This year we are trying out some ornamentals which we haven't grown before, a couple of habanero types and of course the usual Bhut Jolokia Naga which we always grow now, we've also saved some previous seeds and although there is a good chance they will now be crosses we will try and see.
This Years Varieties
Bhut Jolokia: (Capsicum chinense) Bhut Jolokia seeds, Ghost Chilli or Ghost Chile. The 'Blistering Hot' Indian Chilli Pepper that originates in the area of Assam, India. Bred and tested by the Chile Pepper Institute in Mexico (this source is one of the hottest peppers in the world) the origin of the seed they used was from Bih Jolokia bred in Assam India. Fruits of red/orange Bhut Jolokia ripen from green to orange through to red when fully ripe. Up to 1,001,304 Scoville Units. Cajamarca: (Capsicum chinense) Cajamarca is a beautiful fruit that starts a vibrant purple unique to chinense varieties and matures to a rich red. The wonderful fragrant aroma of chilli pepper Cajamarca captures your attention with its intense, spicy citrus fragrance and the classic Habanero fruity undertone. Very Hot. Fatalii: (Capsicum chinense) High yielding plants, wrinkled extremely hot peppers up to7 cm long by up to 2 cm wide. Fatalii fruits ripen from lime green to lemon yellow when mature. Native to Central African Republic. Habanero Devils Tongue: (Capsicum chinense) Extremely Hot, Devils Tongue chillis ripen from green to yellow and then a golden yellow when mature. Habanero Yellow Bumpy: (Capsicum chinense) Pendant fruits up to 4 cm in length mature from green to light yellow. A beautiful Habanero with a fruity tropical taste. Plant height up to 45 cm loaded with lots of fruits. Tasty and ornamental. Mem Jolokia:(Capsicum frutescens) This chilli is commonly known as “Mem Jolokia” in Assam and is well known for its pungency and flavour. Mem Jolokia belongs to the “Bird’s eye chilli” group, small very hot chillis. The chilli is usually consumed in green, red (full ripe) and pickled forms. Very hot. Masquerade:(Capsicum annuum) Very early ornamental variety with a unique colour pattern. Long fruits are purple and mature through yellow, orange and finally red. Excellent in pots and containers. Hot Pepper. Medusa:(Capsicum annuum) An old favourite, ornamental chilli Medusa Fruits are thin and twisted in a cone shape, held prominently upright over the foliage. Fruits start out ivory and as they mature turning yellow to orange and finally red. Can produce up to 50 fruits. Good manageable size to grow in pots. Peppa Orangina: (Capsicum annuum) Ornamental Peppa Orangina has round-shaped fruits that change colour from white to clear orange, similar to Solanum pseudoCapsicum. It’s suitable for growing in 12-15 cm pots and also makes a nice small patio or garden plant in warmer locations, covered with fruits in late summer and autumn. Purple Flash: (Capsicum annuum) Ornamental compact, mounded plants are uniform with a striking colouration, almost black leaves with bright purple flashes. Peppers are small round black and very hot. Attractive and unusual foliage plant for borders, landscaping, pots and containers, looks good on the Patio. Sangria: (Capsicum annuum) Ornamental Compact rounded plants which have a full and somewhat spreading habit, and produce striking purple and red fruits but no heat. Speed Ball: (Capsicum baccatum) Fruits ripen from green to red. Small pear shaped fruits approx 3.5 cm long by 2 cm width, produced on a beautiful small chilli tree. Medium hot chilli pepper with a fruity flavour.
Last years harvested seeds to sell plants at market include:
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.
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).
Feb 28: After weeks of snow and very low temperatures for around here, we have finally sown some seeds on a very wet Sunday morning. Outside temperature is only around 4-5° C, but slightly warmer in the greenhouse, as now I've replaced a broken glass in the roof. The rest will be during this week as well. The temperature is set at 26° C in the heated Vitopod propagators, which will probably drop at night and soar over during the day if the sun comes out, some shading may be needed to keep direct sunlight of the plastic of the propagator lid to keep temperature down. We are using Root Riot cubes for germination which are made from composted organic materials, they have spongy texture which retains the perfect air/water ratio for healthy, rapid root growth.
Suitable for both cuttings and seeds, The cubes are specially inoculated with micro nutrients to nourish the young plants, and also beneficial rooting fungi to aid root development. these are being supported in some old jiffy plug trays so we can map out the rows of seeds to remember which variety is which, don't rely on just labels only as you may wash them off.
All seeds have been dropped onto the Root Riot cubes and pushed down the small drilled holes to a depth of about 10mm. The cubes now need to be kept permanently moist, this can be checked by gently squeezing the cube to see if any water bubbles on the surface, if not water them, we also make sure they are not sitting in water by using a capillary mat or similar to absorb and even out the excess water in the bottom of the tray, anything absorbent will do, we are temporarily using cardboard sheets at the moment.
First few days were tricky to get used to again as the full sun this time of year into a greenhouse heats a propagator up very quickly. Monday morning after a hard frost the sun came around onto them and temp was 37° C when I caught it 10am so I am wetting the plugs twice a day with this kind of heat, opening the vents when in sun and keeping a really careful eye on them, but then remembering to close them down again at night.
Mar 5: First up after 5 days were the Red Missiles, followed other varieties a day later, so conditions can't be too bad.
March 14: After 2 weeks now we have a good amount showing, some only just emerging, but still no signs of the extra ones put in from last years seed we saved, the Elephants Trunk and the Calcutta. Temperatures have been low overnight with frosts most days, so the temperature in the propagator, has been struggling to maintain a decent temperature.
April 14: Another month gone and still a very cold spring with the odd days of sunshine but not enough to give the seedlings much of a kick start. Although they have all germinated well most are still quite dormant.
April 18: Have potted them all on into 7cm square pots and topped up with potting compost to keep them warm, overnight temperatures still not much above freezing, but have to watch out for the fierce sun when it does show as its quite easy to loose the lot on a hot day.
April 28: At last we have had a little bit of decent warmth and sunshine, all the plants have now started to grow, almost doubling in size this week. Have given them all a weak feed with chilli focus. As soon as they start to show good roots in this size pot I will put them into final pot size depending on variety, small ornamentals will go into 3 litre pots while the larger will get a 5 litre pot. I am also now checking the plants in the rockwool cubes as soon as the roots show they will go into the NFT systems.
clean up tank and fill up
ideally should have more roots showing
five plants in position
May 2: Washed out all the NFT tanks this morning and gave the small pumps a quick brush up. I am using Ferro nutrients again this year as they seem to work well for me, working out at correct strength and pH straight from the bottle. Have filled up 2 tanks, pump on to wet down the bottom fleece layer and placed 5 plants per tank. As can be seen above the roots are through the bottom of the rockwool cube so will begin to pick up feed straight away. One more tank to get ready but plants are still a bit small on the last five.
May 30: Last tank set up today, below are the Bhut Jolokia's which are to go in it, but as they were growing so slowly I decided to put them back in soil for a few weeks as they were not going to send out decent roots in just a rock wool cube. I then cut a 3 inch rockwool cube all the way through, washed most of soil off the plants and inserted into rockwool with roots poking through the bottom and placed in the NFT tank. They seem quite happy with this method and already growing well. All the other plants are now potted on into final size pots.
using a soil potted plant into rockwool
Trimmed open rockwool cube
most of the soil washed off
Bhut Jolokias in NFT
2 – 4 litre for pot plants
3 weeks in the NFT
July 01: All plants now doing well as we have had good long spells of bright hot weather, plants need watering twice a day, with some composts holding onto their water longer than others. NFT tanks were given the four week empty and refill now with the grow and bloom mix of Ferro. Disaster in one tank as the Fatalii plant has fallen over and snapped its stalk as I hadn't given them support string to grab hold of, so have washed down a pot plant of soil and replaced it, new plant seems to have settled in OK as growing well this week.
July 06: Most plants are in flower with some of the earlier ones in full fruit like the Padron and the Orange Cheyenne. The ornamentals Medusa and Aurora also have good crops of chillis showing. July 22: No ripe chillis yet but most have fruit on apart from the extra hot ones which are just starting to flower. The watering is never ending at the moment twice a day, with full strength chilli focus 10 ml per litre every week. NFT tanks need topping up every 10 days now as the plants are consuming nutrients rapidly.
Aug 1: I'm afraid we have been let down this year as the Fatalii and Devils Tongue plants are not what they are supposed to be, both have turned out to be bell peppers, just what we don't want, and I am not wasting anymore hydro feed on them so have taken them all out. This is really disappointing as I have now lost a year on growing these for a new sauce. I haven't muddled them as I do not have any bell pepper seeds and all the other plants are true to the seed packets except these two.
Aug 6: Some of them are now starting to ripen, but are all a bit slow this year with the up and down weather. The biggest plants are the hydro NFT's, where the Lemon Drop is now up to the roof in the greenhouse, and needs lots of support as it tends to sprawl all over the place with its fairly thin delicate stalks, but has plenty of fruit on. Slower varieties are now developing including the Yellow Bumpy and the Naga's.
Sept 6: Another month gone by and all the plants in the pots are now looking like Winter is approaching fast. Most of them are ripening but the leaves are dropping and looking a bit sorry for themselves, they all have the appearance of October plants not early September. There has been a lack of long periods of sunshine in the last month meaning light levels are way down. Time is approaching to harvest all these and dispose of the plants before mould starts in the greenhouse.
Sept 8: Nearly lost the NFT tanks as with all the bad weather and rain the outside weather proof socket had tripped off and no pumps had been run for about 36 hours and just noticed the plants were starting to droop. Had to replace whole socket to get going again. All tanks now have bushes about 4 to 5 feet high laden down with Bhut Jolokia, Lemon Drop and Mem Jolokia which are now just starting to ripen and drinking between 10 - 15 litres of nutrient a week.
Sept 10: The Speed Ball at long last is just starting to ripen which are quite late as cherry types are usually the first in the greenhouse to start turning red. The plants were grown in pots and have turned out to be about 4 foot tall and fairly spindly with not a huge crop on.
Oct 15: Speed Balls have all ripened as has most of the chilli grown in pots, so all these have been picked and plants composted. The NFT tanks have just had their last fill for the year as there are still plenty of lemon drops and Bhut Jolokias to ripen and pick.
Oct 17: Are these the missing Fatalii's which should have been more Bhut Jolokias. Looks like more seeds have been mixed up than first thought. Whatever they are they have certainly grown large in the NFT hydro system. All plants which have grown in the NFT have done really well again, full of chillis and really healthy growing probably too big for the greenhouse, plus they needed hardly any looking after with a monthly nutrient change or top up, with a bit more frequency when its hot and the plants are big.
Nov 1: Last few remaining plant are the hydro Bhut Jolokias and Lemon Drops, these are all now picked before too much damp and mildew strikes. So that’s it for another year, again we have tried to squeeze too many plants in which makes it impossible to keep them all with enough space around them to grow really well, but saying that we have had no trouble with aphids this year, very strange!
Last job of the year empty NFT tanks and give them all a good clean out for next year, Greenhouse could also do with a quick wipe down with Jeyes fluid or like to clean away any bugs and diseases.
Time to browse the seed companies to choose next years crop, but not so much!