Tuesday, August 19, 2008

500th blog post & World's Hottest Pepper, Bhut Jolokia update

This is my 500th post for this blog. A milestone of some sorts I guess.

Last weekend we went back to the wholesale nursery because they were having a dollar sale. Of course the dollar plants were not the ones we wanted so we ended up spending a lot of green again. As I went to pay for our largess, I saw a hot pepper poster which did not include the world's hottest pepper the Bhut Jolokia. I mentioned to the owner that I was trying to grow some from seed. He was skeptical and asked me where I obtained my seeds. I said I got them from the The Chile Pepper Institute in New Mexico (NMSU) so he was convinced that I was actually growing the authentic Bhut Jolokia and not something else.

I told him that my pepper plants were doing poorly only recently producing secondary leaves after two months. I said I moved the plants to a shadier location and the plants responded positively. He said he planted the seeds directly into the garden and his plants similarly languished. He dug all the plants and potted them, placing the pots where it received only half day (morning 'til noon) sun and they began to thrive. He then showed me a potted plant that was about a foot tall with several peppers forming. I was comforted to know that a professional propagator was having difficulty growing this pepper too.

The tiny pepper plants in the large pot are mine. The large plant is the one given to me by the nursery owner.

I thought all plants in the nightshade (Solanaceae) family needed full sun. We always planted our various varieties of hot peppers in full sun but the Bhut Jolokia apparently requires part shade.

I wanted to buy the plant but he said it wasn't for sale. As we were packing the plants to leave, he gave me the pepper plant and wouldn't take any payment. I guess having bought many (52) plants made him realize we were fairly serious gardeners and would take care of the precious pepper plant. The fact that I even knew the pepper existed possibly made him change his mind. We promised to bring him some pepper jelly if we harvested any peppers.

So now I have at least a fair chance of seeing a fully mature Bhut Jolokia pepper pod before the cold weather sets in. I will bring all the plants indoors in fall but peppers may be tough to grow inside - I hate to admit defeat and my tiny plants seem to be thriving now. After all, I hope I can look forward to turning all shades of purple after chomping on a Bhut Jolokia. I just hope I don't have a heart attack. Will keep you posted.


Blogger joey said...

A remarkable milestone, Ki, and delightful gift for your gardening friends. Thanks and keep 'em coming! :)

8:38 AM  
Blogger Connie said...

Wow, 500 posts! How long have you been blogging?
Neat story about the pepper, and how nice for you to get it as a gift! Hope you get a harvest from it.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

Congrats on your 500th post! I think I've been visiting here about a year and half? I must have missed a lot before then.

I have three pepper varieties that were growing very slowly until about the last week in July. Then they took off and are now larger than all the others. One is Lemon Drop, which I believe is a Capsicum baccatum variety. Another is Prik Ki Nue Rai, a small Thai chile. The other one isn't a hot pepper, but a type of seasoning pepper called Aji Dulce. I can't explain why they suddenly decided to grow, except maybe weather conditions. They were all planted in the ground and not moved. There's lots of green fruit on all of them now, but nothing ripening yet.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Les, Zone 8a said...

Congratulations on your milestone.

The fact that this pepper does better with pt. shade is counterintuative to what little I know about peppers. Was this variety developed somewhere less sunny?

3:05 AM  
Anonymous Anthony said...

500 posts? Wow, that's awesome, congratulations.

If you want to live to see 600, I'd think twice about trying to eat those peppers. :)

8:52 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

woo! 500 posts! Congrats:)

I am such a baby when it comes to hot foods....I'm sure I'd pass out :P

2:04 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

52 plants! Now thankfully I have never gone so badly...
It's great you got the BJ plant. Since it originates in Northeastern India its quite possible its not one of those peppers that take full summer sun.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I would also give the little plants nitrogen or aged chicken/cow/sheep manure-pepper plants are greedy feeders.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Thanks Joey. I'm having difficulty putting out 2 posts per week and have relied on photos for the most part. With so many garden bloggers now and so much information available with only a few keystrokes, not to mention a serious lack of time, I am finding it difficult to find fresh material to post. I may need to take a break to see things anew. Thanks for your encouraging remarks.


Hi Connie,
I've been blogging from Dec. 2004 which doesn't seem that long ago but it sure feels like it. Not many garden blogger then but there were a few pioneers several years before I started. I too hope for some peppers from the biggest plant at least. Thanks for stopping by.

Hi Entangled,

It amazes me that I could find so much material to write and photograph. It's becoming a bit of a slog now so I may have to rethink blogging.

I normally plant at least a bush or two of jalapeno, cayenne, bird and Thai chiles but I just planted the Bhut Jolokia this year. I reread the articles on growing the BJ, especially with the warning that this was a plant for the expert since it needed so many conditions to produce fruit. In my excitement I must have glossed over the warning. Luckily my enthusiasm and big mouth produced the gift plant which may actually produce a mature fruit. I'll send you some seeds if I can harvest any. I have not heard of Capsicum baccatum but have planted at least 3 or more varieties of Thai peppers. I think my favorite so far is the tepin or bird pepper. Thanks for stopping by.


Hi Les, Thanks. Actually the Bhut Jolokia comes from India but I don't know if it is planted in part shade. I know it likes ground warmth but seemingly not a lot of direct sunlight. I've always planted my peppers where it received the most sunlight so this was definitely out of the norm.


Hi Anthony,
Yeah, 500, I almost missed it until I saw the counter on the page after Blogger's sign on. A million Scoville units is not something to mess around with. I will be very, very careful when I try tasting one if I can nuture a pod to maturity. If you don't see any posts after Sept. or Nov. you know what happened ;D


Hi Jessica,
Thanks. I remember going to an Indian restaurant and asking for Indian hot, not American hot food. The dishes were incendiary. I was sweating profusely and almost passed out. :D It was delicious.

Hi Nicole, we lack all restraint. I thought the BJ would require full sun all day long but that has not proven to be the case. The Chile Pepper Institute does say that it requires soil warmth. I think it mentioned 80- 90 degrees F.

So far I'm giving the plants some liquid fish fertilizer. The potting soil I used had a bit of fertilizer in the soil which was supposed to last several months but it was depleted within a month with the young plants turning a bit yellow. They greened up nicely with the application of the mild fish fertilizer. Thanks for your comments.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

Wow Ki, your 500 post! I'm not even half way there. ;-)

I had not heard of the Bhut Jolokia pepper before but now I know that it needs part shade to do well. We live and learn, don't we?

I thought it was rather nice that the nursery owner gave you the pepper plant. Happy hot pepper munching and don't explode! :-D

12:39 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Yolanda Elizabet,
I would have thought you were way beyond 500 posts. I guess the large number of photos and your long articles fooled me. ;D

It was an extremely generous gesture by the nursery owner. I guess he saw another hot pepper kindred spirit in us.

Sharing ones experience growing various plants in my opinion, makes blogs valuable. So much information is available on the web but there is not much on the cultivation of specific plants.

Thanks for visiting.

3:56 AM  
Blogger OsmoJoe said...

The really is amazing that you are growing Bhut Jolokias. I may try growing them next year...awesome post!

Congratulations on 500 posts!

8:18 AM  
Blogger Sande said...

Beautiful flowers and beautiful photography to show them off!

3:26 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Osmojoe,
Well, as you can see my plants are quite pitiful but now that I know they don't like full sun they are looking much better. Anything new and difficult appeals to me ;D I guess I'm just masochistic.

Thanks for your great comment.


Hi Sande,
Thank you and thanks for looking. I've worked hard to try to take better photos but I think it may be mostly due to the camera. After trying many I found one that's almost idiot proof :D

Thanks for stopping by.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Congratulations on reaching post #500, Ki! It's been a pleasure to visit your blog over the last couple of years...thank you for all the beautiful photos you've shared with us. I still can't believe how many things you're growing on one lot!

That hot pepper plant looks very happy - ours were stressed by this summer and look relieved as the days grow shorter - now there are tiny peppers developing.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

7:17 AM  
Blogger Paul McDuell said...

I have a BJ plant too. It's been growing fairly well, but still too young for peppers. Actually, the plant is mine, but my wife takes care of it ;-)

Our plant is in a pot outside here in southern california. I am afraid that the temps may be getting too cold at night to leave it outside.

It's getting down into the high 40s.

Also, with rain in the forcast, what do you think we should do? Bring it inside?

Good luck with yours and thanks for the blog.


2:54 PM  

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