbow, Bird’s Eye Baby, Chinese Five Color, Jigsaw, and Jalapeño Zapotec all have ripe pods now. Those are annuums, but joining them…

NuMex Trick-or-Treat with an early pod, and a good sized one at that:

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Scotch Bonnet TFM starting to turn, albeit a runt:

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I have hope for some decent sauce pepper crops in the first half of July!
 
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thoroughburro

Extreme Member
We ate the NuMex Trick-or-Treat this morning:

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The aroma was spicy and properly musky. My partner and I each ate half with a sprinkle of salt. The aroma is convincing enough that she made me go first. Yum! I can’t compare it to other mild chinense yet, as its my first, but it’s definitely fit for my purposes and far more flavorful than any grocery store habanero.

To me, it was completely heatless. My partner detected some very slight heat, but was confident even her most sensitive friends would call it mild.
 
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