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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7 Responses to 2014 Pepper Grow Update

  1. Michele says:

    Hey if I can successfully grow peanuts in the Pacific Northwest, you can find a way to grow Bhuts in Minnesota!!! Every year I look for something that will be a challenge to grow in our climate and I figure out a way to make it work. This year it will be the first year fruiting dwarf papaya tree. I started them from seed in late February and here it is July, the tree is 3 ft tall with little fruits all over it! Sorry to get a little off subject here. It also helps that we have a sunroom to move plants into when the temps are too cold. We are also are growing the Trinidad Moruga Scorpions and Red Bhuts. This will be our third year growing these. I also brought back the Aconcagua peppers that I grew for the first time last year. The Aconcagua Peppers are the sweet peppers that can get up to a foot long and 3-4 in. across. Several of mine really did get that big last year and the flavor was awesome–like sweet apples. I still have the longest one in the freezer (cut in half and seeded). Good luck to you!!!

    • pepperseed says:

      Thanks Michele. Peanuts in the PNW, wow! I know I’ll figure out how to grow super hots here in Duluth…it’s a challenge but I’m up for it. I moved in the middle of winter this year so was incredibly busy + not all that familiar with spring here. Now that I know what to expect I think I can plan a lot better…everything from when to start the seeds to where to setup the garden(s). Already excited about next year!

  2. Trudi says:

    I live in minnesota and I have alot of ghost peppers that are still green. The weather is getting colder, can i pick the ones that haven’t turned yet and force them to turn somehow indoors….or am I just out of luck ?

    • pepperseed says:

      Hi Trudi,

      Yes you can try picking them and leaving them sit in a window, some might ripen up depending on how close they are. Also depending on where you’re at you might able to keep them outside for awhile longer…just cover the plant(s) at night if it’s going to get below 40 degrees. I know we have some low 30’s coming this week in Duluth.

  3. Michele says:

    We are getting ready for 2015. This year we are trying the white bhuts which we found on Hell Hot Pepper’s website. What are your thoughts on those? We also will be bringing back the red bhuts and the Aconcagua sweet peppers (they get up to 12 in. long). Although last year my longest Anconcagua pepper was 10 1/2 in. The year before I had them reach a foot long! We have also grown the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers for 2-3 years now and have had great luck—but they are hot to the point of being insanely ridiculous so we are sticking to the Bhuts for our hot peppers. Their overall flavor is better anyhow.

    • pepperseed says:

      @ Michele I’ve yet to see any white bhuts that look like bhuts. Haven’t tasted any and that’s the ultimate test 🙂 This year I’m going with a few bhut varieties…peach, red & chocolate. Good luck with your 2015 and as always keep us posted!

  4. Jon says:

    hey are you growing a 2015 garden? you haven’t update the blog much.

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