I have decided to try my hand at growing hot peppers. Now mind you I am not a fan of peppers of any kind. Don’t like sweet or bell peppers. And I am not into eating things that make me break out in a sweat. But I do like a good salsa so figured a few hot peppers would be a nice addition to the garden. I also figured I could dehydrate some and have a nice hot spice to add to things like chili.
So we went shopping for peppers. I ended up in the usual places and ordered some seed catalogs. When I ordered the veggie seeds we ordered a few hot peppers as well. Then someone mentioned they had obtained some Ghost Peppers for their garden and I had to ask as I had never heard of them. I was told they were the worlds hottest pepper. Hrrmm.. why not grow a few of those I pondered. No, I would not be brave enough to eat them and would definitely dry and grind them for seasoning. But if I was successful I would also start seeds and sell a few. There is always some one that loves growing and eating super hots and they would appreciate plants ready to go.
So we went online looking for Ghosts seeds and stumbled across information that the Ghost Pepper was no longer the hottest pepper in the world. That honor now belonged to the Carolina Reaper. I now searched for a source of the Reaper to purchase seed from and it seems many places were selling seeds that were not producing the Reaper peppers. Then I found Pepper Joe. They are an authorized seller from the person that developed the Reaper strain so you are guaranteed to get Reaper seeds. And, if you like hot peppers they have all the hot peppers you could desire in one place.
So I placed an order for the Reaper, Ghost and a Scorpion peppers. They sent those and two other hot peppers for free. Can’t beat that for customer service. I also had ordered Habanero and Hungarian from where I got my other veggie seeds. Being mid season I was going to wait till after the first of the year to start them for next years garden. But my research on growing hot peppers was saying that they need warm soil temps to germinate. I decided to try to see how easy they would grow with the Hungarian peppers to see what I would need to do to be successful next year. I put a few in some soil and put them on top of the dehydrator when it was running or the aquarium lights to warm the soil and got nothing. I spent a few months trying different things and could not get any seeds to sprout.
Since I was not doing so well I went looking for more information on growing peppers and found an article that had comparisons of different soils and germination of seeds. It stated the best success came from using a fine orchid soil mixture and anything with a lot of peat tended to reduce success. So I purchased a bag or orchid mix but it was larger particles than I wanted or was recommended. I have been using a soil in my gutter garden that is a fine mulch as well as soil. So I mixed that with just a little peat to get water up into the mix and the added the larger particle orchid mix. I then set the pots in the tray and added water to see how well it would wick up from the bottom. I wanted slight dampness in the mix.
The mix worked well and now I just needed to try it out. The seeds need warm soil temps to germinate so I decided to plant the seeds and set the tray with the pots outside on the back porch. Since we are in triple digit temps these days I figured I would have soil temps ideal for germination. This is not the best time of year to start the peppers but I figured I could bring them into the house and over winter them and we would have a great head start on next season.
It has been about two weeks and we are seeing some of the seeds sprouting. I have all the habaneros up and one of everything else except the Reaper. We will give it some more time as I have read some of these hot peppers can take a month to sprout. But the scorching days we are having seem to be ideal for growing hot peppers. What I need to do is figure out a way to replicate these kind of conditions in the house so I can start them as I wanted after the first of the year. In the mean time we are going to grow this batch up and see how far we get this summer before frost. With everything drying out and dying it is nice to see something thrive in this insane heat.