Most of my peppers are in the (expanded) garden!

Pepper Patch of the Past
Pepper Patch of the Past

It’s a great feeling to have a majority of my pepper plants in the ground! Yesterday I planted 19 pepper plants! I have another dozen coming mail-order from the great people at Cross Country Nurseries later this week, and maybe a few more from my good friends at the Schedel Arboretum and Gardens here in the town where I live. In the past, I wouldn’t have had room for all these peppers, let alone even more plants in the garden… what you see to the left is a photo of the garden as it’s been in the past. I’m not sure of the square footage, but it was probably around 8′ x 12′.

After day-one of tilling
After day-one of tilling

So… About a month ago, I purchased a new Mantis tiller with the intention of maintaining the pepper patch a little easier by using it as a cultivator, and also putting it through the paces by converting some of the surrounding lawn to garden space. Mantis assured me it would be easy… and to their credit, it WAS!! I now have a lovely 12′ x 18′ garden, an increase of about 100 sq. ft. The Mantis really made quick work of turning lawn into garden with very little effort in virtually no time! I probably only spent 2 hours total with the tiller running to get that grass whipped into a lovely bed of dark, rich soil. This little sucker can RUN! And the way they have designed the tines, I only had to stop a time or two to clear out clogged clumps of soil.

I prepped the new portions of the garden with compost from my compost bin, layering it on about an inch thick and then just hand “tilling” it in when I put the plants in the ground. I made sure to push a good amount of compost into each hole before putting the plant in. Hopefully this will give them a good start and help them out in the first year soil.

What did I get planted?

  • 2 Chombo
  • 4 Red rocoto
  • 2 Demre
  • 4 Yellow rocoto
  • 1 Bocskor
  • 1 Bogyiszloi
  • 2 PCR
  • 1 Kathari
  • 1 CHOT
  • 1 Dundicut

I’m really excited about many of these varieties because they’re not widely available (if available at all) from seed/plant companies in North America. Several of the varieties are from India directly, others from Hungary, and finally, the Chombo pepper is probably my biggest excitement for this season, it’s “THE” hot pepper of Panama, where I was born! I’ve never seen them for sale before, and have only seen pictures on a Canal Zone website… but a lady in Indianapolis swapped me some seeds and I’m so excited to grow them!

So, that’s the update for now…. keep an eye on this space as the season grows along!

Update from my Hungarian pepper-pal!

I received a few photos of “my babies” from Zoltan yesterday so I thought I’d share them here. Good to see my pepper seeds germinated so well for them! Looks like they’re going to have a healthy crop of seedlings!

Speaking of seedlings… I’ll be starting my seeds THIS weekend! WOOOO!!!

So, what are you growing this year??

Here’s the list of peppers I’ll be growing this season. These are all seeds I’ve either saved or swapped for….

My seeds are just about ready to be started.  In the past, I’ve always started seeds on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14).  This year, I decided to hold off a couple of weeks though, because I’ve had troubles in the past with spindly seedlings that end up just flopping over on their side because I can’t get them enough light.

Here’s the list of peppers I’ll be growing this season.  These are all seeds I’ve either saved or swapped for….

From Hungary in and a seed swap with Zoltan Aladics:

  • Bogyiszloi
  • Bocskor
  • PCR

From a seed swap with “The Chile Woman” from Indiana:

  • Aji Chombo (from Panama)
  • Demre (from Turkmenistan)

Seeds I saved from last season’s pepper patch:

  • Red rocoto
  • Yellow rocoto
  • Bhut Jolokia
  • Naga Morich

I’ll detail each of these varieties a little more thoroughly in the weeks to come, but for now, that’s how things stand in the pepper patch.  I’m always on the lookout for interesting varieties in my local garden shops, and my friends at the Schedel Arboretum and Gardens usually drop a variety or two in my direction… so there may be additions to this list.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

So, what are YOU planning on growing in your pepper patch this season?!  Leave a comment!

Swapping seeds around the world!

One of the great things about having one of my videos go “viral” on YouTube is the fact that it’s put me in contact with literally hundreds of pepper lovers from all around the planet!  I’ve gotten emails from dozens of different countries, almost all 50 states, and from people I’ve never met who live only a mile away from me!

One of the exciting things that has come from this interaction this season is a seed swap between myself and a man named Zoltán Aladics from Hungary!  Zoltán contacted me after seeing one of my videos and we have become kind of virtual pen-pals!  We’ve swapped seeds and he’s already germinated those that I’ve sent him!

I sent Zoltán seeds from the bhut jolokia, naga morich, and red and yellow rocoto peppers that I grew last season, and in return he sent me peppers from his family’s growing operation… bogyiszloi, bocskor, and PCR varieties from Hungary!  I’m so excited to grow them, and even more-so because we’re going to be keeping each other updated as to how things are growing in our gardens.

I got an email from Zoltán yesterday with some photos of the seedlings… I’ll share them here and will continue to keep everyone up-to-date as the season progresses.