Greenman's Peppers 2010 (pics)

greenman28 NorCal 7b/8aJuly 9, 2010

Now that the plants in the garden are beginning to show progress,

I thought I'd start a Thread documenting my third season growing peppers!

I've included a link to a Thread from my first year. I grew Hungarian Wax in 2008.

Then, in 2009, I grew a couple Thai peppers, in addition to Hungarian Wax.

As several of you predicted, I've expanded my selection yet again...

this year, I'm growing Thai peppers, Hungarian Wax, Poblano, Arbol, Tobasco,

Chocolate Habaro, and of course Bhut Jolokia.

I've opted for the clickable thumbs, as I imagine this Thread will be quite pic-heavy.

I started all seeds the last week of February, and most had germinated by March 4th.

On with the images!

1 - It all starts here: orchid bark, perlite, pumice...

2 - I put seeds on a moist paper towel in an open zip-lock in the 'fridge for 2 - 4 days, then I plant.

I leave the plastic wrap over the seed-cells until I see green cotyledons emerging...

3 - Very simple set-up. Two cool 40's, lowered about an inch above the seed-cells.

4 - Some seedlings: Arbol, Tobasco, Poblano.

5 - Progress...

6 - More progress...

7 - Moved into square 4-inch pots in a mostly bark-based mix. Slowly hardening off...

8 - One of the Chocolate Hab. seedlings up close.

9 - May Day! May 1st, I planted all peppers in the garden.

10 - My two year-old Thai chili hybrid, overwintered:

11 - My very first pepper - three year-old Hungarian Wax, twice overwintered:

Now phase two, in-ground gardening:

I probably should have waited until June to plant my peppers. Rain and cool weather and slugs

really set back progress.

12 - Setting pond-baskets into the ground to defend the roots from gophers.

This also makes removing plants easier in the Autumn, in preparation for overwintering:

13 - A look at the roots of an Arbol seedling:

14 - A look at the roots of a Poblano seedling:

15 - The Pepper Plot planted:

16 - Using old waterjugs to cloche my peppers overnight:

17 - A few good days of heat toward the Summer Solstice:

18 - First week of July - Update on the Pepper Plot:

19 - A very bad picture of my Arbol chili:

20 - Two year-old hybrid Thai chili, in full production:

21 - A first year Thai chili, small upright peppers (from pods I harvested last year):

22 - Poblano - the tallest of the peppers this year! It is just now setting fruit:

23 - A compact, slow-growing Bhut. This plant was very nearly wiped out by slugs in May:

24 - A compact, yet somewhat faster-growing, Chocolate Habañero:

Well, let's see if GardenWeb will allow a message this long!

I'll have to update on the Tobasco and Hungarian Wax when I get decent pics.

I hope these pics are helpful and enjoyable!


Here is a link that might be useful: My pepper season (garden pics)

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Nice looking plants....I didn't realize you can overwinter them (new to this stuff). What part of NorCal are you growing these? I've got 7 pepper plants growing in containers i the San Jose area. Here is one container with Purple Jalapeno and Poblano....

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 10:52AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Thank you!
So that's what the Poblano will look like! Very nice.

I'm in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, 35 miles north-east of Sacramento, outside of Auburn.
In San Jose, you can keep your peppers outdoors almost all year.

I have a couple pictorial Threads on the over-wintering process if you're interested.
I think the key is using a fast-draining mix so that the roots don't rot during winter.

I actually started growing peppers for the sole purpose of bonsai. Whereas most folks were
waiting all season to harvest peppers, I was waiting to dig my plants up to see if I could
keep them alive in small containers. Now that I've gotten into the peppers themselves, I am
even more excited about keeping my favorites alive from year to year.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:13PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

My three year-old Hungarian Hot Wax pepper is completely loaded with pods...probably close to twenty pods!
I also have my first Chocolate Habañero pod beginning to swell.
No Bhuts yet, though....


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 10:47PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

As some of you know, my "Bhuts" turned out to be Caribbean Red Habañeros (Don't order from
I'm still a bit disappointed for this season's sake, but thanks to the generous folks here I have good seed for next season.

To date, I've only harvested ripe Thai chiles - of course, I've eaten a few under-ripe Hungarians and Arbols, too.
Yesterday, however, I noticed that my friend's container peppers are starting to change color - Caribbean and Chocolate Habs.

Mine aren't changing color yet, but soon. The plant is big and healthy, with a nice set of large, well-formed pods,
and another flush of flowers (higher up on the plant) on the way. Here's old Chocolate Hab:


    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 12:32PM
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pkapeckopickldpepprz(z9 a/b FL)

So none of your Bhuts were true? If the 1 or 2 seedlings I have that aren't really progressing, produce fruit I will save seeds for you.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 4:59PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, that's a very nice offer!
I hope your plants pull through. Keep me in mind ;)

Yeah, none of the "Bhuts" were Bhuts...they are all what seem to be Caribbean Red Habs.
Can't blame the plant, I suppose.

For me, pepper plants produce much better in their second and third year, so I'd intended to
grow a Bhut, dig it up, and then really enjoy the harvest next year. I might have to start
seeds now and just carry the small plants through winter with the others.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:44PM
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pkapeckopickldpepprz(z9 a/b FL)

I didn't do a search yet, but I am interested in your overwintering thread. Searching for it now.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:42PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Josh!
Everything looks great as always! :)

I'm also interested in the over wintering thread. :)

I had a pepper survive the winter all on it's own and really surprise me this spring. I've always just let them go and frost would get them. :)

Talk to you soon!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 12:36AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Howdy, JoJo!
Thank you very much.
What kind of pepper plant survived? Did you keep it?

I am beginning to think that my peppers are regular Orange Habs! Agh....
We'll see what the experts say when I have pics of ripe pods.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 2:47AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

More pics (and a pick) from this morning...

First up, two plants that I over-wintered indoors - a two year-old hybrid Thai chile, and a three year-old Hungarian wax pepper.

An interior shot of the Hungarian. I can't wait to try these pods....they look so inviting!

And, lastly, a blurry pic of my first Chocolate Habañero pod of the season.
Usually I'd wait for the pod to ripen further, but this was the first pod, low on the plant, and buried in shade.
There are other pods, higher up, that I'll leave to ripen fully. Update in a few days...


    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 2:24PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Josh,
It was just an everyday bell pepper. But sure surprised me. lol. I let the garden fizzle at the start of winter, and after spring rains, all of a sudden the stump started growing! LOL! I had cut it all back come winter, but not taken it out of the ground. Same with a basil plant. :)
We had a pretty mild winter.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 7:54AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, JoJo! A Bell Pepper?! Ack! ;)
Nothing like a Bell Pepper to ruin a perfectly good dish!

Okay, so an update on the Hungarian:

And an update on my unknown Habañero, which was falsely sold as a "Bhut Jolokia."


    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 3:00PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Josh!

Nothing wrong with Bell Peppers.. lol!

Great looking peppers you have there. Nice colors! All yoiur plants look great!

I see you use tomato cages. :) I use them too for my peppers.

I love hot peppers, but no one else here will eat them. lol.

Hope your having a good day! Storms here.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 7:05PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello, JoJo!
Guess what...we actually had some rain Saturday night!

Yes, I use "tomato" cages for my peppers. These would never work for tomatoes, of course ;)
That's the joke amongst pepper/tomato gardeners.

Although my plants are very sturdy, and pruned for balance, I must cage them or they will be knocked over.
Rarely, the wind will blow a plant crooked; typically, it's the raccoons that bump them in the night.
Sometimes my cats are the culprits, too - but it's an honest mistake with them.

Here's an update pic of the Chocolate Habañero.
I took one of these to a party on Saturday night, and split it amongst friends.
Between tears and drool, they declared the pepper to have excellent, complex flavor.
Hottest pepper that I've eaten to date. I nearly vomited from the piece I ate.

You want to grow it?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 5:32PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Josh!
You got rain finally! Cool!!! :)
Sat. was a big one for us. It kept comming back and rained 3 times. lol.

No Raccoons here, but I have had peppers blow over in a storm when the ground is soaked. It's heart breaking so I cage or steak them to be safe.

A pepper party! How fun. :)
Do you still have friends after sharing that pepper. ? lol.
It's a beauty,(love the color) but I think I will pass on growing that one, espicially if it almost made you sick. ;)

I know you eat some pretty hot food. lol! so if it got to you, I know it would kill me. ROFL!

Have a great day!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 9:40AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

It's been a long hot week of weather here in Northern California...a real dry heat, too ;)

My Tabasco and my Red Hab plants are woefully behind the other peppers, but they're coming along.
The Chocolate Habañero pods are ripening overnight. They have a wonderful rich color, indeed!

JoJo, I'm sure we can find you a pepper with the right amount of heat! ;)

Here's the latest clutch of Chocolates......


    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 7:52PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Here we are, rapidly nearing the end of the growing season, and I've just picked my first ripe
pod off the unknown (possibly Caribbean) red Habanero plant. This is the only image that didn't turn out fuzzy.

Chances are good that I won't be growing this one next year.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 11:42AM
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Congrats bro. I know you been waiting a while to pick that. So sad to hear you wont be growing them again next year. I already got one of them potted up indoors for next year and saved some seeds too. They are pretty little plants and have some nice lookin hot peppers.

Hey Josh, guess what? im still waiting to harvest Hungarian Wax. lol. They are still yellow.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 3:07PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Thanks, man! Finally, the waiting game is over ;)

I'll probably dry this pod and keep it for seed....just in case I change my mind in mid-February.
Window-space is at a premium - so I'll only be wintering my Hungarian, Chocolate Hab, and Thai.

I plan on digging up my duplicate Chocolate and Red Hab plants, and giving them to my brother.
He lives in down in balmy Sacramento, which is much warmer than in the foothills where I live.

I'm still waiting to harvest my first ripe Poblanos and Tabascos.
My Hungarian has a full complement of small, yellow pods...I wonder if they'll ripen around
the same time as yours?


    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 4:13PM
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Those chocolate habs look awesome!! I'm going to have to give those a shot next year!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 10:06AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Thanks, T!
I've been most pleased by the Chocolate Habs, from plant to pods.
Sturdy plant, good producer, shapely and colorful pods, and intense flavor/piquance.

I have a whole second crop of peppers swelling on the Chocolate.
Can't wait for the final pick.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 7:04PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Howdy, folks!

I pushed it as long as I could....but it's finally that time.
I've been pulling peppers out of the ground, pruning plants, and getting them potted.
My mix is mostly Orchid Bark, with Pumice added. This year, I'm using Turface in my mix,
and less Perlite. Osmocote 4-month slow release added, as well.

First up, my three year-old Hungarian Hot Wax pepper.
This was one of the peppers from my first year of growing, and I hope it survives another winter.
I had to yank those three pods early, but I think they'll ripen. Growing in the pond-baskets made
lifting the peppers out of the ground a breeze - much easier than round pots with the bottom removed.
I'll whack the Hungarian down to size in a few days, and I'll fertilize in about two weeks -
at a 1/4 strength dose. I'm using .71 gallon nursery pots.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 4:38PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Next up....
This was my backup Chocolate Hab - a runt that I kept around in case my main Chocolate died.
A few weeks ago, it shot up a new leader with glossy leaves and lots of flowerbuds -
so I left that to be the new trunk, and I pruned off the older, outlying branches.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 5:41PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Whoops! Hit submit instead of preview!

(The Chocolate Hab, above, will be given to my brother in Sacramento.
He overwintered a Thai chile that I started for him last year, so I think he'll be able to manage a Chinense.
In his zone, he can keep his plants outside most of the year).

My main Chocolate Hab grew tall and full, and produced 50 incredibly aromatic and picante pods.
I pruned it down while still in the ground, and I'll cover it for a few nights with a waterjug.
I am doing this so that the trunk can grow new leaves from the energy stored in the extensive roots...
before I pull it up and remove the majority of the root-mass.

This is what it looks like right now. About 8 inches tall.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 6:01PM
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Josh, thank you for sharing your peppers progress & pictures with us. I am so envious of you. I just brought back some asian hot pepper seeds from Malaysia (a tropical, very hot & humid southeast asia country)and scattered them along with some of my own pepper seeds frm here onto some planting soil more than 2 weeks ago, but until today, there is still no sign of sprouting on them ;(

The weather in SoCal zone 10 here has been cool/sunny in the afternoon but then turn cold right in the evening, so I am not sure if this cold temperature is the one to blame for or not. I am still keeping my hopes up and started today to move them inside my house in the evening (with heater on the whole night)& then move them out in the sun again in the afternoon.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 12:19AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

My pleasure, Candace!

Are your seeds covered with a very thin layer of soil?

Yes, keep them warm (but not hot) and they should sprout.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 11:20AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Last night, we had snow flurries for a few hours....
Tonight, I expect we'll have another nice freeze - so I pulled the last green peppers off of my plants.
And that means that the final count is in. All numbers are from a single plant. Here we go:

Arbol: 80
Caribbean Red Hab: 16
Chocolate Hab: 50
Hungarian: 20
Pepperoncini: 20
Poblano: 6
Tabasco: 15
Thai F1: 65
Thai F2: 99


    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 8:34PM
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Wow, thats alot of peppers bro. I'd like to see a pic if ya got one.

Some of them numbers are impressive for single plants! Especially the Arbol and Thai. Let me know if ya save seeds and got extras to mail me bro. You got my email.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 11:54PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Jim!
I've got most of the pods in the dehydrating racks now (no heat, just air-dry),
and all the green pods are sitting in a bowl on the table. I'll be sure to get a pic.

The Arbol is a truly prolific plant, in-ground or in containers. Two of my
friends grew this type of Arbol (from plants that I gave them), and they had the same results.

Last year, I grew those same Thai chiles:
The F1 produced 140 pods last year, and the F2 produced 150 the count was actually down.
However, I attribute that to a slow Spring and a cool Summer. I'll be phasing out the F1 Thai,
but the F2 is solid gold.

I'll e-mail ya!


    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 11:34AM
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kosherbaker(LA CA-10)

Josh great pictures. Enjoyed them very much. I'm a newbie at this so am curious why you are keeping your plants so small?

Candace I tend to sprout all of my seeds indoors. I use those little 3oz plastic water cups. :) I'm in Southern Cal too, in Santa Monica. I'm keeping my Tabasco outside the whole time. I just put a picture of it up in my thread. It seems to be a very slow producing plant, but I think that's perfect as I'm not faced with having a whole lot of ripe peppers to harvest all at once.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 3:42PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Kosher, thanks!
I cut the plants down to size so that they'll winter better in my window-sills.
Smaller plants are easier to fertilize, water, keep warm, move around the house, and sun.

My Tabasco took forever to produce a ripe pod. The plant is still in the garden, but the cold
weather will kill it soon.

Here's the final pick - plus the dehydrator racks stacked with this season's pods:

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 4:04PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

And the final results from the dehydrator, pulled and bagged today.
I'll move these pods to better bags with desiccant packs, and I'll grind several for powder.

It was a hell of a grow this year. I had to toss a bunch of the Chocolate pods due to rot,
but I still got a good harvest. Can't wait to make some Hot Chocolate from them....


    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 9:15PM
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Looks good man!

I think i could use a good cup of that hot chocolate, its gonna get nasty cold up here in NY. Low of 11 degrees tommorow night, lol. Just rode my Harley for a local 4 mile run at 25 degrees. Im gonna make a Habanero chewing gum or something to keep me warm, lol.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 9:25PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I'll let you know how the Hot Chocolate turns out... ;)


    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 9:54AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Before the year's officially over, I thought I'd share two pics of my wintering peppers.
I actually took both plants outdoors this morning, blasted the aphids off the Chocolate Hab,
gave them both a mild fertigation, and then left them outside on the deck all day.

Chocolate Hab, after a good rinsing of the aphids.....

And my three year-old Hungarian wax. Slowly but surely it's greening up and regaining vitality.
By March, I'll have it pruned down to force back-budding and branching lower on the trunk, making for
a stronger plant capable of supporting more fruit.

You can also compare how aggressively I pruned my Chocolate Hab....I don't just talk the talk, I whack the peppers, too ;)


    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 10:15PM
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