Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bhut Jolokia Pepper's Update

A First Time Growers Experience
By: Jason Wimbs

The record breaking bhut jolokia ,toting the certificate from Guinness for the hottest pepper on earth, has drawn attention from gardeners and hot pepper lovers like myself around the world. Starting with 50 bhut jolokia seeds and a small hothouse, a blog and no money, this is a part of a record of growth the a plant from India that has stirred the imagination of many.

Feb 4 08

50 bhut jolokia seeds arrive in the mail. Armed with a seedling heating pad and a small hothouse as well as a desire to burn my lips off, I plant the seeds in a seedling starter kit I bought at K-mart. During planting, a spot under my eye feels like it has battery acid on it. I must have rubbed some capsacin on it. I think these seeds are the real deal!

Feb 20 08

After 15 days in a small hothouse only 4 seeds have sprouted and I wonder if I got bunk seeds. My visions of a crop of the red hot peppers are not gone. After more research I discover that all chiles are slow to germinate. The temperature of the hothouse is kept between 70 and 90 deg.Fer.

March 20 08
Now about 40 of the bhut jolokia seeds have sprouted to the height of 2-3". I learn of the process called 'hardening off'. Plants grown in greenhouses develop large thin walled cells. This makes the plant weak to outdoor elements. So out they go during the day in at night to acclimate them slowly to the elements. I kill 10 plants during the process.

April 19 08

Down to 30 bhut jolokia plants to the height of 7", I figure I have enough to sell and list them on e-bay selling none. Continued research reveals that these red hot pepper plants are not for my zone(7). So I keep them in a small outdoor hothouse, hoping to create the climate of India in northern CA.

May 08

Summary to date.
Without discouraging anyone from growing these fiery pods I share the following.
Mid May brought a 'cold snap' to Northern ca. The temperature in the greenhouse fell to 45 deg. I lost another 10 plants.
Thinking I would give them a boost I crushed up 10-10-10 slow release fertilizer and damaged another 10.
I'm down to about 15 plants and 5 "trophy plants"(8" plants with deep green growth).
So good luck to all and any feed-back is welcome!