• 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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Everything old enough to be planted out has been! I finished up just as a gentle rain moved in, as planned. Here are the peppers:

Jalapeño TAM:


Gogosar Anileve:


Quadrato d’Asti Giallo:


Jalapeño Zapotec:




Ancho San Luis:


Bahamian Goat:




Bhüt Jolokia:


Golden Cayenne:

Forgive the non-peppers; they’re to better demonstrate the peppers!

All in all, the initial plant-out has gone quite well! New growth looks fairly good across the board, so it looks like my soil mix is at least acceptable. Phew!

I’ve said before that high, sustained wind is the primary challenge in my garden. We just finished up a three-day period of all-day gusting to about 35 mph (56 km/h). The young plants get absolutely thrashed… it’s stressful for me and them, but I’m always impressed how much they can take!

At this stage, the okra is tall and top-heavy, so they had the most trouble. That bruising is purely from wind strain and looks quite painful:



This stem fully crimped and collapsed during the worst of it. I found it on its side and rigged it and its sibling (preventatively) with makeshift splints. I really didn’t expect it to recover, especially in ongoing wind, but somehow it did!

Meanwhile, peppers continue to impress me by comparison. Here’s Gogosar Anileve, just a few feet away and unsupported throughout:


Or Ancho San Luis:


And this is typical of all the peppers. Their stems seem capable of violent, whiplike gymnastics without suffering a single mark.

The only serious case of sunburn was on the Haskorea. They weren’t even in full sun, so I’ve added a note to my catalog that they’re particularly sensitive:


I moved them to my shadiest spot, where they get only filtered sun until late afternoon (this is also where chiltepins prefer to be), and they’re doing well now.

The predator insects aren’t around or haven’t found the garden yet, so I get to practice my single pest control technique for crops this season: mechanical removal by hose. Halfway through last season, I started spraying off any built-up pests as a part of daily upkeep. It’s surprisingly effective!









I knew about this technique long before I actually tried it, and I wish I’d started ages ago. Even just spraying off the most visible stuff is very effective if you do it every day — no need to go over every single leaf and turn it into a chore you’ll avoid. Attrition wins.

Pinwheel’s growth continues to be healthy, albeit slow in comparison to their siblings. And their twist, now lignified, is showing a lovely grain:



Here’s the farthest-along Zapotec:

It always delights me to observe how well annuum competes with chinense on productivity, despite (typically) having 1 flower per node versus 2-4.

Here is Ancho San Luis:


This is by my count five nodes, with four buds evident, in the space of an inch (2.54 cm). Facing selection pressure for high productivity, these sibling species took completely different approaches to arrive at similarly effective results.
If this is what it looks like, what a perfect example to follow on from the last post! Jalapeño Zapotec:



I can’t see even a hint of a node between those two flowers. The Capsicum monograph does state that this appears rarely within annuum, but it’s my first time seeing it personally!

Also, FIRST PODS 😁, tied between…

Ancho San Luis:


Jalapeño Zapotec:

Could create an interesting look if those active nodes near the base of Pinwheel turn into significant upright stems.


So far, so good!

I planted out a few more, Sunday. Here they are today.

7 Pot Jonah:



7 Pot Nebru:



CAP 455 (four of these, didn’t get a good photo of the group):


Everything is looking pretty good — really good, actually, compared to last year at this point! I’m sooo glad my soil mix is acceptable to everything, at least so far.

Bahamian Goat, first chinense to fork, making it look easy like always:


Bhüt Jolokia was not far behind (fork not really apparent):


And best news yet, the cavalry showed up over the last few days (helping clean up Jalapeño TAM, here):

Bolivian Rainbow FS is looking really nice, so far.



To refresh memories, this is the single individual I got from four packs of seeds from Fatalii Seeds. I fell in love with his photos and am trying to grow that specific variant.

I tried two packs last year with no germinations and two packs this year with one germination (at a lengthy 22 days). So, all my hopes rest with this one individual! It looks about right, so far…
The gogoşari are really starting to fruit in earnest, now:


I’ve been needing to top dress the soil with additional feed and a little more lime, in many cases, to deal with nutrition and/or uptake issues. This will not be the year I dialed in my soil mixture! I think I need to approach the landlords about setting up a proper, hot-pile composting area… I don’t trust the quality of the bagged stuff I wound up with.
The Bolivian Rainbow (FS) continues to please:


I hope these will become a touch bigger and better defined as the plant matures, but the pods are already showing the adorable, blunt-tipped, “old-school Christmas lights” alike shape which I feel sets Fatalii Seeds’ seedline apart from others under this name. 😍
In the spirit of “time for an update even if the lighting never seems right”…

Most things are showing nutrient deficiency symptoms, which I think are just now clearing up in the newest growth after a couple rounds of feeding. I won’t call that out in each photo; instead, I’ll note what seems to have done well despite the poor soil.

In terms of produce being used in the kitchen, a steady stream of jalapeños (and culantro) are going into guacamole and other salsas fresca. Fresh, green spice chiles are off the shopping list for the year! I’m also getting a trickle of green bell peppers from the Quadratos d’Asti, but not enough.

Jalapeño TAM (singleton):


Jalapeño Zapotec (2 of 4; did relatively well in poor soil; Pinwheel has pretty much caught back up to the others):



Quadrato d’Asti Giallo (1 of 4):


Gogoşar Anileve (1 of 7):


CAP 455 (1 of 4):


Haskorea (1 of 4):


Tabasco (4 of 4):


Bhüt Jolokia (1 of 2):


Ancho San Luis (3 of 3; highest nitrogen requirement in the grow; stalled out; newest growth maybe finally looking fed?):



Golden Cayenne (2 of 2; no real pests, no real symptoms; this is a very easy grower):



7 Pot Jonah (3 of 3; a day or two away from first pods; front one is much more vigorous, bit worried it’s a cross):


7 Pot Nebru (3 of 3):


Bahamian Goat (4 of 4; way out in front of the other chinense):



Habanada (4 of 4; uniform; untroubled by pest or poor soil; every gene for branching present; university bred peppers always show off; not as early as the Goat, though 😎):



Finally, my poor Habanero Orange (4 of 4; nibbled and unhappy; hope they surge forward soon):


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