Day 244 - September 12, 2011

I know I just posted an update yesterday but I decided I had better get ahead of the coming cold snap and pull my Ghost Peppers and choose one for over wintering. 
Check him out: 

Since the Ghost Peppers are no longer in the above ground garden, I decided I would take the Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers and bury them in their containers in the garden.  That way, tomorrow, I will put the cold frame back on the above ground garden and use it to extend the growing season for the Hung Wax peppers another two or three weeks and hopefully get the second round of peppers to full size if not ripe.  The peppers are already 2-3 inches long if not longer.  Even if they are not ripe, I can pick them and can them.  They just wont be as hot. 

Once I pick all the remaining peppers off of these plants, I will trim them down and get them ready for overwintering also. 

Here is a photo of all my peppers on my deck with the Ghost Pepper for over wintering in the middle of them.

That thing was 4 feet high and 5-6 feet wide before I took the clipper too it.

Pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 243 - September 11, 2011

I decided to pick all the ripe/close to ripe pods today.  It wound up being 53 total.  I picked the red and most of the Orange/Almost red ones too.  I think it will spur the others into ripening quicker.  I am running out of time.  It is supposed to be 87 degrees tomorrow for the high and then 33 for a low on Wednesday and Thursday nights. 

STUPID WEATHER:  87 tomorrow and two days later we are down to 33 for a low.  It is a wonder anything has grown around here this summer.

The low thirties might end their growing season.  I will probably have to pull one before then if I want to over winter it this year.  I will probably try to keep my Hot Hungarian Wax plants going through this coming cold snap.  They both have a lot of new pods that are nearing full size.  A couple more weeks of growth and they will give me a good batch for pickling.  I am almost out of the first round harvest.

In fact, if I pull my Bhuts, I could possibly put the Hot Hung Wax in the Above ground garden and put the cold frame back on.  I am going to look into that.

I will probably give up on the rest even though my Long Red slim has a ton of new pods that are about full size and my Habanero has a million new pods.  My Cayenne has a lot of small pods, the Charleston has about a half dozen almost rip pods left which I will pick before it is all over.  But the rest will go in the trash.  I have all the dried, flaked and powdered peppers I can possibly use.  In fact, I am giving away 40 of the Ghost Peppers that I picked today.  I just dont have any use for them.  One seed can be enough to season a whole meal.

Here are some photos of today’s harvest: (over 50 Ghost Peppers) And check out the size of some of those Habaneros.  Those are some very nice sized pods.

The Ghost Peppers on the top right are from the one plant that seemed a bit different all along.  The pods were yellowish at first instead of green like the other two plants.  The pods are a bit different shape, bigger in general, but they seem lighter too.  They are also very bumpy. 

Check out these photos.

The biggest similarity is the heat.  They are both excessively hot.  Of course, anything hotter than an Habanero is excessively hot to me so they may in fact have significantly varying heat.  I have only kept seeds from the plants that are producing normal looking pods on the left.  I think the pods from the odd plant like the one on the right are maybe a cross.  I have not decided if I will grow any plants next year from seed.  I may just stick with one overwintered Ghost Pepper plant.

I will try to get final photos of all my plants before I call it a season.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 233, September 1, 2011

I knew I had a bunch of Ghost Peppers getting close to getting ripe so I went out to harvest again today.  I got a few more Cayennes, Long Red Slims and a couple nice big Habaneros.  When I got to the Ghost Peppers, I picked a couple and then after finding a whole lot of “orange” pods, I decided it would be better to wait a few more days and get a bigger harvest all at once.  I did however pick the three “isolated” pods that had become ripe.  Those were the three pods on the branch that I had bagged way back in June.  They will be guaranteed to have true seeds since they could have only been self pollinated or pollinated by each other and there was no risk of being cross pollinated by another variety of pepper.  I have taken out the seeds and will be drying them for use in next year’s batch of Ghost Peppers.  The only problem is, that I will probably be overwintering one of the plants from this year and dont really need any more.  I don’t even eat the darn things.  They are just fun to grow but you can find just so many people to give them to.  I also plan on overwintering at least one of the Hot Hungarian Wax peppers and maybe both.  Maybe the Habanero to.  The Habanero is a really great looking plant.  One of the Hot Hungarian Wax pepper plants looks a bit tired but it is still producing a great second batch of peppers so who knows.

Here is my small harvest from today:  The three in the top left are the “isolated” Ghost Peppers, the two in the top right are the Orange Habaneros, the two in the bottom left are more Ghost Peppers and the bottom right ones are Cayennes and Long Red Slims.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 229 -August 28, 2011

Well, I haven’t been paying so much attention to my peppers as I had been.  It seems to have paid off.  I knew I had a lot of ripe peppers so I went out this morning and picked all the ripe ones.  I came back with quite a haul.  I got a lot of Ghost Peppers and a lot of Orange Habaneros.  There are still tons of Ghost peppers out there and the plants are simply exploding.  They are also putting out new blooms and even baby pods again as are most of my other pepper plants.  I am not sure what exactly has caused the growth spurt but I feel it is due to one of two or a combination of conditions.  First was the extremely long and hot weather we had in July going into August and the other condition is that a significant portion if not all the first crop of peppers have been picked.  Here is a photo of today’s harvest.

Here are the Ghost Peppers up close.  There is at least double that still left on the plants from the first round of pods and now there are new ones being produced but they wont have enough time to get ripe before the season ends. 

For those of you who are counting, there are 72 Ghost Peppers in this harvest.

Here are the Orange Habaneros.  There is still quite a few left that will ripen shortly but this plant has begun expanding and producing new pods also.  Just like the Ghost Peppers.  Some of these Habaneros were huge.

A photo of some of the remaining Charlestons.  There are still several left but the plant isn’t putting out any new blooms or pods.

Some of the last Long Red Slims and Cayennes.  There are only a few of the first crop left on the plants but tons of new ones are beginning to grow.  Again, probably not enough time to get them ripe before the weather turns.

Lastly, the Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers.  I had picked the last of these a couple weeks ago but they are putting out a lot of new blooms and many new pods.  I am hoping that they can grow enough to be worth picking before the season ends.  Another batch of these for canning would be awesome.

All of the peppers that I picked today are already in the dehydrator.  I am not sure if I will just bag them whole or if I should grind them into powder.  I already have a lot of powder made up.  I also harvested a lot of seeds from the Charlestons and the Ghost Peppers.  I will be using them for next year and in trade on the Garden Web forum.  I will trade them for other varieties that I might want to grow next year.  Many people do trades on those forums and I have already traded once with a gentleman that goes by the nickname of Smokemaster 2007.  He sent me some cool Habanero Tree seeds.  They are supposed to grow to 10-12 feet tall.  I can’t wait to see how they do for me.  He was great and only asked for a few Charleston seeds in return.  He has literally hundreds of varieties of seeds in his inventory.  A real Chili Head if there was one.

Well, till next time, take care and have a great September.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 219 - August 18, 2011

Another harvest today.  Quite a few Habaneros but quite a few still left on the plant.  Several ripe ones were stunted.  I have seen this on the Ghost pepper plants as well and I think it is due to the plants carrying too many pods.  I am hoping that by picking some of the pods, there will be fewer stunted pods. 

In the top dehydrator tray, those are all Ghost Peppers, the bottom left one is half Habaneros and half Charleston pods and the bottom right one is Long Red Slims and Cayennes.

The plants are doing well overall.  The Ghost Pepper plants are growing huge.  I keep wondering how they would have done in containers.  They are a good three feet tall and and a full arm span wide.  Probably 5-6 feet wide.  They are starting to put out new buds now that I have harvested several pods but it is likely going to be too late in the season for any new pods to get to a ripe stage.  The plants are so big, and they are planted in the above ground garden so there will be no way to prolong their growing season by bringing them in on cold fall evenings.  It doesn’t really matter, I already have more than I need and well over 100 pods already on the plants.  I will however pick at least one to overwinter this year. 

Still lots of nice looking pods that need to ripen.

The Charleston still looks yellowish and sickly but continues to produce some nice fruit. 

The Cayenne is still small and is still putting out fruit but is getting bare.  It looks like it will maybe put out some more blooms but at this point, they won’t have enough time to ripen.

My Long Red Slim only has a few pods left but is back in full bloom.  Again, probably not enough time for any new pods to get ripe but the plant is looking good and healthy. 

Same story for the Orange Habanero.  It is starting to put out a lot of ripe pods and it is back in full bloom after picking pods several times earlier this year.  Some of the pods on this plant are stunted but there are also some very large sized pods. 

I finally picked all of the remaining pods from both of the Hot Hungarian Wax plants.  The one that was looking sickly a month ago has recovered quite a bit but is still not as vibrant looking as the other one.  It put out some real nice pods however.  I will probably pick one of these two to overwinter this year.  They are also putting out new buds and it looks like many of them will open up and bloom at any time now.  Even though they won’t be able to get to a ripe stage, I will pick all remaining pods at the end of the growing season and can them anyway.  The unripe yellow ones are still good, just not as hot…I can always put a little Habanero or Cayenne in the jar with the Wax pepper slices.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 214 - August 13, 2011

A quick update on today’s harvest:  The Ghost Peppers are starting to ripen faster now.  The plants are still growing out of control.  One plant is probably 5-6 feet wide.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 207 - August 6, 2011

The Ghost Peppers are finally starting to ripen a lot faster.  Seems a lot of the smaller pods are also ripening for some reason.  I think it may be because the plants has so many pods that they are trying to get rid of some.  I hope that by picking these, the plants get back into pod production.  I dont think I will be able to produce new pods and have them ripen before the end of the season but I hope some of the latest and smaller ones begin to grow before turning ripe.  There are still a lot of semi ripe pods out there but I am resisting the urge to pick them too.  I beleive that somewhere down the road, they will start ripening really fast.  The weather is supposed to moderate a bit in the next day or so and stay that way.  Hopefully, it gives the pepper plants a surge.  A little rain would great too. 

I will probably leave these guys whole and dry them in my dehydrator that way.

Notice the two at the bottom.  Those are from the plant that is putting out the very light green pods.  They also have a significantly rougher skin as show in the photo below.  One is from the light green plant and the other is a similar size pod from one of the other plants.

My wife, Martha, whipped up a huge batch of Pico de Gallo using some of my Cayenne peppers and a store bought Pablano pepper.  It comes to a little over 12 cups worth.  That should be good for about three days.  Check it out….Where’s the chips???

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 205 - August 4, 2011

I went out and took pictures of my individual plants today.  I am really unable to get separate pictures of my two biggest Ghost Pepper plants.  They have grown so big that they look like one huge plant now and it is impossible to separate the two for a picture. 

Here are my Ghost Pepper Plants just one month ago compared to what they are now:  (notice the gallon milk jug in each photo for a size reference).

July 7, 2011

August 4, 2011

The Ghost peppers have nearly ceased putting out new blooms but are still putting out a few.  Never the less, they are all full of nice looking pods with several being ready or nearly ready to pick.  I would estimate there are probably 200 total pods currently on the three plants.  Many are mature size and just waiting to ripen.  The smaller plant on the left is still putting out very much lighter colored pods and they seem to have a much rougher texture.  Otherwise, they are consistent with the other two plants.  Here are some photos of the smaller plant on the left:

Here are some of the branches from the other two larger plants:

And here is a photo of each of my container pepper plants: (keep in mind they were slightly wilted and I had just watered them)

Orange Habanero:

Long Red Slim:  (well over half the pods have already been harvested)

Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper #1: (This is the one that had gotten sickly looking due to its large load of pods.  I have since picked all but one of the pods and it is looking much better).

This is my Hot Hungarian Wax plant #2 with several pods ready to be picked:

And my always sickly looking Charleston Pepper that is putting out some awesome looking pods even though it has been looking like it was ready to die for two months.  Hot little buggers too.

An last but not least, my Cayenne Pepper.  It is relatively short but has put out a whole lot of nice pods and still has a bunch waiting to ripen.

I picked a bunch of the Charleston Peppers and Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers tonight.  One of the Hungarian Wax Peppers only has a couple baby pods left.  The other plant still has a few large unripe pods left.  I wish I would get another harvest before the season is up.  I really love these things sliced and canned for putting on sandwiches.

So, the harvest season is fully underway and I am not looking forward to it winding down.  We still have a good 5-6 weeks of the regular growing season.  But, I am planning on over wintering 2-3 of my plants this year.  I didn’t realize that could be done with perennials but I have since learned that it is commonly done by many people.  There are some steps I will need to perform before bringing them in for the winter but I think it will be great to see how they do and then to be able to get them back outside and ready to go early next year.  I will chronicle that process in this blog when the time is ready.

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 203 - August 2, 2011

I was out of town the last 4 days so when I went out to check my plants this morning, I had a lot of red showing.  Especially the Cayenne and Long Red Slim.  Both plants are starting to get pretty bare and there are still no new blooms.  I am very skeptical if I will get a second batch from these or any of my plants this year.  All of my plants have ceased putting out new blooms except for a few on the Ghost peppers.  But those have slowed way down too.  I am now convinced that it is not weather related but rather the plant simply going into pod production mode and turning its energy into bringing existing pods to ripe.  I figure they will begin to bloom again at some point now that I have harvested a significant amount from each plant.  One of my Banana Peppers is almost bare now.  If I fail to get a second harvest from my plants, that will be OK since they all have put out a lot of pods already….maybe too many for the plant’s own good.

Here is my total harvest from earlier today:

Here is a close up of my Banana Peppers.  They are from all colors of ripe from yellow and unripe to Red and fully ripe.  I canned these as I did the others.  That recipe is simply awesome.  I love them on my sandwiches.  They provide just enough heat for my taste but give a great zing to any sandwich.  I will add the recipe at the end of this posting.

Here are my first peppers from the yellow Ghost pepper plant.  The pods on that plant also have a much rougher skin on them than the other two plants.  I have not tasted them nor do I plan on it.  I spent the whole day today dealing with burning eyes, lips, face, arms, etc….from some Ghost pepper powder that I got on me early in the day…. The gift that keeps giving.  Yes, I washed my hands thoroughly but it doesn’t matter.  

And here are some more pods from the other two plants.  The second of those two plants also started to put out some ripe pods now.  Notice how these pods are much more smooth than the others.

Also, notice the smaller pods that are already ripe.  Some of those I beleive were pods that formed much later than the bigger ones but for some reason ripened quickly.  I noticed the same phenomena on the Habanero plant.  My theory on that is that the plants became to heavy with fruit and set some of the latest pods to ripen quickly to reduce the load.  I still have many Ghost Pepper pods still to ripen on all three plants.  Although the Ghost Pepper plants are still producing new blooms, they have slowed significantly in the last couple weeks and I don’t expect them to put out much of a later harvest the same as the other plants.

================================================

Quick Canned Banana Pepper (Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper) recipe: (My recipe is a variation of one posted on Garden Web by “shoontok” as shown below.

Posted by shoontok NY (My Page) on

Tue, Jul 12, 11 at 20:47

I picked these off of 3 or 4 different plants, I like picking em green and i guess it frees up plant energy to go ahead and start putting out more growth and flowers for future pods. Pepperoncini did really well in my garden last year, LOTS of pods.

I put em in a jar after making a couple incisions with a knife on each pod. Then i filled up the jar with 3 parts vinegar, 1 part water solution and i also added about a tablespoon of sea salt and about a teaspoon of ground black pepper. Then to the fridge to chill. Ill snack on em in the coming days and then i got to pick more! :)

Jim

RE: Couple of random questions

Tue, Jul 26, 11 at 16:24

Tivo532:
I used that recipe however I adjusted the amounts for 8 oz jars. It looks like Shoontok used a quart jar. I also added about 2tsp of minced garlic in each jar and I used whole Black Peppercorns instead of ground pepper.
Basically for my recipe, I did this:


I used 3 parts distilled white vinegar to one part water, with a couple teaspoons of minced garlic, a couple teaspoons of black pepper corns and a teaspoon of sea salt. I also added a bonus Cayenne pepper to each jar for a little variety. I then sliced all my peppers and put them in the jars with the other ingredients. I came up with 7 1/2 jars worth with each jar holding 8 oz.
Bruce

pepperpikker@gmail.com

Day 196 - July 26, 2011

Well, I hadn’t expected to be posting much this week but I guess you just have to go with the flow.  I decided to harvest all the ripening to ripe peppers off of my Banana pepper plants along with a few more yellow ones.  I am hoping this will allow the plants to become more vigorous and healthy and thus begin to put out some more blooms in hopes of a second round peppers this year.  Since I had so many peppers at once, I decide to “can” them.  I didn’t do a normal canning process on them but the way they are, they should last several months if stored in the refrigerator.  I used a recipe by shoontok off of Garden Web and made a couple of small changes.  I used 3 parts distilled white vinegar to one part water, with a couple teaspoons of minced garlic, a couple teaspoons of black pepper corns and a teaspoon of sea salt.  I also added a bonus Cayenne pepper to each jar for a little variety.  I then sliced all my peppers and put them in the jars with the other ingredients.  I came up with 7 1/2 jars worth with each jar holding 8 oz.  They look kind of pretty in the jars.  I am a bit anxious to see how they taste after a few days in the solution.  They have to be kept in the frig since it isn’t a true canning process that I used and they would spoil otherwise.  As is, they should last several months.

They sure look tasty.

Pepperpikker@gmail.com