Chilijournal 1712

Since it's December the chili season 2018 has started, too! Half of them have already sprouted. There is a Bishop's Crown. Let's try this one again, the ones from last year were plain boring. But they are supposed to be pretty good. So this will be Bishop's Crown: take 2. Or the obvious problem is: only Demon's Crown will produce anything interesting.

Pumpkin Pepper. Not sure about these, but the fruits looked interesting. Like little pumpkins. Originally cultivated somewhere in the US. Of course, where else would you find pumpkin crazed folk. ;)

Why always so colorful? Why indeed, I found one that is called Snow White. The plant is normal of course, but all the chili peppers are white and won't turn into any other color even when ripe. Might be a problem to determine when they ripen, but it sounded fun.

Of course we need a few classics every year. So the good old Ghost Pepper is back. But there is no real guarantee it will be one. This one was from generation three seeds, so it might be Bell Pepper or something really dangerous. Which reminds me of the story I wrote for Chili Charger! What a perfect opportunity to try it! (No, I didn't plan to include a link into this post. It was pure coincidence!)

17.06 Chilis

After many hot days most chilies doubled in size. I guess the lemon drop more like tripled. And finally on the way to the first peppers! Lots of cayenne golden already, must be more like 10 waiting to turn yellow. The scotch bonnet has turned into a tree. Used a rather large pot. There are like 50 blossoms and many of them are turning into chili peppers now.

Together with chilies I planted cucumbers which are finally starting to grow and a butternut squash from a seed obtained from a fruit last year. This one is totally overgrowing the poor ghost pepper in the same pot. Everytime the ghost pepper grows by 1 cm the squash plant has grown by 10 cm. Looking at the size this thing grows to, pumpkins might not be the best thing to grow in pots on a balcony. :)

17.04 Chili

Finally! Sunny days. What looked like a perfect chili season with almost 20°C at the beginning of march, turned out to be a rainy, even snowy, mess until end of April.

But now let battle commence with the following peppers:

  • Trinidad Scorpion: really wanted this one again.
  • Habanero Red: no experiments there, just a good old classic.
  • Fatalii Yellow: best chili I've ever had. Not too deadly. I'd call them perfect.
  • Ghost Pepper: another classic. Jolokia Yellow but 3rd generation. Let's see what we have here.
  • Cayenne Golden: another 2nd generation chili. But since this one already has some fruits and they look like Cayennes are supposed to look, probably no surprises here.
  • Scotch Bonnet: used seeds from a chili pepper I bought somewhere at the city market.
  • Vulcano: now despite the lovely name, this one is actually only a class 3 chili. Rather large fruits if I remember correctly.
  • Lemon Drop: another new one. I bought some fresh lemon drop chilis from Chilifood last year and they were extremly delicious. They indeed tasted a bit like lemon and were not too hot. Probably a good 7 on the scale. These are growing quite large it seems. Almost triple the size of the others. Let's hope they produce pain at that rate, too!

With the weather getting better now, the chilis can now be outside. Right now it's perfectly sunny. Baking in the sun and converting solar energy into pain!

Chilis for 2016

Chili season 2016 has already started. I planted 15 about a week ago. This year I don't have an "extreme-only" mix, but variety. Of course no chili season can go without Reapers. So for this year we have:

The Bishop's Crown grow extremly fast, and extremly big. They are also a bit fragile due to their size. Let's hope the first storm doesn't blow them away once they're outside. The list is sorted by heat. Complete meltdown on top and more like bell pepper on the bottom. But I'm still mostly looking forward to the Bishop's Crowns. They were extremly tasty without setting your mouth on fire. For some people, this may be a good thing. Probably not for us that grow chilies. :)

Harvest 2015

This year's harvest is probably less than 2014. Bad weather in the spring, less plants and experiments with soil which turned out to be suboptimal. Not all variants seem to like compressed cocos fibre. The stuff can hold a lot of water, but the plants contantly have "wet feet" and it dries out pretty fast. The turfless soil I tried this year is much better. I will use that again next year. Only downside: it's more annoying to transport. I could probably order it at amazon, but that really feels weird.

So, this year's leaderboards:

Type# of plants# of fruitsRank
Ají Dulce2104th
Carolina Reaper2551st
Trinidad Scorpion115th

Profile: Bishop's Crown

When I first sowed the Bishop's Crown seed in June this year I was more expecting it to become an indoor chili for the window sill. But it turns out they are even faster growers than the Fataliis and after only 1.5 months the plant is 75cm high. Not even a small pot prevented it from growing. It just became offended, letting its leaves hanging, and I had to put it into a bigger pot.

After a bit of research it turned out that these plants grow up to 2-3m high. They seem to grow much larger than your standard capsicum chinense plant. It even grew so fast that the trunk is kinda thin and it seems to have trouble getting enough water to the topmost leaves.

Environmental conditions

Hailing from the Carribean they should be accustomed to tropical climate. Interestingly 35°C behind a window glass (greenhouse like) seems to be almost uncomfortable and 40°C in direct sunlight is too much for them. They seem to like it much better in the shade and, in contrast to other chilis I have, need plenty of water. While others are fine with the soil completely dry for a day or two the Bishop's Crowns seem to prefer it mostly wet.

The Test: Carolina Reaper

The first Carolina Reaper chili was ready today. Compared to other red chilis they look more orangish and quite poisonous if you ask me. Ah well, no pain no gain. So I made a traditional chili con carne and spiced it up quite a bit with a finely chopped chili. The conclusion: they burn as hot as they look! I'd say the stories you've read elsewhere are definitely true. This is a weaponized chili pepper. If you enjoy pain or like to see others gasp for air while they try to eat your evil cuisine, give this one a try. :)

Day 170

It's been some time, every plant made it. But with the weather being extremly bad most of the time they are kind of late this year. It's finally getting warmer and most of all sunny. I've given away some of them which leaves: 2x Carolina Reaper, 1x Trinidad Scorpion, 3x Habanero, 2x Ají dulce, 1x Fatalii. And a pot with two more plants that I forgot to label. Chili surprise. Should be a Fatalii and an Ají dulce, but who knows.

The fastest one is, as always, the Fatalii. It's the first one with a green and growing fruit. Now that the sun is out more often the Carolina Reapers also decided not to drop their petals anymore, but to start converting them into… well, let's call them flaming fruits of fiery doom.

I have also brought one more contender: Bishop's crown. I had them once as pickled chilies and they were absolutely fantastic. Extremly fruity and sweet, but rather mild. It's probably too late for this year, but other plants grew perfectly fine indoors during winter, so it may work out just fine.

Day 37

After some more time almost all chilis have sprouted. Except for one Reaper and two Scorpions. So for this year I have:

  • 4x Habanero (actually 2 and one "dual mutant chili")
  • 3x Ají dulce
  • 3x Fatalii
  • 2x Carolina Reaper
  • 1x Scorpion

The LED lighting seemed to have worked quite OK. Now the days are getting longer and they should soon do fine without artificial lighting.

Day 17

The most likely final count for this year's chilis is:

  • 3x Ají dulce
  • 3x Fatalii
  • 2x Habanero
  • 2x Carolina Reaper
  • 1x Trinidad Scorpion

11 plants should be enough. Artificial lighting this year is an LED light. 5.5W, 385lm and 4000K. It's a "cold white" LED which is much "bluer" than the fluorescent lamp I used last year. But also brighter and consumes only 1/3 of its power. Let's see if it works better, but then the best light comes from outside anyway so they have a nice place on the window sill.

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