Too late for the super-hot peppers?

rangedahl(Europe Zone 5/6)March 17, 2011

Long, long time lurker, first time poster. Registered in 2007 but haven't posted until now. I feel like I know a lot of you on these boards, but I know the same can't be said about me; I know, a little creepy. :P With that said, onto my question.

I have acquired a fairly large amount of seeds which I had intended to grow in my raised bed square foot garden this summer (with a Mel's Mix-ish type medium), but I'm starting to worry that I might be too late already. My list of peppers is as follows:

Ring of Fire

Yellow Cayenne

Super Datil

Scotch Bonnet Trinidad Red

Aji Russian Yellow

Aji Pineapple

Golden Cayenne


Fish Pepper

Lemon Drop

Joe's Long Cayenne

Thai Red Hot

Trinidad Doglah

Wirri Wirri

Bhut Jolokia Brown

Assam Bhut Jolokia Indian


Habanero Red Savina

7 Pod Large Yellow

Trinidad Yellow 7 Pod Original

Dorset Naga

Bih Jolokia


Bombay Morich

Aji Lemon Peru Yellow

CPI Bhut Jolokia

Naga Morich

Naga Jolokia

Orange Habanero

Caribbean Red Habanero


'Jalastar' Jalapeno

Cayenne Long Slim

Hungarian Hot Wax

I live in what I think would be the equivalent of a U.S. Zone 5. With extreme luck, 90 days of summer can be had, but more often than not, it is less than that. Highs can be in the high 80s with fairly high humidity, although 75-80 is more common. I know these super-hots require a long summer, so I'm starting to think I might be out of luck already as most of my chilies are still in their packets. I did start my habaneros, cayenne, Hungarian and jalapenos January 17th. I have 6 more mystery peppers (as in they lost their markers) just about sprouting, and 32 habaneros from store bought fruit I am trying to grow just for the heck of it. Habanero seeds are about $1.50-2.00 a piece here, so it's worth the effort to see if I can get the seeds from $1 worth of fruit to grow.

I'm not one to give up, so I'm looking at alternatives. In order for me to get any fruit from these beauties, would I be better off growing them in containers and bringing them back indoors when it starts getting cold outside? I don't have a greenhouse, but I do have a fairly decent indoor seed starting and seedling growing system. My germination rate all across the board is in the high 90%, so I think I have that part down right.

I know some of you plant your chilies in the ground and then dig them up and put them back in pots for the winter. I think I already know the answer to my initial question in that I won't be able to get fruit if I leave them in the ground, so I guess what my question now is, would I be better off leaving them in pots? My weakness is transplanting. I can get anything to germinate and grow, but as soon as I re-pot, things tend to go down hill which is why I am hesitant to put them in the ground to begin with. Then again, I don't know that I have enough space for 34 mature pepper plants indoors. :S

I apologize for the novel. I guess this is my attempt at introducing myself and becoming a contributing member of these boards.

Thanks in advance!

/ Per

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Plant em out when the time comes. See what fruits and what doesnt. Plant most of em in the raised beds. And a few in pots. You said you dont have room or the facilities to house 34 plants indoor in pots, so plan on potting which plants you may have doubts about reaching maturity outdoors this season, and come up with a reasonable number that you will be able to sustain indoors.

I dont know much about the potted plant growing thing. I prefer to plant em in the ground and let em do their thing. I only use pots for seed starting/seedlings, and overwintering.

I hope some other folks might be able to help ya better.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 10:16PM
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1. No, it's not too late. I'm in zone 5b and I just started my slow-to-germinate Bhut Jolokias a couple of days ago. I'll start all of my annuum varieties in another couple of weeks.
2. Get your soil tested. If putting stuff in the ground is the start of your problems, them getting the soil tested is the start of your solution. In my area, I send my soil samples up to University of Connecticut (Go Huskies!) and they charge $8 per sample. Well worth it. Most soil test labs also tell you what to add and how much.
3. Don't put the peppers in the ground too early. Night temperatures should be above 50F (10C) before you set them out. It also helps a LOT to warm the soil by putting down plastic mulch. Peppers can take care of themselves pretty well, but they hate cold or wet feet.
4. If you are industrious, you can extend the season by building a little hoop house over your plants. This also gives them a great head start. I built one about 20 feet long and 4 fet high for less than $40. One of these days, I'll write up the plans and offer them for free on this site.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 11:48PM
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Some of them it isn't too late for. Some I think you are pushing it.

When planting in the ground and then digging up to put into a container and bring in for the Winter, you will be pruning the top and roots at that time. I wouldn't expect to dig it up and still have it set / ripen fruit.

I would plant most in the ground, the slower Chinese varieties maybe put in pots that you could bring in. If nothing else, you will have a great head start next year.

BTW, I started my Chinese varieties (that I don't already have overwintering) about 4 weeks ago. Everything else I will be starting this weekend.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 2:07PM
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