It was around this time last year that I sort of finalized an incomplete, half-baked plan for the 2018 pepper season. Seems like we might as well make an annual tradition of it.

This past grow season was, without a doubt, a success. I had 57 plants that produced a stupid amount of fiery pods (over 5,100 peppers) for me to enjoy and share — and store…. lots of storing. I know that not every season will be as fruitful as this last, but I simply have way too many frozen and dried peppers for one person to know what to do with. So with that in mind I’ve got a few changes in mind and am planning on scaling back just a touch for 2019.

But First… The Initial Plant List!

While I didn’t harvest as many seeds this season as I have in the past, I have slowly been amassing a sizable inventory from online retailers and friends. As such, this coming season is going to be all about variety — with roughly 85% of the plan being plants I have never grown or even encountered before.

Seeds packets for 2019 season.

I know what I like in terms of heat and flavor from a pepper. I’ve still have more than enough of those varieties in the basement freezer to last me well into late 2019. So, I won’t be growing some favorites like Bhut Jolokia or its peach-hued cousin. There are still a couple of favorites in the list below mostly because I didn’t get as much as I wanted or didn’t grow them this past year.

  • 7 Pot Primo (Yellow)
  • Aji Cachucha Purple Splotched
  • Aji Charapita
  • Aji Dulce
  • Aji Fantasy
  • Aji Lemon
  • Aji Rico
  • Carbonero
  • Cardi Scorpion
  • Carolina Reaper
  • Chocolate Bhutlah
  • Chocolate Butch T
  • Criolla Sella
  • Grenada Seasoning
  • Hatch Green Chile
  • Jalapeno Grande
  • Jalapeno Mucho Nacho
  • MA Wartryx
  • Naglah Brown
  • Pequin
  • Pequin (Yellow)
  • Poblano
  • Scotch Bonnet (Freeport Orange)
  • Scotch Bonnet (MOA)
  • Scotch Bonnet (Papa Dready)
  • Scotch Brains
  • Yucatan White

And the Changes for 2019

Looking at the list of seeds above you may notice a large number of peppers with low-to-moderate levels of heat. This was both to create more variety in sauces and powders that I make for my family and to involve the wife a bit more. She likes spicy foods, but a majority of the stuff I’ve grown in recent years is just too much for her comfort level. That’s why you see items like Grenada Seasoning (thanks @babyredpepperco for the suggestion), a few jalapeno varieties, poblano and Hatch. Plus, it’s always a fun adventure to grow different things.

As far as where things will grow, I’ve opted to make a few changes. I’ll be using three raised beds this year and only a couple of self-watering buckets. The wife was awesome enough to let me have the extra bed near my peppers as long as I built her three new raised bed frames for her veggies and flowers. Somehow, I think she got the better of the deal. I’ve also decided to keep less plants in each bed. For 2018 I stuffed 12 plants in each 8’x4′ frame. I don’t believe any of the plants suffered as a result, but keeping everything organized and manageable in terms of harvesting was a nightmare. I’ll be limiting each bed to just eight plants. I’m hoping that also allows them to get bushier and produce more peppers as a result.

Bed #1: Danger, Danger, Danger

The first bed will contain most of the super-superhots: Yellow 7 Pot Primo, MA Wartryx, Chocolate Bhutlah, Chocolate Butch T, Carolina Reaper and Naglah Brown. I’m not sure of the number of each plant that will make its way into the bed. We’ll let the seeds that germinate dictate who goes where in the beds. I’m quite excited about this group as really missed the Chocolate Bhutlah last year.

Bed #2: Scotchtowne and Friends

I wasn’t overly pleased with any of the Scotch Bonnets that I grew this past season. In fact, none of them actually turned out to be the right plant so I decided to completely overhaul my inventory with a few different varieties: Papa Dready Scotch Bonnet, MOA Scotch Bonnets, Freeport Orange Scotch Bonnet and Scotch Brains. I’ve also decided to grow out more Cardi Scorpions as they tasted fantastic, as well as Carbonero which I have heard good things about.

Bed #3: Planet Aji

The only Ajis that I have grown previously were the Lemon and Rico — and we’ve loved both varieties which is why they are back again. And since I already had two Ajis planned for a bed, I might as well just go overboard with a full set of them. This should be a really fun bed to watch as the season progresses through 2019.

Self-watering Buckets

I’m only planning on using the buckets for a couple of plants this year. I love how maintenance free they are, but the water reservoir in each is a haven for mosquitos. Both of the Pequin varieties will go here as I was quite pleased with how the standard variety did in the system this past season.

Overflow Plot

I plan on uses my overflow plot at the local community garden again this year. It was a great success this past season overall, though I noticed that the superhots didn’t produce as well as the lower level peppers. That’s why this one will be packed with jalapenos, Hatch, Poblano and Grenada seasoning as well as a couple miscellaneous items like the Yucatan White and anything else that may be picked up at local nurseries.