Lessons Learned from the 2019 Pepper Season

October 18, 2019 | Article Topics:

This is the third installment of a series I like to call “Lessons Learned.” At the end of each growing season, I take a moment to look back and reflect – review what went well and what didn’t. No year is the same as the previous ones, so there’s always some insight to be had and applied to the gardening process.

Close up photo of various peppers

I Am But One Man

After the 2017 season, I decided to scale things back a bit. And after another fruitful year watching over 47 plants, and one that has resulted in a freezer full of vacuum-sealed peppers, I do believe I need to scale back a little bit further. I’m not entirely sure how much I’m going to cut back just yet, but I do believe that 2018 will most likely be the last year for the overflow plot.

Maintaining the extra area isn’t overly difficult by any means, but it is a pain in the butt at times and I often felt as though I were neglecting the plants there. The fact that some of the varieties maintained on that plot didn’t really turn out to my liking only added to the frustration of watching over them. It’s an easy change that allows me to not only cut back as intended, but also focus on those plants that are growing closer to home.

Close up photo of various peppers

There is still plenty of time for me to change my mind, of course, as I haven’t informed the property owner of my decision just yet, but I’m leaning quite heavily toward the direction of not using it again next Spring.

Pepper Varieties & Labels

As it was pointed out by a fellow grower this year, I had a pile of yellow, peach and orange peppers going. While I had planned the varieties I was going to grow very early on, I hadn’t really intended on keeping so few other colors – reds and chocolates. It just happened to work out that way. That also will not be an issue going into next year, unless, of course the seedlings make those decisions for me.

Close up photo of various peppers

I know that harvesting seeds isn’t a perfect science. Even those collected by experienced and reputable sources through isolation are prone to carry over different traits or simply get packaged incorrectly. That’s part of the excitement of growing peppers – some times you just don’t know what you are going to get in the end.

Such was the case with a couple plants this year. I planted seeds from the same purchased packet of “Yellow 7 Pot Primo” and one plant turned out correct while the other turned out to be a welcome surprise in the form of the Jay’s Peach Ghost Scorpion pictured above. Other plants (Grenada Seasoning, Aji Cachucha and Aji Dulce) weren’t really correct or up to expectations. That happens and as growers you’ve got to be prepared for both happy surprises and letdowns.

Back to Cups

And finally, this year was my second working with small plastic pots for my seedlings. I, honestly, only continued with them for 2019 as I had a good number left over from my initial purchase. The problem with the pots is that it was tough to keep the small plants watered properly and consistently. It’s been a couple of years since I used the double cup method, but I feel I’ll be able to have more control over the individual varieties as some expect more water than others at times. It will also give me the opportunity to give them an extra boost with some hydroponic nutrients in the reservoir as a boost.

So, there it is – 2018 in a few short paragraphs. The weather this season wasn’t as wacky as in years past, but you never know what’s to come in the near future. I’ve already got my list of seeds that I am planning to grow out (I’ll share those in another update soon) and I’m already getting amped for February when I can get them started.