Monday, August 11, 2008

Pepper Report

Another update on the growing guide...

This year I grew Roberto's Cuban Seasoning and Lemon Drop peppers from seed, as well as a hot pepper mix that included ancho, jalapeno, cayenne, Hungarian Wax, and poblano. These I started under lights inside in March and April. I bought plants for habanero, red bell, and tabasco. All were planted out the last week of April in a soil amended with homemade compost, store bought mushroom compost, and manure.

Roberto's Cuban Seasoning
Started 9 seeds of which three were viable. Planted those out - 1 died and two are still a-growin'. One is now reliably producing a gorgeous and delicious wrinkled Chinese lantern type of pepper. The other is still growing and is stunted for some reason, although it looks healthy. Roberto's is billed as being a heat-free version of the habanero with that delicious taste. While it doesn't look like a habanero, it could be reasonably similar in appearance to a savina or scotch bonnet, but wrinklier. It does have that phenomenal taste and very low (though not heat-free) heat. I had trouble getting these maturity, but I frequently have trouble starting and maintaining peppers from seed (except for Fish Peppers which seem to grow themselves). They're worth the trouble, though - great pepper if you can get em going. Very, very, very tasty!

Lemon Drop
I started 6 of these, of which 2 were viable. Planted them both out and 1 died. The other is now covered in green peppers that are beginning to ripen to yellow. I guess I can't really comment on the flavor as they haven't ripened yet, but hopefully they will taste like the one I got from the pepper lady last summer - it tasted like a pepper dipped in lemon! YUM! In any case, these too were persnickety in terms of the growing culture. I don't have much space for heating mats and a big lighting rig, but I bet that would help my pepper turnout...

Hot Pepper Mix
These grew very easily in comparison to the speciaty peppers mentioned above. They are likely hybrids, though - wasn't mentioned on the package specifically what variety they are. In any case, they were much easier. So far I've gotten some of all, but the real stars have been the Hungarian Wax peppers which have gone mad. The anchos are doing okay. The jalapenos are doing well. The cayenne is working on it. The poblano is not doing so okay. Both the poblano and the anchos are somewhat spindly and growing straight up, rather than bushing out. Not enough leaf cover to prevent sunburn on the fruits. Lame. I think next year I will pinch all of my peppers when they are young things and remove the first sets of flowers. I want busy, bushy plants!!!

Red Bell
Hmph. Usually when I've purchased plants they've done well. Well, not these. The plant looks okay but I've only gottn 4 bells off it so far. Boo! And the first had BER on the side of it. I know it was a weird year weather-wise (wettest on record by July!) but still. Not impressed this year.

I've had good luck with habaneros in the past and this one is no exception - big, bushy plant with loads of lethal orange beauties. Doing great.

This is probably the standout plant in my garden this year - well, this and the Grendel Squash of Doom - but this one is much more manageable and productive in a much, much smaller amount of space. This plant is literally covered in hundreds - yes, really - of tiny peppers. I'm constantly pulling them off. Very much worth the space and time, particularly if you love things bloody spicy. Need I mention homemade tabasco???


Bee said...

Good God, that's a lot of peppers. My husband would be jealous. We started three different peppers from seed and they are planted in the boxes and they are doing fantastic. My hubby made this wicked habernero sauce a couple years ago, and I won't touch those peppers anymore!

Lewru said...

I LOVE habanero sauce. I love the rush and the spins and the fire and the endorphins. Woohoo!!!

Anonymous said...

HH, I know a great recipe for ya peppas. Sweet Pepper Crostini:

That's my little food blog on Jamie Oliver's site. Very excited new outlet for my cooking jones.


Lewru said...

TONY!!! Way to go! A deserved outlet for your culinary dare-devilry!