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

thoroughburro 2023, kith and kitchen

I’m just a week or so away from my first round of seed starting, and The List has stabilized.

As the title suggests, I’m focusing on a more shareable garden, this year. My high heat tolerance is well satisfied by sauces and flakes, so it’ll be a mercy to others and not much sacrifice to me if I cook more with mild or heatless peppers and lean into condiments for my own spice satisfaction.

Capsicum annuum​

4 Gogoşar (pronounced “gogoshar”; also transliterated as gogosar, gogosari, etc), a heatless Romanian variety whose name is confusingly also used generically for red pepper. My partner has very fond memories of this large, pumpkin-shaped pepper being roasted and then stuffed or preserved. They’re also used fresh, like red bell pepper. I had to import these seeds from a Romanian seller on Ebay who at first resisted since US customers had been leaving bad reviews for unreliable shipping. I assured her I would leave a good review regardless of ever getting them. It all worked out, and now of course I’m that much more invested in growing the variety…

4 Quadrato d’Asti Giallo, a superlative, heatless yellow bell pepper from Asti, in northern Italy. I grew this last year and, although the pods were stunted in only 5 gallons of soil, I was extremely impressed with the thick flesh and excellent flavor. Together with Gogosar, these should account for most of our “vegetable pepper” usage.

4 NuMex Heritage 6-4, well known as a choice, but mild, New Mexican cultivar. I grew Big Jim last year, but it was too hot for my partner to enjoy when used as the base of, for example, chile verde.

4 Jalapeño Zapotec, nearly rejected for again being too hot for my jalapeño-popper-loving partner, it found a place as my primary fresh spice pepper for pico de gallo and other fresh salsas. I’d find a place for it regardless, really; I find it a very compelling pepper.

4 Jalapeño TAM, this is the jalapeño to hate if you despise the near-heatless jalapeño products which took over the mass market: it was developed by Texas A&M University to be a commercial (but open pollinated) crowd pleaser. It should be exactly right for my partner’s poppers, and thus allows me to grow my Zapotecs!

4 Chiltepin O’odham (pronounced something like “OH ohdahm”, the apostrophe representing a glottal stop; they’re fascinating), a really tempting chiltepin collected from a sacred mountain. I struggled to choose a chiltepin for the year, especially because my dried Chiltepin Hermosillo Dwarf from last year have been amazing… but I do want to see if the berries of a non-dwarf might be a bit bigger, and I’m a sucker for a good origin story.

4 Stavros, an apparently choice Greek pickling pepper of the general type known in the US as “golden Greek pepperoncini”. “Pepperoncini” terminology is an absolute minefield, which is a shame since so many of us developed an addiction to them in childhood (thank you for that if nothing else, Papa John’s). This seems to be the only specifically named cultivar widely available, so it was an easy choice.

Capsicum chinense​

4 Orange Habanero (SLP) and
4 Orange Habanero (CPI), let one of these be the harpoon which slays at last this white whale, please god! This will be the third year I attempt to accomplish the original goal of this now-major hobby, which was to replace my no-longer-locally-available favorite sauce (El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Kutbil-ik) with homemade. The first year, I began too late and only whetted my appetite; last year, I put all eggs in the Habanero Oxkutzcab basket, which was too fruity for purpose. I’ve realized I need a bog standard habanero for the sauce I crave. Hopefully one of these will do.

4 Habanada (also using seeds collected from @HellfireFarm), which will allow me to make a medium-heat, taste-alike version of my signature sauce for more sensitive friends and family. This technique, of substituting some of the spicy variety with a heatless version to make a mild sauce, works so well that the smell, texture, and damn near the flavor are almost identical to the real deal. I hope to slowly create more heatless varieties of sauce peppers to allow this for each sauce I make. Someday.

4 Bahamian Goat, which saved my bacon when Habanero Oxkutzcab proved unsuited. It’s bulletproof and super productive with no downsides. It would almost be hubris not to grow: oh, you think you’re so good you don’t need the Goat at your back? It’s a good luck pepper.

4 Hot Paper Lantern, which I failed to see through last year. These have an almost universally excellent reputation, and in general sound like another pepper with all pros and no cons. I tend to like those! In addition, Johnny’s offers a yet more lauded version which was apparently the pride and joy of one of their breeders, Janika Eckert. I expect great things!

2 7 Pot Jonah, which I fully expect to regret growing. The capsaicinoids all over everything around processing time was a bit annoying last year. This year, I know to dedicate a separate cutting board and generally be more aware of the invisible menace which accumulated capsaicinoids become. Even so, I expect processing a superhot into sauce to be an ordeal. But I do want that sauce. I want a sauce in my repertoire which can make me think twice. Plus, I already thought of a good name.

2 Ají Charapita, which I grew from RFC seeds last year. I wasn’t sure if I would grow it again, but it’s lovely and compact, and looks amazing filled with glowing berries. We made a present of the single harvest of the single plant we grew, packed in vinegar, and it was both surprisingly beautiful and tasty. This seedline from Peter Merle was collected by him from a wild (or, I would suspect, naturalized) context along the Amazon, near Iquitos where the variety is common. I don’t expect it to be appreciably different to RFC’s, but the extra provenance is cool!

2 Redfire, also known as CAP 691. An enigmatic wild (or naturalized) red chinense which @Pr0digal_son described temptingly here. I’m hoping this has deciduous pods…

Capsicum baccatum​

4 CAP 455, which was the most productive pepper I grew last year, as well as the tastiest heatless red. The large jar of refrigerator pickles leftover has seen heavy use in chickpea salad sandwiches. I intend to devote a future season to more widely exploring baccatum, but this one is essential.

Capsicum frutescens​

4 Tabasco, which sure, yawn, but that unique flavor is still my absolute, must-have favorite on breakfast eggs. I’ll be surprised if I can make an acceptable substitute, but taking a shot at it will be my first fermented sauce project.

It’s a smaller grow than last year, in order to allow room for a burgeoning interest in herbs and a tentative branching out into other veg. As long as my choices work for purpose, it should all be more than enough!
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Hopefuls (Current/Desired)

2/4 Habanero Orange
1/4 Jamaican Hot Chocolate

1/4 Chiltepin Hermosillo Dwarf
0/4 additional Gogosar Anileve (these would be in smaller containers, for genetic diversity rather than production)
0/6 Bolivian Rainbow

2/4 Tabasco

I went ahead and made tough decisions on these poor germinations.

- Tabasco reached 4 sprouts (and more); growing as planned
- the extra Gogosar Anileve also easily reached 4 sprouts; growing as planned

- Habanero Orange reached 3 sprouts, but none seemed healthy; eliminated
- Jamaican Hot Chocolate never made it beyond 1 sprout; eliminated

- Chiltepin Hermosillo Dwarf never made it beyond 1 sprout; growing as a singleton:


- Bolivian Rainbow never made it beyond 1 sprout; growing as a singleton:


Of these, Bolivian Rainbow is not attributable to whatever I’m doing wrong with peat pellets. They were planted in rockwool in response to the 7 Pot Nebru experiment, at the same time as as Gogosar and CAP 455; the latter two reached > 80% germination, while Bolivian Rainbow reached < 5%. I tentatively blame Fatalii Seeds for this one, but who knows.

I have more CHD seeds from SLP to use next year, as well as my own saved seed, so that’s no problem. For the Bolivian Rainbow, I can only hope it’s a special enough individual to wind up justifying the genetic bottleneck!
I appreciate the lead! I actually do have Bolivian Rainbow seeds from SLP, and have seen them elsewhere, but IMO they’re not the same as the Bolivian Rainbow from FS. I’m specifically trying to grow that version.
What's the question exactly? Anchilique delivers some nice seeds. Never really had problems with germination with the seeds I bought there. I've never tried Bolivian Rainbow though I've seen them in a lot of shops (Vreeken, Peperzaden etc.). I always thought it was more of an ornamental. Is the taste any good?
Yep, it’s an ornamental. Lots of variation among seedlines — flower color (white or purple), habit (dwarf or not), pod shape (pointed or blunt), etc. Honestly, the rainbow ripening is about the only commonality between the names! Folks say it tastes decent for an ornamental, but I doubt I’ll bother to harvest it for food, just seeds.
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Most unusual seedling so far this year is this Jalapeño Zapotec. I didn’t have enough germinations to be choosy, but it’s been interesting to watch:





Forgive the tight crops of earlier photos. Here it is today:



I love a nonconformist, so I’ll be rooting for it. It’s not very far behind its three siblings — half a pair of leaves or so.
The Zapotec twist! I've found that the Zapotecs do that type of twisting during sprouting on a repeating basis. I don't understand why a particularly variety would be predisposed to that though, as I would have guessed it to be an environmental thing. Also I've never seen one keep doing it for so long. Really cool!

Great to see how well your grow is coming along TB!
Forgive me Father, for I have sown. 😔

No room on the proper shelves, so they’re in the water heater closet, which maintains a reasonable temperature for germination.


On the left, 9 rockwool cubes with 11 seeds of Chiltepin Hermosillo Dwarf. I’ve gotten too much use out of them in the kitchen not to try to stock up again. And they’ll make great holiday gifts.

On the right, 4 pots of Habanero Orange CPI. I’ve been given hope that it’s what I’ve been searching for! I decided to test my idea for next year: sowing directly into fine coir in the pots which will take them all the way to plant-out. There are 7 seeds in each pot.

Looking at the 10 day forecast, I should be able to start hardening stuff off shortly and will probably plant out in just a couple weeks. I’ve got an almost literal ton of soil mixing to do in the next week! 😅
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How big (or small in this case) does the Chiltepin Hermosillo Dwarf get?

It wasn’t as small as I expected, given its name, but it’s only the second chiltepin I’ve grown — maybe it’s small in comparison. I grew two individuals in 2 gallon (7.57 liter) pots, and they reached just under 2 feet (0.61 meters). Contrary to many others, I found them relaxing to harvest since the berries are deciduous.

As a point of comparison, a dwarf ornamental pepper I grew the same year was less than 1 foot.
This will be the week of mixing soil. First step is to process last years root balls to see how much soil can be recycled.

At the end of last season, I basically just dumped all the root balls in a couple piles. I got a solid third of the way through, today:



Then, I realized it was a beautiful, sunny day with blessedly mild wind — time to get the veg hardening off!


I shuffle them in and out of the full sunlight. Tonight will get down to about 45 F (7.2 C)… they can probably take it, but I’ll bring them back in anyway. No rush if there’s no soil, yet! 😛

Having the more mature varieties outside allowed for easy photos of what remained in…



The big one could be hardened off, but will wait for its siblings.

CAP 455:


7 Pot Jonah:


7 Pot Nebru:


I always drag my feet to get started on the labor part of gardening, but it does me a world of good.