Here are this years selection, we have found some new ones on the market, particularly the Naga's and the Black Pearl, so lets hope we get a good season with plenty of fruit. Any spare ones of these will be available at Farmers Markets from April to May time whilst any we have grown on and are fruiting in manageable pot sizes will be sold off at the larger shows we do. Fish is being regrown again after last years got wiped out with the weed kill incident.
This Years Varieties
Bih Jolokia & Bhut Jolokia: (Capsicum chinense) Originates from the northeast of India, particularly Assam. It belongs to Capsicum Chinense family and is known by many names in the different Indian provinces. Bih jolokia translates to 'poison chilli' in Assamese. Bhut Jolokia translates to 'Ghost chilli' probably due to its ghostly bite. Fruits are 5 to 8.5cm in length, 2.5 to 3cm in diameter (at shoulder), with an undulating surface. Both are being grown along with the Dorset Naga.
Black Pearl:(Capsicum annuum) Compact, bushy ornamental variety. Plant grows about 40-50cm tall sets masses of 2cm small roundish pearl shaped pods which ripens from black to a rich, deep red.
Exploding Fire: (Capsicum baccutum) These are tall growing plants, up to 5 feet with 100's of fruits around 2cm long on the tips of branches. Plant with mature red fruits resemble an exploding firework.
Fish: (Capsicum annuum) Plant produces good yields of 30mm long by 13mm wide hot peppers. Peppers turn from light green with dark green stripes, to orange, to red when mature. Plant has green stems, white and green leaves, and white flowers.
Goat Horn: (Capsicum annuum) South East Asian, fruits stay dark green for some time before ripening to bright red. High yields 1cm x 15cm long resembling a goats horn. Good flavour for Thai curries.
Habanero Peach: (Capsicum chinense) Lower growing plants than normal, less than 60cm. High yields. The pods are longer than some Habanero's, have nice thick flesh and wonderful fruity flavour.
Habanero Burkina Yellow: (Capsicum chinense) Rare African strain of habanero. Bright yellow, pendant fruits, more rounded than others in this family. They have the heat and strong flavour associated with all chinense types.
Jalapeno Purple: (Capsicum annuum) The Purple Jalapeno is an ornamental version of the standard Jalapeno pepper. Very productive, maturing to dark purple and finally to a scarlet red. Twice as hot as the normal Jalapeno.
Lemon Drop: (Capsicum baccutum) Peruvian Chilli with bright yellow, crinkled, cone-shaped fruits are about 60cm long and 1 cm wide and mature from green to yellow, good hot lemony flavour.
Navaho: (Capsicum annuum) Early, heavy yields of thick fleshed fruits with medium heat. Fruit increase in heat and flavour as they ripen to bright red. Peruvian Orange: (Capsicum baccutum) Tall plant with 1cm x 4 cm deep orange fruit. Strong citrus like flavour, hot but not to fierce.
This Years Equipment
Growth TechnologyChilli Focus Chillis and peppers have specific nutritional requirements. While it is true that they can perform reasonably well with general purpose “feeds”, the best results will be achieved by using a formulation designed specifically for them. Chilli Focus is precisely formulated for the needs of chillies and peppers – it does not contain urea. It supports the production of healthier, more vigorous plants and colourful, juicier fruits.
Growth TechnologyRoot Riot Cubes Made from composted organic materials, these cubes have a great spongy texture which retains the perfect air/water ratio for healthy, rapid root growth. Suitable for both cuttings and seeds, Root Riot® consistently outperforms alternative media. The cubes are specially inoculated with micro nutrients and biologically active ingredients to nourish young plants, and to aid root development. Greens Horticulture Wilma 4 PotYou can use any growing medium with the Wilma System, whether you’re a fan of soil, clay pebbles, rockwool, coco, or any other medium for that matter. We recommend using clay pebbles as this ensures plenty of aeration at the root zone and also makes the systems easier to set-up and manage. Wilma Systems are based on re-circulating hydroponics and utilise a simple dripper system to allow timer-based scheduled feeding. Feeding plants little and often has been shown to be much more effective at growing large, high-yielding plants when compared to hand watering once a day. The timer-based dripper system also dramatically reduces the risk of overwatering / overfeeding that is associated with hand watering plants. Greenhouse Sensation Vitopod Precise control - the accurate electric digital thermostat can be set to any 1°C between 5°C and 30°C and the display shows the actual and the set temperatures. The lower temperatures are ideal for over-wintering cuttings and prized plants, the higher temperatures are great for getting hot chillis and exotic plant seeds off to a flying start and the middle temperatures are perfect for everything else. Large vents in lids and sides – for superior humidity control, so your plants don’t suffer from damping-off. Even Heat - our Vitopod delivers an even heat throughout the base, so there are no hot spots or cold spots and your seeds and cuttings will germinate evenly. Height adjustable – add the extra layers to give plants more space. Perfect for when the weather is taking its time to warm up enough for you to plant-out and for protecting taller mature plants from the cold. Robust - the Vitopod is built to last. The lids and sides are made from a robust acrylic and are treated to protect them against the UV deterioration which makes other propagators turn yellow and brittle. Greenhouse Sensation NFT Hydro System GS200 5 plant, it constantly pumps a stream of water and nutrients to the plant roots and provides unrestricted access to oxygen. The nutrients for the NFT include all the elements plants need for healthy growth. The planter reservoir is completely emptied and refilled every 3 or 4 weeks, so no elements are ever too depleted or too concentrated. (Now called the Vivigrow 5 Plant Kit).
Feb 25: All of the above varieties have been sown today, plus a selection of others to be sold at Farmers markets in about May time. This year we have upgraded our propagator to one of Greenhouse Sensation's Vitopod's (greenhousesensation) which we have set at 30°C, and is outside in a cold greenhouse, the warmth could be felt within minutes of turning it on. We are also trying some of Growth Technology's Root Riot cubes, (growthtechnology), which are spongy cubes made from composted organic materials inoculated with micro nutrients to nourish young plants & beneficial rooting fungi to aid root development. These were really easy and clean to use, just dropping a seed into a hole and then just plugging over. The 'spongy' texture of the cubes retains the exact water to air ratio required for healthy, rapid root growth. Potting on should cause no root disturbance as they will easily lift out. We also have some Chilli Focus nutrient feed developed for Chillis to try later on. (growthtechnology).
Root Riot Cubes, easy to sow.
Vitopod temp control.
Potted on but still kept in the warmth at night.
Mar 25: Good success rate in the Vitopod, maintaining between 26°C-30°C even tho we had a few hard frosts, the plants have germinated and survived well. First to show were the Lemondrops, Black Pearls and the Purple Jalapeno's, showing in under a week, all the variants of the Naga were up in about 2 weeks with most of the others in between, although I still haven't managed to germinate one Red Mushroom, couldn't get one up last year either, unless its a really slow germinate and I haven't got the patience for a six week one to show, I am now potting all onwards and maybe sow a few more. Watch out now for high daytime temperatures in greenhouse, I am still shading them partly during the day, as it was reaching over 40 °C, and doesn't take long in full sun to loose them all! All the ones in this years list are up and doing well so just need to write all the labels now.
Apr 25: Plants now being potted on, most are coming up to 4 inches tall except the ones which were started in root riot, they seem to be lagging behind, or perhaps its the slower growing ha types. Have laid palettes out this year in greenhouse and are going to grow all in pots as the soil probably needs changing after a few years of ground growing. Where's the rain? water butts are now getting seriously low, I need a downpour now.
May 13: The weather has been dull so has slowed down the growing, especially of the slower types, so a tray of these have now been put on artificial lighting overnight, with the 200W blue (6400K) CFL lights. Both Bih Jolokia's are in same size pot, and germinated in Root Riot Cubes, the left plant has had the extra 7 days under lighting. Its not much taller, but is a lot more dense with thicker stems, overall looking a lot sturdier and healthier. More on lighting can be found on the growing tips page.
May 20: All plants are now in 4 litre pots, and having a regular feed of chilli focus. They seem to shoot off quickly after a re-pot and some are now up to 40 cm tall. Have pinched the top out of a Purple Jalapeno, as an experiment against another without, to see beneficial effects. Daylight not that good, lack of sunshine for 2 weeks, so have kept 5 plants back to grow in the greenhouse sensation hydro tank again. Nutrients this time will be from Ferro, which is formulated for different water regions, so as you can see we have the Norwich Water Region of growth feed from Norfolk Lights & Hydro Centre.
June 1: Hydroponics - Plants been in the GS200 for about a week, had to use soil grown plants as this was a last minute decision to use it, so have just plonked the soil grown roots straight onto the bed, as they were a bit too large to drop into a rockwool cube to help contain the soil. Must get more organized next year. Tap water for the nutrients, as our water butt rain water is a bit to low pH, without using a pH up. Plants are flourishing well as can be seen by the Peach Habanero and the roots now spreading well.
June 6: Most of the soil grown plants are all starting to flower, all having a regular feed this year, mainly from the chilli focus nutrient, but some are also getting a seaweed foliar spray fairly regularly, which seems to be keeping them all lush and green. Two Trinidad types keep attracting whitefly, easily spotted as they drop onto the soil, but is very isolated on a few leaves, so have been spraying these with plant invigorator, which seems to be doing the trick and then just brushing them off with a paint brush. One of the nicest striking plants so far is the Black Pearl. The weather is still up and down with cold mornings and evenings, almost had a frost about a week ago as it was 3C when I went in to work one morning. Don't get caught out by minimal watering at the moment as they will be straight back to two waters a day when the sun comes out.
June 10: First few fruits now starting to show, Purple Jalapeno was one of the first. Starting to get a bit of a jungle in the greenhouse. All plants are still very green and healthy apart from aphid attacks on the bigger leaf chinense varieties, so weekly spraying with invigorator is continuing to help. A weekly feed seems to be very beneficial, whether giving it to them in a foliar spray in the evening, mixing into the watering can once a week, or by mixing a fertilizer like bat guano into the top soil and watering.
The hydroponic plants are doing really well, with a comparison (left) of the Peach Habanero, soil one is not so sturdy, leaves smaller and lacking in the growth of the hydroponic grown plant. Nutrients, still on the ferro growth but have raised the pH to 6.2 as ferro starts a bit low, EC currently is 1.79 which may be a bit high for growth but the Naga's are now coming into flower so will leave as is.
July 1: All plants in the hydroponic are now starting to bud, so I have switched to the Bloom nutrients which has been specifically mixed for chilli plants by Ferro, have also added some Bio Crop (mixed with our tap water the pH came out at 6.2 with EC 1.8). The Bhut Jolokia (left) is now starting to thicken up and spread with quite a few flower buds forming. Although the weather has been bad when the sun does come out greenhouse temperatures are hitting 40C which is taking the nutrients in the grow tank a bit high, which depletes oxygen levels in the nutrient, which could then effect pH.
July 3: The weather has been up and down for over 2 weeks now with poor daytime temperatures, endless rain and light levels have been very low. Despite this we have the Purple Jalapeno's fruiting well, a few fruits starting on the Navaho and Lemon Drop, with most of the others showing a few buds starting. Aphids are a big problem this year which hasn't been helped by having too many plants packed in. Brushing them off with a paint brush, Neem oil and Plant Invigorator all helps but its seems never ending.
July 16: Still raining with hardly any sun! Purple Jalapeno's are now ready to crop as the bush is getting full, so I will take them in their unripe colour of purple before they ripen and redden. Navaho's are the next to be ready as they are doing quite well, also a few Lemondrop's appearing. Most of the annum's are over 3 foot tall in 4-5 litre pots so will need supporting. Its too wet to go and get any more pictures as it is downpour after downpour. Aphid's still about but not so much, still spraying plants to try and keep them down.
July 17: Decided to try another hydroponic method, so I have just received the Wilma 4 Pot, and have washed the soil off 4 fairly established plants, Yellow Trinidad, Devils Tongue, Long Chocolate and a Fatalli to try it out. All plants were put into clay pebbles. The NFT system has its first Naga appearing and also a Peach Habanero. The pH levels are slightly rising throughout the week so just keeping an eye on that and using an odd 1ml of pH down.
July 31: The weather has finally picked up this week for some sunshine, and they all now need a good water everyday. Looks like a good crop off all the Naga's are on the way and the Peach Habanero is fairly full of fruit especially in the NFT system. After a few weeks of constant spraying various treatments it looks like the aphids have given up and all the new leaves are clean and vibrant green. Barney the cat has also offered to help in the greenhouse, but I think he's more interested in the frogs under the palettes.
The Wilma 4 Pot is doing well considering the 4 plants were originally grown in soil. The dripper is set to water for 15 minutes every hour, which seems just about right, all bushes are now coming into flower so I will change to the Bloom nutrients soon. This seems to be an ideal way to grow the chinense varieties as they don't go mad for space while the NFT is probably better suited to the larger sprawling annums.
Aug 12: All plants now are full of fruit, Purple Jalapeno's now ripening to a deep red, branches are getting weighed down in fruit on the taller types with large fruit, so have had to string them up. Watering and feeding all the pot ones regularly, while both hydroponic systems need monitoring for nutrient level and pH levels as it is rising slightly now, but soon comes back with a top up or adjustment with pH down.
Habanero Burkina Yellow.
Sept 12: Most have now started to ripen and are ready for picking, especially the over laden plants to ease some weight from and encourage the rest. Seen on the left is the very strange ripening on some of them, almost working up or down the fruit in a line.
Se 19: Of the 3 types of Naga I have grown the best seems to be the Dorset Naga grown in soil in pots. The Bih and Bhut Jolokia are a lot more bushier but tend to have fewer fruits and are smaller, even the ones grown hydroponically haven't done as well as the soil ones for fruiting, but the Red Mushroom, Peach Habanero and the Habanero Burkina Yellow have done a lot better in the hydroponics, bigger plants, bigger fruits, more of them and ripening quicker.
Peach Habanero (NFT hydro).
The mornings and evenings are now getting cold and damp so I have started to de leaf some of the thicker bushes to get more air and light around, hoping to keep mould at bay for a while longer, it seems like the season is coming to a close a month early this year, but then again we haven't really had a summer yet!
Extras: These 2 plants are a couple of extras we had grown, which we were given at Woody's Spring BBQ and plant swap day. Both have done well growing in soil in pots, with a feed of chilli focus or top dressing of the bat guano. The Billy Goat is a very prolific chinense type, with early ripening fruits, producing all the way thro the season.
Oct 5: The Pepperdew has turned into a massive sprawling plant, nearly 5 foot high, with plenty of fruit on, but as you can see left this must need a good hot long summer as we have only managed a few ripened fruits, of all the plants we have grown this year including all the slower developers the Pepperdew needs even longer time to ripen. more than the habanero's.
Update on the Wilma 4 Pot: The plants transplanted into the Wilma drip method have done well, considering they had a poor start off in soil and didn't seem to want to grow. The root balls were, washed of soil, and all planted straight into the clay pebbles, and fed with GH FloraGro, Bloom & Micro three part nutrients. They were drip fed 15 minutes every hour and this seemed to pick them up. All plants then flowered and fruited well, giving a good crop of ripe fruit. This 4 pot method seems to work well with compact bushes such as habanero and bonnet types.
Both hydroponically grown methods this year seemed to produce a lot of foliage before deciding to flower, this could be due to the colder wetter weather we have had this summer, as my tomato plants had the same problem, huge plants no fruit, or could need a swap from growth nutrients to bloom nutrients a bit earlier. In the end I just started to de-leaf a few plants to get the circulation and more light around the plants to help ripening. More info on the Wilma systems can be found at greenshorticulture.
Oct 13: All fruit picked and greenhouse cleared before plants become mouldy. Although it has been a colder wetter summer this year we have done well on all the plants we have grown, especially the habanero types getting them ripened. The Dorset Naga seemed to be the better plant of the three types giving more fruit and earlier.