Day 354 - December 31, 2011

Well, this will be my last post to this specific blog.  I will start a new blog for next year’s growing efforts. 

I will close out this year’s blog by updating my efforts at overwintering my three pepper plants as well as starting a couple new plants from cuttings. The overwinter plants are doing fine.  The two Hot Hungarian Wax Plants continue to slowly put out new growth and one is still putting out new blossoms.  I have yet to have one take and produce a pod but the last blossom I had is showing signs of maybe having been fertilized.  It isn’t a big deal either way but it would be kind of fun to watch a new pepper pod mature over the next couple of months.  The Ghost Pepper is doing great too.  It is staying green but like the Wax Peppers, it seems to be in a semi-dormant state with little new growth.  Once this spring hits, I expect them to fire back up and take off once I can get them more sunlight on a daily basis.  Here are some updated photos:

This one shows the blooms with the flowers having fallen off.  Just waiting now to see if they were fertilized and will result in a new pod or if they will simply fall off in a day or two.

Here are some photos of my pepper cuttings. 

Here is another photo through to top of the plastic bottle.  Notice the “mold” on the one cutting.  I figured it had maybe died and was right.  I pulled it out.  I also decided to leave the top off the bottle for a while which would drop the inside humidity level considerably.  Well, it seems the remaining cuttings didn’t like that too well.  They dried out a bit and lost most of their leaves in just one day.  The Ghost pepper still looks OK and I put the top back on.  Now it is back to wait and see if they will survive.

This is the cuttings as they stand now with the dead one removed.

So, hopefully the cuttings take root eventually and my overwinter plants continue to survive the unnatural growing conditions until May when I can get them back out where they belong.

So, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New year and I now invite everyone to move to my new 2012 grow blog at:  http://pepperpikker-2012.tumblr.com/

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 339 - December 16, 2011

My Bonsai Peppers are pretty much like I expected them to be this time of year.  They are still nice and green and alive but not growing real vigorous.  The lack of sun and general indoor growing conditions have them in a semi-dormant state.  They are still growing however and even putting out some nice blooms as you can see in the photos below.  I also took some cuttings from the Bonsai Peppers and planted them in hopes I can get them to put out roots and start new plants.  I have two cuttings from the Hot Hungarian Wax and one from the Ghost Pepper.  I am growing them in a 2 liter clear soda bottle.  I cut the bottle in half and planted the cuttings in the bottom half.  Then I slid the top half over the bottom half to make a domed environment to keep the humidity level up which should help the cuttings while they try to get started.  The success rate for growing peppers from cuttings isn’t that high so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  I will keep their progress updated along with the bonsai peppers in this blog.

Here are photos of my Bonsai Peppers.  Notice the Hot Hungarian in the middle is a bit less “green”.  That is partly because it has always been that way and the fact that I used that plant for the two Hot Hungarian Wax cuttings.  The other Hungarian Wax plant has a couple really nice blooms on it right now.  The blooms probably wont fertilize and become peppers while the plants are indoors with little chance of pollination.  But it does happen.

Here is a couple photos of the cuttings.  If you look close, I stuck a toothpick in near the Ghost Pepper.  The other two are the Hot Hungarian Wax peppers.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 321 - November 28, 2011

OK, I can officially call my plants “bug free”.  There has been no re-infestation and the plants are looking pretty good.  The Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers keep trying to put out blooms but so far they just drop off after a few days.  Fine with me.  They are not in any condition to be growing fruit now anyway.  I just want to get them through the winter so they can get a head start on the next growing season.  I just watered them today for the first time in probably a month.  Clearly I do not have a very well draining soil which is unfortunate.  It is so tough to fine Pine or Fir Bark Fines anywhere around here unless I want to pay $20 for 2 cf of “Orchid Bark” which is simply Fir Bark with a new name and high price tag.  They were beginning to show signs of wilting so I went ahead and gave them a drink.  They perked right up within minutes actually.  I have a shipment of Fir Bark coming from Home Depot dot com coming tomorrow.  I hope it is ground fine enough to be useful in making a soil mix for this spring.  I can only get it online and they don’t stock it in local stores so I could not evaluate it personally.  Even if it is good stuff, I don’t think I will re-pot my overwinter plants.  They seem to be doing OK as is and like they say: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  At some point, I will probably have to trim them back but for now, I am going to let them green up and grow the root system. 

Here are my plants as of today:

I ordered some “Sweet” Banana Pepper seeds yesterday from sustainablegardens.com and I hope they are truly “Sweet” Banana Peppers and not Hot Hungarian Wax peppers like I wound up with last year.  My dad wants some pickled Sweet Banana Peppers.  He doesn’t like much heat at all, just the taste.  Those along with some more Hot Hungarian Wax peppers will be the majority of my plants this next year.

Only about one more month and then I will be closing out this blog and starting up my 2012 grow blog.

Take care and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

God Bless y’all.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 309 - November 16, 2011

I forgot to update my battle with Aphids so here goes.  Seems the insecticidal soap did the job. After my initial treatment, I waited a couple days and still found some. So, I gave them three treatments, one each day for three days. I drenched the snot out of them and even gave the soil a coating. I only rinsed them after the first and second treatments. Just too much hassle and mess. But now a week later, I am going to deem them bug free. Not to say that they won’t find a fresh infestation sometime down the road or possibly reinfect from an egg or pupa stage of the current colony that didn’t get killed by the insecticidal soap. But, they are looking good now as far as little albino bugs go. My next point on concern now seems to be that I may need to find a better soil medium. But that is another thread and we can now let this thread end. And just for the record, it was “Ortho” brand insecticidal soap that I used…Worked good for me.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 300, November 7, 2011

OK, I decided to post an update even though I didn’t expect an significant changes for a few weeks at least.  But, as luck wouldn’t have it, I detected the infamous Aphid infestation this morning on my overwinter Ghost Pepper.  Seems this is a very common problem with peppers grown indoors but one that I had yet to experience.  They are outdoor pests to be sure but are generally less of a problem due to the existence of natural predators such as lady bugs which eat them like gummy bears.  Some people actually buy lady bugs and release them indoors to control aphids on their indoor plants.  Not gonna happen here however.  Another common remedy is using various natural soap like concoctions and rinsing the aphids off with it such as in a shower.  Again, ain’t gonna happen here.  I got a call out on the Hot Pepper list on Garden Web and asked for some options that are fast, direct and effective.  I will consider anything short of using a propane blow torch.

I have already trimmed off the three or four infested leaves that I found them on but I am sure I missed a few and from what I hear, they are good at reproducing so I still need a fast, effective and final solution.  Damn things look like lice or something.  Oh, after a quick inspection, I didn’t see any of them on the other two Hot Hungarian Wax plants.  But again, they are sneaky little shits.

I will update you as I try my next solution and let you all know how it goes.  Hopefully I won’t have to resort to the blow torch, I don’t know if our fire insurance is up to date.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 296 - November 3, 2011

It has been a while since my last update but that is because the season is basically over.  All my peppers have been harvested and processed now.  However, I still have my three overwinter pepper plants which are doing quite well.  I have the one Ghost Pepper plant and two Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers.  All three got through the process to overwinter them just fine and all are putting out a lot of nice green shoots all along the branches that remain after the severe trimming they underwent.  They are all even putting out buds and the Ghost Pepper even had a couple blooms on it a couple weeks ago.  I don’t think either of them got pollinated however.  Indoor conditions are not optimal for pollination to occur.  I actually haven’t watered any of the plants since I trimmed and transplanted them.  I think the soil mixture that I used is a bit more compact than I had wanted.  I just cannot seem to find the correct product for making a good draining soil.  I need Pine Bark Fines or Fir Bark Fines.  Neither seem to be had anywhere within a hundred miles of here.  But alas, the peppers seem just as happy as ever.  I will be waiting until the leaves start drooping before watering them.  The worst thing with peppers is keeping them too wet, especially indoors. 

I will also need to trim them back again pretty soon as they haven’t decided it is time to take a break yet.  Here are some updated pictures I took this morning.

The trio just waiting for the afternoon sun to hit them.

Here is a close up of the Ghost Pepper showing just how prolific it still is. 

And here is the two Hungarian Wax Peppers which were both basically bare after I trimmed them back three weeks ago.

Check out the previous photos to see how they have progressed and adapted to their new habitats.

Updates will be fewer and further between but I will keep up with it until I start my new growing blog after the first of the year.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 278 - October 16, 2011

The last of the Peppers.  I canned the last of the peppers today.  Eleven 8 oz jars of Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers slices.  I was able to give away the Long Red Slim and Habanero bushes so those will not go to waste.  There were quite a few ripe Habaneros after hanging it in the garage for a couple days.  They Long Red Slim bush only had a couple ripe pods but it had a ton of green ones.  The Hot Hungarian Wax peppers never did ripen up a whole lot.  They were starting to soften so I had to can them.  Only a couple were showing any real signs of ripening.  Another week or two was needed for that.  But they are great pre-ripe also.  In fact, some of the later ones from the first crop were a little too hot for my taste. 

So here is the canned Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers.  From here on out, my updates will probably just deal with the three pepper plants that I am overwintering.  The one Ghost Pepper and the two Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers.

I also trimmed down the Ghost Pepper plant a couple days ago.  It was growing strong and putting out a ton of new shoots, buds and even blooms.  Even after pruning it way back, today, I notice another bloom.  I guess that is a good thing.  The Ghost Pepper is on the right.

Pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 275 - October 13, 2011

Well, it all has to come to an end some time.  I pulled all my plants today to include the Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers.  The beautiful Indian Summer weather we were having has finally come to an end with projected highs over the next week plus to be in the 50s and lows expected to be in the lower 30s.  I took final photos of all my plants and took photos of the second crop of Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers.  I also trimmed and repotted my Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper plants for over wintering.  So I will wind up with three plants to overwinter.  I am hearing horror stories of aphids, white flies and other pests that like to infest overwintered plants.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I really cut back the Hungarians.  Much more so than the Ghost Pepper.  I may get more aggressive with the Ghost Pepper if these Hungarians come through OK.

Here is the final photos of my Cayenne and Charlestone.

The Cayenne alone.  Notice the top level of leaves that suffered frost damage.  The rest of the plant is doing well however.

The Charleston.  It still has the few second crop pods with a couple of them being ripe. 

Here is the Habanero and Long Red Slim in their last moments.  Both plants are loaded with pods.  But mostly still green ones.  The Habanero has a few ripe ones.  I just needed another couple weeks.

The Habanero.

And the Long Red Slim:

And this brings us to the Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers which I am trying to get a second harvest from for making more canned sandwich peppers.  I decided to pull them today instead of nursing them through the next couple weeks of bad growing weather.  I could do so with the cold frame top but I figured it just wasn’t worth it with no rebound in the weather projected.  I prefer the less hot unripe pods anyway.  Some of my last jars of canned peppers were pretty stout.  Here they are after I pulled them out of the above ground garden but before I pulled them.

Here is the left most one.

And the rightmost one.

Here they are after I pruned their branches.

The left most one.

Right most one.

Here they are after trimming their root ball down.  The original root ball before trimming utilized the entire 5 gallon container.  Very good looking roots.

And here they are after repotting and sitting next to my Ghost Pepper Bonsai.

I know the pruning was drastic but I have seen others do it this way with great success.  And I dont want them getting too big too fast.  It is going to be a long winter.  Hopefully, I can get them out early next year with a big head start and get two great crops off of them.

The one on the left with the light colored pot is the one that looked sickly much of the summer.  It seemed to produce just as good as the other one though.  I didn’t prune it quite so drastically and I will be interested to see how it comes through the winter.

And lastly, photos of my second crop of Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers.  Notice that one of the pods was beginning to ripen and it looked like several others were starting to make the change.  Just another two weeks is all I would have needed to get a great range of pod ripeness.

All in all, it was a productive and fulfulling season.  I hope the Bonsai’s work out and hopefully, with lessons learned, I can have another good if not better crop of seedlings ready for next spring.  I will continue this blog with updates to my Bonsai project up until the time I begin planting seeds for next summer.  At that point, I will probably create a new blog for the 2012 season and continue my Bonsai updates in that blog.  I expect that to happen some time in February 2012.  See you there.

Keep checking back for updates to my Bonsai Peppers until I switch over to the 2012 growing season.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 265 - October 3, 2011

We are in the midst of a beautiful Indian Summer and it is keeping my pepper plants going.  It looks like it is going to last for a while too.  But I know the end is close.  My Cayenne took a bit of hit from the last cold snap as I have not been bringing that one or the Charleston in at night on cold nights.  But it doesn’t look dead.

Here is my Cayenne and Charleston together.

Regarding my Habanero and Long Red Slim.  Both are doing great with tons of second crop pods that are mostly full size.  But just the Habanero has a few ripe ones so far.  I neglected to photo them this time.

Here is my two Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers that I have been keeping in my above ground garden with the cold frame top.  I hope to keep these going long enough so that several of them get to various ripe stages before I harvest them for making more canned sandwich peppers.

And lastly, my Ghost Pepper Bonsia.  It is doing great since I cut it back and repotted it.  It is putting out buds and many new shoots with leaves.  I am going to have trim it back again soon.

Lets hope this weather lasts for a while.  Winter is coming soon enough.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 256 - September 24, 2011

I thought it was time for an update.  After that cold snap a couple weeks ago, I thought all my peppers would be in the trash by now.  But they marched right on through that unscathed.  In fact, they seem to be thriving with the cooler weather.  All the plants are on their second round of pods.  I have already cleaned all the plants from the first harvest.  My Habanero is stuffed with peppers but they are all still green and most are only half sized right now. It is tough to see the peppers but there is at least 100 on there.  Probably 150+.

The Long Red Slim is also packed with peppers and most are about full size already but still green.

This is my Charleston which actually still has one or two pods from the first batch but it blooming and trying to start a second batch.

And this is my Cayenne which never grew real big but did put out a nice harvest of pods.  It is very thick and is trying to bring its second round of pods to harvest.

And here is an update on my Bonsai Ghost Pepper plant.  It took the whole process in stride and is doing very well.  It is even sprouting new buds.

This photo shows the new buds on the Bonsai.

Here is a photo of my peppers still on the deck shelf.

And then my Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers which are still in the raised garden in back.  They are doing fine, still trying to bring their second round of pods to ripe.  The weather report looks pretty good for the next week plus as far as temps.  The cold frame will keep them in the correct temperature zone but what they really need now I think is sun.  We are in for a few cloudy days but after that looks like some good sunny growing weather.  They have a lot of nice looking pods and I would love to can another round for this winter.

The weather report suggests that I should be able to get all my plants into October which would be great.  The cool nights will make it tough for the plants on the deck shelf to get their pods ripe.  Hopefully, with the cold frame and heater, I can keep the Hot Hungarian Wax going until they start to ripen.  If not, I will just harvest them and can them yellow which is OK.  The problem with the cold frame situation is that they get less sun due to the trees.  But once the season is over for good for the Hungarian Wax. I will Bonsai them like the Ghost Pepper and bring them in for the winter so I can get a good early harvest next year and then a second later on.

Pepperpikker@gmail.com