2014 Pepper Grow Update

2014 has been one of the most interesting/challenging pepper growing seasons I’ve ever had.

I moved to Duluth Minnesota in the middle of winter and let’s just say it was pretty cold. its-cold-in-duluthSpring started a lot later than I’m accustomed to. When I lived in Illinois I typically panted out mid May, sometimes even early May. This year it was 10 or so days into June before I could get the plants outside and even after they were out the temps and weather were still not really cooperative until almost July.

First frost in Duluth is typically mid September (vs mid October in IL) so I’m losing time on the back end of the season as well as on the start. Even if I get a greenhouse up this year (50/50 chance at this point) there’s zero chance I’ll get any super hots, the plants are still tiny and not even close to setting first pods much less ripening. I should get some cayennes even without a greenhouse but not even close to what I’m used to.

Getting the first garden setup was a challenge. I live on a heavily wooded lot so there’s not a lot of sun. I found a space that would suffice but it took a lot of work to clear and even get close “garden ready”. garden-1 It’s a lot of clay and rock with a lot of brush and downed trees that needed to be cleared.This is what the space looked like after a few hours of clearing. It’s still not where I want it to be…that will take a few seasons I’m sure.

I put up some fencing to keep the rabbits and deer out. I’ve told once it starts to cool off a little more they will eat everything they come across. I’ll probably have to install more fencing over the next few weeks. garden-2 I planted tomatoes, sweet peppers, a few super hots (bhuts) and cayennes. One side the garden doesn’t get enough sun so the sweet peppers won’t produce this year. Cayennes are doing ok but super hots are like 4 inches tall in Late July so no bhuts from my garden this year.

Here’s where things are as of today. Kind of hard to see since everything outside of the fence is solid green but there are pepper plnats in there:-) I threw down cardboard in the garden isles to keep the weeds at bay. garden-3 I’ve weeded by hand a few times but the mosquitoes have been thick so I don’t spend much time unless I’m covered in 100% deet and even then they seem to sneak by. I’ve also pulled out a couple hundred rocks and poured in top soil and compost I’ve picked up at the store. I like to make my own compost but the Duluth area has more black bears than pretty much anywhere else in the country so have to be really careful about leaving out any kind of food or anything that would attract the bears.

While this year has been challenging I’ve learned a ton about gardening in a whole new climate and should be better prepared next year. I will grow super hots in Duluth, it can be done!

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2013’s New Hottest Pepper, The Carolina Reaper

pepper seedlings

Carloina Reaper Guinness Certificate

Sounds like Ed Currie finally got the heat validation he’s been looking for from Guinness for the Carolina Reaper. While as of this post the Guinness page is not yet updated Ed received an email that said in part:

“[w]e are delighted to confirm that you have successfully achieved a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for ’Hottest chili’. We would like to congratulate you on your record-breaking achievement. You are OFFICIALLY AMAZING. Your official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS certificate confirming your world record is being created and will be sent to you within ten working days.”

With a Guinness-submitted 1,569,383 SHU (scoville heat units) average and recently measured peak levels of over 2,200,000 SHU, SMOKIN’ ED’S CAROLINA REAPER® has officially completed its long journey to the top of “super-hot” chili charts.

Congratulations to Ed and crew for the recognition. There’s been some controversy along the way so it’s nice to see everything playing out as Ed originally indicated that it would.

Discussion:

Carolina Reaper Confirmed World’s Hottest Pepper
NOVEMBER 2013 WE HAVE A NEW WORLDS HOTTEST PEPPER CAROLINA REAPER
Carolina Reaper!
Ed Currie’s Carolina Reaper Wins Guinness World Record as the Hottest Chile Pepper
The Carolina Reaper is the World’s Hottest Chile Pepper

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Caramel Bhut Jolokia 2013

In 2011 I found the caramel bhut jolokia in my pepper garden. I grew a few of the plants in 2012 and they came out of but the pods were much shorter and fatter than the ones I grew the the previous season. It looks like this year they are taking more of the long slim shape they did the first year I grew them:

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Pepper Seedlings

pepper seedlings

2013 Hot Pepper Seedlings

My peppers have been going for about a month and I have healthy seedlings for all but a few of my original list. A few of the seedlings are a little yellow but the same thing has happened in past season for certain types that I grow. The most common cause of yellowing at his stage of growth is usually is over watering but that’s not the case with a few of these, for whatever reason they always start on the yellow side in growing conditions even when other peppers are a much darker shade of green. It never seems to stunt or any way negatively impact the plant’s growth so it’s not something I get concerned about. Also they tend to grow out if it pretty quickly. One each of the chocolate habs and chocolate bhuts did not sprout. The chocolate bhut that did sprout took almost 30 days to pop, just a reminder to not give up on your pepper seeds early! I planted another chocolate bhut and instead of replanting the chocolate hab I planted a yellow 7 pot from seeds I took from pods I ordered a couple years ago. Since my last post I had a few cayenne seedlings sprout too. Overall a nice start to the 2013 season.

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2013 Pepper Grow

My 2013 pepper growing season is officially underway! Last year wasn’t all that great primarily due to the drought. The season started great but then the rain stopped and the temperatures climbed. I still managed to harvest a decent amount of peppers but none of them really grew to their full potential and some plants only produced a handful of stunted peppers. Fingers crossed for a better 2013 growing season.

Here’s the the lineup this year:

Giant Red Bhut Jolokia x 2
Yellow Bhut Jolokia x 2
Chocolate Bhut Jolokia x 2
Caramel Bhut Jolokia x 2
Peach Bhut Jolokia x 2
Red Douglah Cross x 1
7 Pot Brain Strain x 1
Carolina Reaper x 1
Chocolate Habanero x 2
Big Cayenne x 2
Caribbean Red x 3

I put seeds in the dirt on February 3 so should have the first sprouts and day. More than likely I will add some more plants but this is enough to get things rolling.

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