Hot Pepper Action (2008 Garden Update #6)

Hello gardeners and hot pepper fans. It’s time for the sixth update for the 2008 garden season.

When I posted Garden Update #5, we had just about completed the final transplant for most of the peppers, going from cell packs to styrofoam cups to 7-inch pots, and finally landing in assorted 5 to 7 gallon pots.

It has been about six weeks since then, and everything is going very well. Vigorous growth continues on most of the plants, bacterial spot has been kept mostly at bay, and insect pests are almost non-existent.

And man oh man have we already harvested a ton of peppers! We’ve given them to three of our neighbors, the owner of a local restaurant where we eat, and all of Jaime’s coworkers. We had a hot pepper taste test with my my nieces and nephew (age 8,9,10– and they all loved the peppers, the hotter the better). We’ve cooked a ton of hot food, and we’ve made some tabasco-style hot sauce (only 10x hotter).

Time for the photos.

First up, my makeshift drying station. Yeah, yeah, it’s a card table and a black trash bag. But hey, it’s going to be 101 today. It seems like a good time as any to start drying the paprika peppers, and the other peppers we harvested over the weekend. Since we harvested these a few days ago, I can’t send them out to friends because they would be rotten by the time they arrived. I can’t stand to let my peppers rot in the kitchen, so time to dry.

Working from top to bottom, left to right:

Hungarian Sweet Paprika (2 rows)
Spicy Mustard Habanero (far right)
Tabasco Pepper
Thai Chili
Long Red Slim Cayenne
Grocery store variety (but homegrown) Scotch Bonnet
Hot Paprika

Once the Paprika peppers are dry, I plan on smoking half of them before grinding, leaving me with hot paprika, sweet paprika, smoked hot paprika, and smoked sweet paprika. Mmmmmmm…!

These next two shots are of the main pepper rows, one from each end:

White Habanero:

Spicy Mustard Habanero:

Caribbean Red Habanero:

I had some shots of the fluorescent purple pepper, but they didn’t turn out too well, as were the pictures of my medusa pepper. I’ll get some new shots soon.

And by the way, if my pepper plants look wet in those pictures, that is because I had just completed my weekly spraying. I’ve made my own special spray that I’m trying out. 2 tablespoons liquid copper as an anti-fungal, 2 tablespoons paraffin oil as a pesticide, and 2 tablespoons fish emulsion as a foliar fertilizer to one gallon of water.

And by the way, if you’re interested in my soil mix, I ended up settling on:

5 gallons potting mix (Miracle Grow or Sta-Green)
1 gallon perilite
2 tablespoons controlled release fertilizer with micro-nutrients
2 tablespoons bone meal (for calcium and phosphorous).

That’s all for now. Update #7 coming in the semi-near future!

4 thoughts on “Hot Pepper Action (2008 Garden Update #6)

  1. The funny thing though, Dayna, is that the drooling usually occurs with my peppers after you eat them. And it continues long after you eat it. Heh…!


  2. Mike. I have tobasco peppers. They are small less than an inch. What should I fertilizer with. Just repotted mixed black cow and top soil added granual fertilizer also. Wayne

  3. Hi Wayne,

    I am sure there is a lot of debate and discussion to be had on fertilizer. Some people even say that fertilizing after the plants are established does nothing to help pepper production. I use what I know works.

    At planting, I use composted manure, calcium, and, if the soil has been used several times before, a balanced slow-release with micro-nutrients.

    Early in the season, I use a balanced or high nitrogen fertilizer. My preference is to use organics when possible, so I use Omri Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1). It is available at Home Depot around $6-$8. A word of warning, though– it is some the foulest smelling stuff you will ever encounter. Just terrible. But, it has worked well for me.

    Later in the season, I typically do not fertilize unless necessary. If the plant has yellowing from the bottom up, I hit it with fish fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer wouldn’t hurt, just don’t use anything with more nitrogen than phosphorous or potassium.

    Beyond that, I have found that it is more important to keep the plants free of fungus and pests.

    For fungicide, I spray on liquid copper. It works great. Prevention is better, though. Make sure your plants do not overlap. Imagine it raining. If raindrops can splash off of your plant, and hit another plant, or the dirt around another plant, fungus will spread. Make sure to give your plants adequate spacing.

    For pests, I usually use paraffin oil. While technically not organic, I have found that it is the least offensive pesticide that works.

    Good luck with your peppers! Tabascos are fun. They grow like crazy, and produce lots of high-moisture peppers that ripen to a beautiful orange and taste great. My last Tabasco even survived the winter!

    This year, I only have a small selection, as we have been focusing on picking and planting landscaping. 8 bell pepper, 12 cayenne. They’re all setup in two planter boxes (2′x8′ each). They have drip irrigation, and I used weed cloth and pine bark nuggets to hold in moisture and block out weeds. I have 3-4 bell peppers ready to harvest in the next couple of days, and there are about a dozen cayenne peppers that are over 4″ long.

    Take care,


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