This year we will be growing a selection of hottish varieties, hydroponically in 3 NFT tanks for less maintenance, growing this way in the past has certainly increased yields so are hoping for a bumper harvest and hopefully some special edition products from them to sell at market. We will also be growing a variety of ornamental pot types to full size greenhouse types to sell in early spring as usual from farmers markets.
This Years Varieties
Bonda Ma Jacques: (Capsicum chinense) This is from the West Indies, aromatic habanero chilli variety, very hot. Calcutta: (Capsicum frutescens) Very hot. 2-3" (5-7cm) thin, pale green pods maturing to red. Chocolate Bhut Jolokia:(Capsicum chinense) This is a chocolate version of the Bhut Jolokia. Coffee Bean: (Capsicum chinense) Coffee Bean is a short, attractive plant with a bushy growth habit, ideal for container growing. It produces small, roundish fruit (9 to 10mm in diameter), that look somewhat like ripe coffee beans and mature from green to orange to red. Elephant's Trunk: (Capsicum annuum) Medium hot from East India, with thin flesh and a nice flavour, very good for drying. The apex (ends) of the fruit can resemble an elephant's trunk Gold Nugget: (Capsicum annuum) Hot with high yields of oval, golden fruit. Grows into a bushy plant. Krimson Lee: (Capsicum annuum) Hot with fruits reaching 8" x 2" (20 x 5cm). Thick, sweet fruit, flesh has delightful kick. Perfect for pizzas or surprise salads. Lemon Drop: (Capsicum baccatum) Hot, also known as Aji Lemon Drop. Much requested and very popular at tastings, these bright yellow chillis grow to 1 ½" (4cm) long and ½" (1cm) wide, with a strong lemon flavour to them. Nu Mex Twilight: (Capsicum annuum) Very hot with tiny sunset-coloured fruit start purple, ripen to yellow, orange and then red. Very attractive variety, grows well in pots and makes an exotic house plant. Orange Bhut Jolokia:(Capsicum chinense) This is a the orange version, good high yields, good flavour and extreme heat. Pumpkin: (Capsicum chinense) This highly productive and appropriately-named variety produces pumpkin-shaped fruit that measure 20mm in diameter. The fruit mature from dark green to orange, and are produced on short, bushy plants with spreading branches. The attractive plants grow well in pots. Red Habanero Long Hot: (Capsicum chinense) The fruit shape is very much elongated with a tapered end. These peppers turn a brilliant red upon maturity and grow in abundance. Red Missile: (Capsicum annuum) Hot, low growing plants up to 10" (25cm), ideal for a windowsill. Erect, pale cream fruits, turning orange then deep red. Tabasco: (Capsicum frutescens) Hot, this is the pepper for the sauce from Avery Island off the coast of Louisiana. Erect fruit ripens from green to red. Very vigorous. Turtle Claw: (Capsicum chinense) Turtle Claw produces elongated fruits, which are knobbly and come to a blunt end. The fruit, measuring about 9.5x 38mm, have the habanero flavour but with a hint of citrus and mature from light green to pastel yellow. They are very hot. The plants have a bushy growth habit that makes them ideal for growing in pots.
This Years Equipment
Grow-tech FlexiPlugs are created by blending the highest quality peat with other organics and a foam binder. The result is a stabilized propagation medium that promotes faster rooting for cuttings while providing the consistent moisture needed for seed germination. Greenhouse Sensation Vitopod Precise control propagator- 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. Large vents in lids and sides – for superior humidity control, so your plants don’t suffer from damping-off. Even Heat - 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).
Mar 11:Very hard frost again this morning, with temperature down to -2, everything is ready for sowing but waiting for the weather improvement as I intend to sow in an unheated greenhouse again. Will use the vitopod with Fleximix plugs. Mar 22: Most of the seeds were sown today in Hydrogardens Fleximix germinating plugs. As usual we are using Vitopods set at 26C, which will be used to keep the temperature up thro the night, as daytime now should be OK when the sun gets on the greenhouse. Care still need to be taken as its the sunlight thro the plastic on the propagators causing the most threat to disaster. as it burns the young leaves. Mar 29: Rest of this years seeds have been planted as we have only just got some of the varieties, but they should soon catch up. In the warmth of the propagator they all need a misting daily to keep damp, and the first started to germinate in 4-5 days with the rest following.
Apr 20: The Fleximix plugs have made life a lot easier this year by just dropping a seed or two into each hole. Watering morning and night, as they dry out fairly easily especially in a hot greenhouse on the rare days the suns comes out. A note was kept of varieties as each variety had a straight row, to be labelled when they are potted on. Propagator heat was kept on overnight for 2-3 weeks from sowing as the nights are still cold, but all covers had to come off early in the morning before the sun scorched them through the propagator plastic lids.
Apr 26: The majority have been potted on in a multi-purpose compost into 5 cm square pots, as the roots were just starting to show through the plugs, as can be seen above. The hydroponic plants have been dropped into rockwool cubes to develop stronger roots before setting into position in the tanks. Growing in these plugs prevents the heart stopping wilting when transplanting on as the plant isn't shocked by the movement. The overwintered Yellow Karneval is now full of flowers with a few small developed fruits on.
June 1: All plants have now been potted on into 3 litre pots, and the hydroponic NFT tanks filled with nutrients. The rockwool cubes are now showing roots developing through the base, so all plants have been placed on the NFT shelf, five to each tank and pumps started. Weather is not too bad with good stretches of sunshine heating up the greenhouse early, so constant checking of pot plants for drying out at the moment.
June 14: This year we have 3 NFT tanks with five plants in each, all on the same nutrient Ferro, as can be seen by the recent photo's all plants are now growing at a rate of knots and will need some kind of support soon. The nutrients will usually last about a month at this stage before being replaced. The pot plants are also doing a lot better this year after last years very poor show, and so far we've had no problems with any aphids.
Greenhouse is now a bit choked full of large pot plants, which will make them grow too tall looking for extra light, these now need sorting into sizes and spreading out into some kind of order to benefit the plant, extras will now be sold when fruiting.
July 25: Everything seems to be growing well for a change, probably too much leaf as the centre path down the greenhouse is also filling up. The palettes which can be seen are a cheap and useful staging for all the pots. The 3 NFT hydro tanks are at the end, the orange top just visible, and have just had a complete bath change, next change will be in a few weeks to the Bloom nutrients. Earliest plants also have chillis on which are a few favourites the Aurora and the Riot. Weather humid and changeable, with just a watering for the pots each morning.
July 28: Here is the earliest of this years featured plants, the compact Red Missile is only about 30 cm high but full of upright growing bullet shaped chillis, also with a good crop coming are the annuums Krimson Lee, Elephant Trunk and Nu Mex Twilight. First of the chinenses to show are the Red Habanero Long Hot, and the Turtle Claw. This years feed has been the Chilli Focus for the pot plants and the Ferro 2 part for the hydro, and cross our fingers as we are having a bug free year even tho I am putting all the ladybirds I find into the greenhouse.
Aug 15: Plenty of sunshine about, most of the plants are still putting on masses of foliage. Hydro tanks now being filled with a bloom nutrient as they all are now full of fruit. The earliest ones now showing signs of ripening are the Krimson Lee, Red Missile and the Elephants Trunk. Strange this year all the plants are completely bug free, not a single aphid in sight.
Choc Bhut Jolokia
Nu Mex Twilight
Aug 30: Nearly a disaster, just watering a few pot plants before getting ready to set off to Benington Chilli Festival and one of the Hydro tanks full of Naga's looked decidedly droopy, almost out of water. The hotter weather and the size of these plants are now starting to consume a fair bit of water, so a quick fill of 60 litres of bloom nutrient and 12 hours later all looking back to full health again, its surprising how quickly they recover from a dry situation. All tanks now refilled again. Time to water some more and pick a few plants to take to the Aylsham show tomorrow.
Bonda Ma Jacques
Sept 14: All this years varieties are starting to ripen except the Tabasco which is full of chillis but refusing to turn colour. Picture of the Coffee Bean is from Kris.W on the Chillis Galore forum boards as I have accidentally given my last one away, thinking I had another one left. Ideal pot plants this year were the Red Missile, Coffee Bean, Pumpkin, Turtle Claw and the Golden Nugget, all grown in 3 litre pots.
Red Habanero Long Hot
Chocolate Bhut Jolokia
Orange Bhut Jolokia
Sept 21: Now starting to pick all the varieties and have also started to de-leaf a few of the larger plants to allow better air circulation and more light through the plants. Watering the pots have slowed down a bit but still using Chilli Focus to keep them strong as it is now getting colder and damper each morning and evening. NFT tanks have just had hopefully the last top up and expect to keep picking chillis for a month now, all plants in the NFT have now reached 4 to 5 foot high and are laden with fruit, just need a bit more sun now to carry on ripening them.
Plenty of the Bhut Jolokia's are now ripening
Oct 11: Our Nagas, which are all grow in the NFT are full of chillis, surprisingly the Chocolate Jolokia's have started to ripen the quickest. All the plants have now had a big tidy up, bottom 30 cm have had all their leaves pruned off and also any non fruit bearing branches removed, the tops have also been clipped to stop further growth and to concentrate on getting as many ripe chillis as we can. As can be seen below after pruning more light and air can get to the centres of the plants to avoid mildew setting in. The Indian varieties have mostly been picked green and frozen to use in cooking over the next few months, and plants cleared out.
Oct 18: Still picking the Naga's and Lemon Drops, just enough nutrient left in the tanks to see us until the end of the month hopefully which will then be about the time to clear them out and tidy up. We have also another greenhouse to put up over the next few weeks to give us a bit more space for next year crops. That’s it another year has gone, time to think of what we will grow next year.