Dipping every toe at once into peppers


What I’ve done:

Matchbox, OSSI pledged and in 1 gallon pots on my windowsill, is absolutely covered in flowers and tiny starting pods. These plants are just shy of a year old now, they spent their summer on my deck and have had a lot of variation in temperature, light, water, and feed. Currently my humidity is below 10% and one side of the plant is about 5C against the window while the other side fluctuates between 15c and 30C with my woodstove cycle. There’s a hint of difference between the four plants: one is a touch more susceptible to dry air/spider mites, another has more hanging/drooping branches. The fruit is largely the same; I haven’t checked to see if it’s the same heat level though. I love this plant and intend on crossing it with everything.

Hungarian black is in a 3 gallon pot but it’s the same age. It is in a west window with no lights on it, though there’s snow outside the window reflecting some light up. It’s also covered in bloom.

What I’m planning outdoors:

I’m preparing a big grex with high concentrations of saved Matchbox, black hungarian, doe hill,and paprika #8043 that may all have crossed (these ripened reliably for me last year) plus a ton of other stuff that mostly hasn’t arrived yet. There is also a touch of pepperoncini and bell pepper pollen and a few seeds each from one pepperoncini plant and a couple either ancho or quite dwarfed red bells. I’m thinking of doing some real close spacing in blocks with some pollinator-attractors in there to get things mixed up, but I’d also like to grow out a significant number of what worked last year and see if any interesting new crosses show up among them.

I’m specifically pulling in c chinense and c baccatum from high elevation/cool areas as well as assorted wild things. I don’t want too too much heat in most of the peppers but I’m happy to have a gradient, and to handle heat through selection over time (a lot of peppers will get either directly put into salsa and sauces, or dried and then used in sauces, so as long as my average heat is ok the individual plants can vary quite a bit). Hopefully all my seeds arrive soon so I can start March 1st or 15th for these.

Indoors I’m growing some c pubescens, which I understand are cold-hardy (not frost-hardy) but don’t cross with other capsicums well. I may do some playing among those but I understand they’re too long season to work well here.

Interested to hear other people’s experience with peppers.

I’ll post the varieties I grew out last year in my clay soil/cool nights below.


(Jori Love)
I’ve always thought peppers were too much of a hassle to grow. After this course I’ve realized the problem is the varieties I’m growing, which all seem to need so much babying from me. I learned to grow them from a farmer who does grow the most stunning peppers, but they’re in plastic mulch and covered by caterpillar tunnels. It’s so exciting to think about not covering and uncovering plants every day this season, and to let nature takes its course.

I’d love to know the varieties that did well in your clay soil/cool nights since that is what I have here also!

(Greenie/Erin DeS)
Matchbox, black hungarian, doe hill, and this one sweet paprika (#8403) are the ones that did best. Matchbox is also great on a windowsill as a houseplant.

I’ll have another update for you this fall!
(Christopher Weeks)
In my most recent incarnation, I came to gardening out of the hobby-chile growing world. I have a couple hundred chile varieties. I’m grexing all plants now except for peppers. I /think/ what I’m going to do is develop a landrace for a few different niches and see if I can bear to let go of my pepper-seed notebook/collection. I’d like to have: shishitos, jalapenos, ancho/poblano, gochu, Thai, habanero-complex, and retain the odd special or wild variety, but not the extent that I’ve amassed. I’m half tempted to just pour everything else in a jar and dedicate a bed to chaos-peppers, but that’s a one-way operation.

For your frost-resistance efforts, look for C flexuosum seeds.

(Greenie/Erin DeS)
You can always pour half of everything in a jar for your chaos peppers, and keep the rest in the freezer :slight_smile:

My c flexuosum isn’t germinating, it’s been two months. Have you grown them? I know they’re supposed to be slow.

(Christopher Weeks)
I haven’t! I got some seeds two years ago and didn’t grow them last season. Maybe I’ll put them in some warm damp vermiculite today and see if they sprout.

(Greenie/Erin DeS)
Please let me know how they do, I finally got one sprout 2.5 months in and it’s emerging very slowly. What was your source, do you remember?

(Greenie/Erin DeS)
My saved doe hill and greek pepperoncini seeds are coming up. I planted a bunch of them hoping to see some variability; the peppers were all planted very close together and I thought thy might have crossed. I’m not noticing anything unusual this early though.

(Greenie/Erin DeS)
This is the Doe Hill, the plants all look pretty uniform. They seem to want to flower under my new lights.

This is the greek pepperoncini. One plant (bottom left) is noticeably bigger with broader leaves. One (middle right) has rounder leaves. I’m pretty sure the first one is a cross, not so sure about the second.

The first seedlings from my Matchbox x Hungarian Black cross are emerging! So exciting!

Maybe 60% germination. They look pretty robust though!

(Greenie/Erin DeS)
Aji charapita (c chinense) flower

Matchbox (c annuum) flower

Aji montufar (c pubescens) flower. Such a difference between the three.


Up in that migrated thread, I said I might plant my C flexuosum seeds. I did and not one germinated.

I had the same experience! Nearly everything else germinated.

I didn’t plant anything out because of moving chaos. What I did was transplant everything to 750ml yoghurt containers and water it all summer. At the end of the spring I had a bad spider mite infestation.

I learned that the early/cool tolerant Doe Hill is super sensitive to spider mites and cannot shake them off.

I learned that chimayo, sarit gat, and KS White thai are champs. Targu mures is also pretty good. Matchbox is bomb-proof and I should just cross it with everything and be done with it.

I learned… well, I’ll need to go back and find my notes, but my plans involve a lot more deliberate crossing and then planting out a ton of the crosses.

Seeds I have at hand from this project (I also have a ton of dried pods that I crossed, didn’t label, and tossed in a bowl but they need to be de-seeded)

Black Hungarian x Matchbox F1
Targu Mures
Guajilla or pasilla
Pasilla or guajilla (the other one)
“Random pepper mix from the table likely some % matchbox”
“Matchbox mixed spring 2022”
Matchbox x Black Hungarian F2 (!!! my first controlled cross kept-a-label F2, the F1 is a pretty and productive plant)
“Hot pepper from Don’s repair shop greenhouse long sweet red semihot very tasty”
“Hot pepper from Don’s repair shop greenhouse short sweet fat semihot/hot”
“Hot pepper from Don’s repair shop greenhouse long red cayenne-looking extra tasty”

(PS I also learned that Don from the car repair place grows hot peppers in a big greenhouse and I stole seeds from him)

2023 spring update:

Peppers planted April 4: (72 x 2 = 144 cells planted)

Matchbox x Hungarian black F2
Threshold 2021 ancho/bell
Threshold 2021 Doe Hill
Threshold 2022 F2 early greek pepperoncini (F0 was a single early plant from a packet of greek pepperoncini)
Threshold mixed hot peppers 2021
Threshold targu mures 2022
Threshold chimayo 2022
Don’s cayenne
Don’s fat hot
Don’s long sweet hot
Sweet landrace mix from gone to seed
Hot landrace mix from gone to seed

(Threshold is my smallholding, those are seeds I grew!)

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