A few hot ones this year mixed in with some windowsill ornamentals. The chinense varieties are mainly Trinidad types. We will also be using the hydroponic Wilma 4 pot system again with clay pebbles, plus the NFT hydroponic system as well.
This Years Varieties
Chinese Pot Chilli: (Capsicum annuum) Hundreds of chillis per plant. Tiny ½" long fruits all point up and ripen from green to red and and stay on the plant for a long time. Great for drying and grinding or using whole. ideal for the conservatory or hot sunny windowsill. Demon Red: (Capsicum annuum) Bred for growing on a windowsill or in patio containers. Attractive, very dwarf plants, for edible and ornamental use. The flowers and upward pointing fruits which start green and turn bright red, are produced throughout the season. Etna: (Capsicum annuum) An early, hot Italian chilli pepper. Compact plant which produces bunches of conical dark green fruits which grow upwards, turning bright red when ripe. Firecracker Pequin:(Capsicum annuum) These striking multi-branching multi coloured plants with their brilliant coloured hot spicy fruits. Plants are soon covered with little cream, purple and orange that slowly mature to red. Mustard Habanero:(Capsicum chinense) This is a rare Habanero. Large plant (18-32") produce high yields of peach-colored fruits. White Habanero:(Capsicum chinense) Small bushy chilli plants produce very high yields of fiery hot chilli peppers of a lantern shape with a creamy/white coloured skin. A Caribbean variety, a favourite for its smokey taste and extreme heat. Pyramid: (Capsicum annuum) Early ornamental and hot. Compact plant producing small, conical, yellow fruits with lilac shading, turning red when ripe, ideal for the conservatory or hot sunny windowsill. Pusa Jwala: (Capsicum annuum) Popular Indian hot pepper. This variety is also often called Finger Hot Indian Pepper. The umbrella type plant produces lots of fruits in green colour in early stage and later turning into red ripe. The matured hot pepper has high pungency, excellent to use fresh or dried. The fruit with wrinkled skin is about 4" in length. Purrira: (Capsicum frutescens) These bushy plants grow to 18–24" and produce a profusion of 2in long conical shaped hot fruits that grow upright on the plant. The medium thick fleshed pods start off yellow and have a purple mottling before maturing to an orange/red colour. Trinidad Congo:(Capsicum chinense) In Trinidad, Habanero pepper relatives are called 'Congo peppers' and this one is an extra-large red Habanero type. At 2 inches long and wide, its peppers are significantly bigger and more ribbed than the typical red Habanero. They are also intensely hot and extremely productive, with large harvests of peppers. Trinidad Perfume:(Capsicum chinense) This Habanero type variety produces 1 to 1.5 inch long by 1 to 1.25in wide 'turks cap' type pods which matures from green to bright yellow. The pods have a fantastic aroma and good smoky flavour with no heat. 7 Pod: (Capsicum chinense) This variety is from the Chaguanas area of Trinidad and is extremely rare. In Caribbean regions it is also known as 7 pot as one pod is said to provide enough heat to spice up 7 pots of stew. Pods are Habanero like in there shape but have the characteristic 'pimpling' as found on another fearsome variety - the Naga Morich. Trinidad Scorpion:(Capsicum chinense) The plants are tall, upright and reasonably productive bearing 2 to 3inch long pendant pods which taper to a sharp pointed 'tail'. The pods mature from green to orange and finally red. Yellow Trinidad: (Capsicum chinense) Produces heavy set of 1-2 inch wrinkled deep orange-yellow fruits with very hot and strong smokey flavour.
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. JiffyJiffy Pellets The Jiffy-7® pellet: fine netting is filled with high-quality substrate and then compressed to form a handy pellet. Just add water, and the little planting wonder grows to up to seven times its size in a few moments. It is held together by fine netting, ensuring optimum air/water exchange. 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 16: Most of the varieties have done well except I had 0% germination on the Padrons which were newly bought seeds this year, with no response from the seed company when I enquired. Carolina Reapers on the other hand had 100% germination. With some help from the T5 grow lights and being better weather this year I think we are about a month ahead over previous years growth.
Mar 16: After a month, the Jiffy Pellets, have done well, easy to use, held moisture well considering they are in a warm environment, plus less mess than using soil cells. This year we have had a good germination rate obviously some are better than others but we have all plants up on our original list we set about to grow. I will probably cut off the net bag when we transplant as chilli roots don't seem vigorous enough to get through them to me. Any seeds which haven't shown in 2-3 weeks were replaced with fresh as I cant afford to wait and would rather try another. Will wait a bit longer to transplant as the next stop for them is outside in the greenhouse and weather is still a bit too cold to move them, so they will have to continue to enjoy the benefits of the conservatory where they seem to enjoy listening to Planet Rock.
Mar 21: Most plants now have 4 leaves and the roots are starting to show through the jiffy pellet bag so will be transplanting the Jiffy Pellets straight in 6 cm pots. I have never known such a cold wet day for replanting, so had to work in the kitchen with a sack of soil, mess everywhere. Plants drooped alarmingly as usual but soon picked up and are now back in the heated Vitopod. Calibration fluids essential for calibrating you pH meter and EC meter.
Mar 21: Time to sort out the hydroponic gear, new set of batteries and time to calibrate the EC and pH pens for accurate readings. Small amounts of pH buffer and EC conductivity fluid are poured into a small beaker and the pens adjusted with a fine screwdriver to the correct setting for the fluids. Now I can mix solution to soak the 3 inch rockwool cubes in (pH 5.5 EC 1.0) for the 5 plants which will end up in the NFT tank.
Jiffy pellets are a tight fit into the 1 inch holes so a little bit of scraping the sides back and they drop in. These will need to show good signs of the roots coming through before moving into the NFT tank. Time now to give them some artificial lighting and as last year will use the 200W blue CFL's. Weather Update: Temp this morning was 1C and on and off all day was rain, sleet and snow flurries.
Apr 27: Have moved five plants into the NFT tank as roots are now showing well thro the 3inch rockwool cubes. These plants will be grown with Ferro nutrients. 3 plants which are a bit more advanced from earlier planting have had the roots washed of soil and are in clay pebbles in the Wilma 4 pot, these will be grown in GH 3 part nutrients. Both have been set at about pH 6.0 EC 1.6. The rest of the plants are still in the conservatory as light and temperature is still down for April giving poor growing conditions.
May 1: Whitefly and Greenfly are big problems again this year especially as the plants are on a go slow towards growing, here a few remedies we've tried, chemical Provado's Ultimate Bug Killer and a few naturals like Pest Off, and SB Plant Invigorator, which are the soapy based ones, to the smelly Neem Oil which smells of garlic/onion which probably repels them, but they soon come back, seems to be best with a small brush on the smaller plants as they easily come off.
Predators will also help, included the 46 different ladybird species in the UK, including 3 'new' species which have become established in the last few years. I have put several on the larger plants and they are still helping me, I suppose its the free lunched I provide. Of the newer varieties, the Harlequin, has a black body with two or four red spots on unlike our common 7 spot.
Wilma 4 Pot now contains two Trinidad Scorpions, one 7 Pod and a Congo Red, while the GS 200 has a mixture of five Habanero's in, all settled down to a PH of about 6 after 2ml of PH down for the GH 3 Part Nutrients. The rest of the bunch have all been planted in 4 litre pots and are all in the greenhouse from the conservatory which seems even later than usual this year. Some later sowings by 6 weeks have even caught up with the earlier sowings as usual, they just do not grow very well in Feb/March weather.
May 10: A whole week of sunshine and its certainly made a difference, the Habanero types in the NFT have grown more in one week than the 10 weeks since germination. Most of the chinense's seem to be growing the best while the Pyramid, Etna, Pusa Jwala and the Purrira are very slow developing.
May 25: A month has past since the plants have been either potted on or put into the hydro systems, we've had about one week of good sunshine in that time and the only plants which have grown significantly are the hydroponic ones, the Habanero's must be about five times larger than the same strain plants in the soil. Its Bank Holiday weekend, so as usual its raining, still greenhouse stuff to do, change the nutrients in both tanks and feed the other plants with the old solution.
June 11: A few of the plants are starting to flower but some are still quite small considering how long they have been growing, the only ones really doing well are the hydro plants, with the first plant producing a pod is the 7pod in the Wilma drip feed, with all the habanero's having absolutely massive leaves and shooting up in the NFT.
July 10: Slow progress on a lot of the plants this year. The only ones which are still growing like mad are the hydro plants, as can be seen left, these are just starting to flower, and looking really healthy and green. Some are doing so badly I have re-potted them back into smaller pots with a better compost, as they didn't seem to like the miracle gro which was more like woodchip.
July 27: The Trinidad Scorpion and the 7 Pod in the Wilma 4 pot are ahead of the rest with quite a lot of pods forming, while the Trinidad Seasoning and Mustard Habanero are just starting to form in the NFT. Both Hydro tanks are now drinking about 10 litres a week so will need to keep an eye on levels and pH more now. Pyramid and Chinese Ornamental are just starting to pod but the rest are pretty poor and have chucked some out, which I think is from the crap compost we used as they just didn't grow a single leaf after potting on.
July 29: Just had a tidy up of the pot plants, removing the dead heads of flowers to reveal the new pods forming, gave them all a sprinkle of bat guano, tapped all the pots to loosen the compacted soil a bit and help the fertilizer mix down and gave them all a slight watering, as they can be deceivingly wet underneath the top few inches, even thou the weather is hot. The Datil, Pusa Jwala and Brazilian Starfish have all been scrapped this year as they have just not grown very well, either growing a very weak single stem or just stopped growing after about 4 leaves and sort of drying up so I decided not to carry on with them, will try again next year. The Firecracker, Purrira and Etna has a few pods on but still aren't that big for the time of the season. On the other hand a couple of extras I'm growing this year which got sown a lot later are doing really well, Gusto Purple and Demon Red, both of these are in pots full of fruit and looking really healthy, did I start the others off too early with our poor Spring weather now?
Aug 15: The White Habanero has quite a few flowers and small pods on, but is still a very small compact plant as it didn't get off to a very good start, but all the rest are now growing quite well considering the Summer is still to arrive again. The Demon Red which was planted late has caught up well with a crop crop of 3cm fiery pods on.
Aug 28: As can be seen the 7 Pod is starting to ripen well with a huge crop, with a few of the Trinidad Scorpions just showing signs of turning on the first few smaller ones. All the types grown hydroponically have now reached the greenhouse roof, and bursting with chillis, requiring constant nutrient top ups and stringing up to keep them up.
(Don't think these are true 7 pod, see later on variety as I am growing from 2 different sources)
Sept 13: All plants are on a go slow, especially the pot planted ones as they are refusing to grow quickly and ripen their fruits. The White Habanero seems to be very stunted after a poor start so have composted it and will have another go at this one next year as the fruits were the size of marbles.
Sept 20: The 7 pod (left) seems to more genuine with its dimpled skin than the earlier displayed photos which are now questionable, if they are even 7 pod as I was given the plant earlier in the season. There is now an enormous amount of good sized chillis on all the hydroponically grown plants this year with the majority now starting to ripen.
Sept 27: Still slow progress even though the last week of September was fairy warm. Pot plants are beginning to suffer from the cold with yellowing leaves and dying back branches, but still picking chillis from them. All the hydroponic plants have had a drastic de-leafing (above) to let in more light and free flowing of air to keep mildew down, still plenty of fruit to ripen on these.
Trinidad Congo Red
Right can be seen various stages of ripening of a Trinidad Scorpion, it seems to like ripening from top to bottom, underneath Mustard Habanero, Red Congo and Trinidad Perfume.
Oct 18: Not a bad week for October, some sunshine, pot plants are now struggling and leaves turning yellow. Hydroponic plants have now had a really good cut back of leaves again to let air and light through to get the remaining chillis ripe. Last 10 litres of nutrient going into each system as all plants are heavily loaded with fruits.
The Mustard Habanero's are growing into all shapes from round ones to longer types with scorpion like tails on them all on the same plant.
Oct 25: Two hard frosts this week, needing to de-ice the car in the mornings, so time is now running out, just had a pick of all the hot ones as they are still going strong. Will clear the potted plants out this weekend, leaving just the hydro plants at the end of the greenhouse. Greenhouse clean and scrub down time looming and a think of next years varieties, introducing 2 more NFT tanks as they seem to easily outstrip the soil grown plants for size and fruiting especially in the poorer Summers.
Final clear out and was amazed by the root systems on both hydroponic systems, with the NFT pattern growing thro the gullies.
Jan 5 2009: I have kept one yellow karneval in a pot indoors for overwintering, and at the the moment its had a couple of small waterings since October, sitting on a cool south facing windowsill, and lo and behold has some small chillis forming.