2012 Pepper Growing Blog

This blog will chronicle my pepper growing efforts for the 2012 growing season here in S. Central Wisconsin

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Oct 9 '12

Day 249 - October 9, 2012

Quick update on my Over Winter plants.  They are doing fine.  The Orange Tree Habanero has lost all of it’s foliage (kinda scarey) but is already putting out new buds.  This happens quite often with plants after pruning them back and bringing them in for the winter. 

The Twilight and Hot Hungarian Wax plants have only lost a few leaves.  They likely won’t lose all their leaves like the Orange Tree Habanero did.


Oct 4 '12

Day 244 - October 4, 2012

With the sub freezing string of nights coming up, I was forced to end the last of my pepper growing for the year.  I picked three plants to overwinter, a second year for one of my Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers, my Orange Tree Habanero Pepper and my Twilight Pepper.

The three plants before pulling them out of their containers:

Here is my Hot Hungarian Wax before pruning the root system.

Hot Hungarian Wax after pruning back the root system:

Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper after repotting:

Orange Tree Habanero before pruning root system:

Orange tree Habanero after pruning back the roots:

Orange Tree Habanero after repotting:

Twilight Pepper root system before pruning….this little guy had a ton of roots.

Twilight Pepper roots after pruning back:

Here are all three plants after repotting:

I will use the next three months to chronicle my overwinter plants.  At the start of the new year, I will begin a new blog for the 2013 season and start where this one leaves off.


Oct 2 '12

Day 242 - October 2, 2012

I finally got around to processing most of my peppers.  I wound up with 22.5 pints of peppers.  4.5 pints of Jalapenos, 7.5 pints of Hot Hungarian Wax and 10.5 pints of Sweet Bananas.  I still have about 5 pounds of peppers left and am trying to find people to give them away to.  What I haven’t gotten rid of by tomorrow will probably be frozen.  I am really happy with the Sweet Banana Peppers.  They are very similar to Bell peppers in taste but they produce a lot better than Bell Peppers do.  They look really cool in canning jars too when you have about half that are ripe-red.

I have harvested all my seed from this years peppers and am in the process of drying them for storage.  I will use them to grow some of next year’s plants along with trading them on the Hot Pepper Garden Web forum. 

I will be overwintering one of my original overwintered Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers.  This will be its second winter.  I am also going to overwinter my Twilight Pepper and my Numex Halloween Pepper.  I have pruned them back already but still need to pull them and trim down their root ball and then re-pot them into smaller containers.  I will do that in the next couple days with mid twenty degree nights in the forecast this weekend.


Sep 29 '12

Day 239 - September 29, 2012

Well, the unofficial end of season is at hand.  I harvested most of the ripe and near rip peppers today.  I was expecting a longer season and have already pushed my peppers through several frost and freeze warning but with the upcoming forecast of low 30’s early next week, I decided I was through with moving the plants into the garage at night on the colder nights.  I wound up with about a 5 gallon bucket full of Sweet Banana Peppers, a nice haul on the Jalapenos and a bunch of Pepperoncinis off of just the two plants.  My overwintered Hot Hungarian Wax peppers put out a nice second harvest although I mistakenly mixed a bunch of Sweet Banana Peppers and Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers and I was just not confident enough to be able to figure out which were which so I decided to leave them mixed and process them accordingly.  I got a bunch more ripe Twilights to harvest seed from along with more Black Cuban, a couple more Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pods, several Orange Tree Habanero Peppers, a couple more Red Tree Habanero Peppers, several ripe Nagas and one hefty Orange Bell.  There is still one partially ripe Orange Bell on the plant.  I cut back one of the Overwintered Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers, the Twilight and the Orange Tree Habanero for wintering again this year.  I may also overwinter the Halloween pepper. 

I forgot to photo the 5 Sweet Bananas in the above ground garden before I picked them clean but here are photos of my container peppers.

Remember, to view larger size pictures, click on the photos below.

Black Cuban Pepper

Halloween Pepper

First Jalapeno Pepper

Second Jalapeno Pepper

Mammoth Jalapeno Pepper

Overwintered Naga Pepper (I won’t be overwintering this one again)

Orange Bell Pepper (I picked the pepper in the back, the near one is still on the plant).

Orange Tree Habanero (full 4 feet tall)

Orange Tree Habanero after pruning it back for overwintering.

Pepperoncini #1

Pepperoncini #2

Red Tree Habanero

Sweet Banana Pepper #1

Sweet Banana Pepper #2

Sweet Banana Pepper #3

Trinidad Scorpion Butch T (These two orange pods are the only other ripe pods besides the one that harvested a week or so ago).  ***Slow growers***

Twilight-Black Cuban Hybrid

Twilight pepper before pruning

Twilight Pepper after pruning

And here is my full End of Season Harvest (Coke can for size reference)

So, this will be my last major post to this blog although, I will continue to update any significant events to include progress on my overwintered plants up until the end of the year.  At that point, I will begin a 2013 Pepper Blog.  I hope you have all enjoyed watching my progress throughout the year.  I will maintain the same list of people to notify on each update for next year’s blog.  If anyone no longer wishes to be notified of updates, please email me and let me know.  If anyone knows others who would like to be added to my email notifications, please let me know. 

Now I have to start considering what varieties of Peppers I will grow next year.  I will be harvesting seed and making trades and donations to others on the Garden Web Hot Pepper forum and hope to have a few different varieties to grow for next season.  My final decision on that won’t come until a month or so into the new year.  So, take care and enjoy this nice weather while we have it. 



Sep 6 '12

Day 216 - September 6, 2012

Well, not a whole lot to pass on right now.  I am still leaving the peppers on the plants in hopes of one last big harvest before the end of the growing season.  I should still have about a month left but I am hoping to pick the majority of peppers within a couple weeks.  I have many harvestable peppers right now to include the Sweet Bananas, Hot Hungarian Wax, Jalapenos and Pepperoncinis.  But, I want a bunch of them to be fully ripe before I pick the whole lot.  I will harvest seeds from the fully ripe pods for next year.  The ornamentals will be picked as they become ripe and I will harvest seeds for next year from them as well. 

Here is a run down on what I have right now.

My Deck peppers.  I moved my Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers to the driveway to give the remaining plants a bit more room.

Here is my Black Cuban.  There are a few ripe (Red) and ripening pods down low that are tough to see.

Here is my overwintered Naga pepper.  It has a couple ripe pods but very few pods overall.  It is still blooming profusely and has several small pods but it sure didn’t produce like I thought it would.  Not that it matters.  One pod would be enough heat for a 10 gallon batch of Chili.

My other super hot for this year is also a meager producer.  It has only about three decent size pods right now and none are getting ripe as yet.  It has a few other small pods and is still putting out a lot of blooms.  This is my Trinidad Scorpion - Butch T.  Hotter than the Ghost Pepper.  I will be just harvesting the seeds.  I just don’t know what to do with the peppers themselves….

Here is a close up of some of the pods.  Notice the little “Scorpion” tail???

And one of my Pepperoncinis.  Lots of harvestable peppers but I am waiting for some of them to turn red before picking the whole bunch.  It shouldn’t be to long.

And my favorite ornamental, my Twilight pepper.  I have already picked about 50 ripe (Red) peppers from it and harvested the seed.  It just keeps making peppers and I love how the pods are continuously in all stages of coloration from purple, to yellow to orange to red.

Next is my experimental Orange Bell pepper.  Since my last update, it has had several changes.  First, I stopped letting it produce peppers at 5.  I had 5 peppers from nearly full size to about the size of a golf ball.  About two weeks ago, I noticed the largest had a “hole” in it.  Probably from some type of pest.  But the pepper itself was still very firm.  After about a week, I noticed it had begun to soften just slightly so I picked it.  There didn’t seem to be anything inside of it so I washed it and ate it.  Very thick walled and very juicy and very firm.  Then, about a week ago, I notice one of the branches with two of the peppers was hanging really low so I tried to move the pot to prop the branch up and it broke partially away at the stem.  The peppers were about half sized and I finished propping it up and hoped it would survive but it soon started wilting but the peppers looked good so I left it alone.  For 4 or 5 days, the peppers still were nice and firm but about half size.  Then one day, I looked and the two peppers were shriveling up and were soft.  I had to toss them and removed the branch.  So, now I am down to two of the five peppers and I am not sure they will ripen to Orange before the season ends.

Here is the hole that was in the bell pepper:

And here it is after I picked it.

An here is my Red Tree Habanero.  I have used several of the pods from this plant already and now one lone pod has ripened into red.  It isn’t as big as my Orange Tree Habanero but it produces well.  The peppers are pretty hot and I dont need much to season a dish.

Here is the lone ripe pod from the Red Tree Hab.

And here is my Orange Tree Habanero.  It is a full 48” tall now.   The height is as significant as the fact that it grows so tall and SKINNY at the same time much like a tree.  This will be one of the pepper plants that I overwinter this year.

This is my Mammoth Jalapeno that I bought as a starter from Home Depot. 

The pods are bigger than my regular Jalapenos and I have harvested several already but now I am waiting for some of them to ripen before harvesting the whole bunch.  Here is one of the bigger pods on the plant.

It has started “Corking” but still isn’t showing any signs of ripening to red.

Now for the Driveway Peppers:

First off, my two overwintered Hot Hungarian Wax peppers.  They both have several nice looking pods and it looks like they are getting close to going ripe but I still don’t see that slight orange hue in any of them yet.

Next is my two regular Jalapeno plants.  Several nice pods but none showing any red yet.

Now the Sweet Banana Peppers.  Check out the amount and size of the pods.

If you look close at the plant pictured above, you will notice a couple pods turning orange.  Soon they will go fully red.  I just hope the peppers on my other Sweet Bananas are not far behind.  Here is a close up of one of the ripening Sweet Banana pepper pods.

And my third Sweet Banana Pepper plant on the driveway:

Here is the Pepperoncini on the driveway, it too has a couple red, ripe pods now.

Here is one of the ripe pods.

My Black Cuban - Twilight Cross.  Notice the pods start out black and go red when ripe just as the regular Black Cuban does but the pods are shaped more like a Twilight Pepper and the leaves are also green like the Twilight instead of the darker, blackish/purplish of the Black Cuban.

And then the little Numex Halloween Pepper.  In addition to its normal black, itt has several ripe (Orange) pods and I will soon harvest those for their seeds.

Now for the Above Ground Garden Peppers:

A couple of these plants grew crazy big at over 4 feet tall.  All produced real well.  And like the Sweet Banana Peppers in the front, I am waiting for them to ripen as much as possible before picking.

And this is my little experimental Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper that I started from a cutting off one of my overwintered plants last November.  Check out the large pepper on it.

Well, that’s it for now.  My next update will probably be when I finally make my big harvest.


Aug 21 '12

Day 200 - August 21, 2012

Just a quick update on a small harvest I made today.  I got a nice batch of Hot Hungarian Wax peppers, a good harvest on my two Pepperoncini plants and I picked all the larger pods off the Orange Tree Habanero. 

I sliced and cold canned the Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers as well as the Pepperoncini peppers.  I got four 8oz jars of the Hungarians and one 8oz jar of Pepperoncinis as well as two 12oz jars full.  I love the Hot Hungarian Wax peppers on my sandwiches.  The Pepperoncinis should be good too except that they have very little heat.  I am looking forward to trying them.  The Orange Tree Habanero peppers were sliced up along with a bunch of ripe Twilight Peppers and Halloween peppers.  They are in the dehydrator as we speak.  They will be ground up for powder.  The Orange Tree Habanereros are pretty hot.  I sliced one up a couple days ago and put it in the stir fry that I made and it was close to being too hot to eat.  But eat it we did.  Good but a half of one would have been good.  I also harvested the seeds from the ripe Halloween peppers and the ripe Twilight peppers. They will be part of my seed stock for next year as well as being used in trades with other pepper growers.

I have a nice crop of Sweet Banana Peppers ready to go but I have decided to let them stay on the plants for a while yet.  I am hoping they begin to turn orange and then red pretty soon.  I will pick them when several are in the red stage and then cold can them as well.  I also need to harvest some seeds from a few ripe Sweet Banana Peppers for next year.  The same goes for my Jalapenos.  I picked a bunch of them several days ago but left a couple nice sized ones to use for seed stock once they get red and ripe.  I left a few nice sized pods on my Orange Tree Habanero in hopes they go ripes soon as I need those seeds for stock too.  The Red Tree Habanero has several pods growing now but they are smaller and growing more upright than the Orange Tree Hab.  I haven’t harvested anything off that plant yet.  My Trinidad Scorpion Butch T has one pod about full size but still green along with a couple other small pods.  It has been very slow going this year.  I want at least a couple mature (ripe) peppers to harvest seed from…the more the better.  My overwintered Naga has several pods on it now with only one near full size.  Again, a very slow plant to put out pods.  That is the nature with super hots though.

The top middle are the Orange Tree Habaneros, the bottom left are the Hot Hungarian Wax and the bottom right are the Pepperoncinis.  If you look close you will see a couple Pepperoncinis that are ripe (Red).

Hot Hungarian Wax on the bottom and Pepperoncinis on the top.


Aug 16 '12

Day 195 - August 16, 2011

The weather is finally cooled down to normal temps and we finally got some rain last night - 1.75 inches.  The pepper plants seem to be enjoying the cooler weather and continue to grow and produce new peppers.  I just picked a bunch of Jalapenos today (More on that later).  I could pick another batch of Sweet Banana Peppers any time.  My Ornamentals continue to produce great looking foliage and peppers and my Super Hots have finally begun to put out some peppers. 

Here is a run down of my plants.  First, the Deck Plants.

My Over Wintered Hot Hungarian Wax peppers.  I have two and they are continuing to produce great pods.

Here is one of my two Black Cubans.  This one has the dark foliage that you would expect on the Black Cubans.  There are a couple of ripe, bright red pods hidden in this plant.

Here is one of my two Super Hots…my Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.  It is even hotter than the Ghost Pepper.  So far it has only set a few pods but one is getting near full size.

Here are a couple of the pods on the plant.  Notice the “Scorpion” tail on the larger pod.

Here is my Pepperoncini pepper plant.  It is ready for another harvest as well.

Here is my overwintered Naga plant.  It took a long time to set any pods but now has several pods.  I will likely not keep this plant another season.  I will find another one to replace it this winter.  I just don’t have a lot of use for the pods.  Tooo hot.

Here is my prettiest ornamental pepper - Twilight Pepper.  It now has a ton of pods all sticking upright and in all color stages.

This is my Orange Bell.  I have two peppers that are nearly full size but still green, one pepper that is about half to three quarter size and one about half size and several small ones.  I am looking forward to see them start turning orange.  I hope I don’t run out of time.

This is my Red Tree Habanero.  It isn’t as tall as my Orange Tree Habanero but it has put out a lot of peppers.  I have eaten a couple and while they are fairly hot, they are not too bad if you strip out all of the seeds and pulp before eating them.  This plant seems to be a pretty good producer.

Here is the Orange Tree Habanero.  It is several inches taller than the Red Tree Hab but was significantly later in producing peppers and it is taking a long time for them to grow.  I have noticed the pods on the Red Tree Hab tend to stick upwards more so than the Orange Tree Hab.  I will over winter at least one of these…probably the Orange Tree Habanero shown next.

I don’t know how tall it is now but it is over 4 feet.

And the last of the Deck plants is my Mammoth Jalapeno. This plant is doing great but I am getting some seeds from a grower on the Garden Web forum that look like they will produce even better and bigger Jalapenos.  It is the Grande Jalapeno.

Now the Driveway Peppers.

First, one of my eight Sweet Banana Pepper plants.  All of these are about ready for another harvest.

Sweet Banana Pepper #2.  If you look close you will notice some dark coloring on several of the peppers.  This is simply what they call “Sunburn” and it doesn’t indicate a ripening pepper and doesn’t affect the taste of the pepper at all.

Here is Sweet Banana Pepper #3.  This one took a hit from the wind and torrential rain fall last night.  I dont know if there was any hail or not.  It is fine though.  I just propped it back up and it will be fine.

Here is a one of my two regular Jalapenos:

And the second one:

My second Black Cuban.  It doesn’t have the darker foliage like they normally do but it is a bit more showy with the pods sticking up above the foliage nicely.  If you look closely, you will notice a couple of ripe, bright red pods on the top left part of the plant.

Any my Numex Halloween Pepper.  Great Orange and Black peppers.  Some are progressing on to the fully ripe Red stage at this point.  I am debating whether or not to overwinter this plant.  The fact that it is so small has me leaning towards choosing it.

Now lets go to the Above Ground Garden in the Backyard and check out the other 5 Sweet Banana Peppers and the Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper that I grew from a cutting.

The Sweet Banana Peppers are growing very tall back here.  They are producing about the same as the plants in the containers in the front yard.  All are ready to have some peppers plucked.


Here is the 4th of my Sweet Banana Peppers:

My 5th Sweet Banana Pepper:

6th Sweet Banana Pepper:

7th Sweet Banana Pepper:

8th and last of my Sweet Banana Peppers:

And last but not least, my Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper that I grew from a cutting made last fall.

Since these photos, I went out and picked several peppers.  Mostly Jalapenos but a few of the other varieties as well.  I wanted to try out a new recipe: Italian Stuffed Jalapenos.  Here is the recipe:


Italian Stuffed Jalapenos
Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri, 2008

Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 10 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Easy

•  15 jalapenos, preferably red, cut in 1/2, seeded and deveined
•   1 tablespoon canola oil
•   2 pounds mild Italian sausage, casings removed
•   1/4 cup minced red onion
•   1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
•   3 tablespoons minced garlic
•   2 cups mascarpone or cream cheese
•   1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
•   Salt and pepper
•   1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set a rack in the middle of the oven.
Place jalapenos on a sheet tray and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Turn broiler on medium.

Heat the oil in a medium saute pan. Add the sausage and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook to soften for about 5 minutes. Remove and place in a large bowl. Cool to room temperature, then add mascarpone, and Parmesan. Mix ingredients thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

Place approximately 1 tablespoon of mixture into each jalapeno half, and top with 1/2 teaspoon of mozzarella cheese.

Place the sheet tray of stuffed peppers in oven and broil until mozzarella cheese melts.


I made this as a half batch with only half the sausage and half the cream cheese.  I also omitted the Red Bell Pepper simply because I did not have one handy.  The other ingredients, I pretty much left as is.  Oh, and I use more that 15 Jalapenos.  Seems mine must not be as big as theirs.  I also used a couple of other varieties of pepper to see how they tasted compared to the Jalapenos.

Here is what they looked like after adding the cream cheese/sausage mixture to the pepper halves:

This is what it looked like with the Mozzarella cheese added:

And this what they looked like coming out of the oven after broiling them.

Tasty little buggers.  This became dinner for today and there were only 5 left at the end.  I was a bit afraid of the heat from the Jalapenos but once you strip the seeds and pulp from the peppers, they become quite mild comparatively and are probably fine for almost anyone to eat.  They was no discomfort from eating them but there was the pepper heat there….just about right in my opinion.  I will continue to use primarily Jalapenos for these in the future.  I hope I can get a larger variety however for next season although these made great finger food and were bite size.  If someone wants more heat, just use hotter peppers.  The Jalapeno shape and thick walls seem to work good though.

Another way to make these is to cut the very end of the larger end off and clean out the seeds and pulp and then stuff them that way.  But you would probably want some kind of broiling rack to hold them upright in the oven.

I am thinking about trying a similar recipe next time with my Jalapenos:  ATB’s or “Atomic Buffalo Turds”…That is what they are called.


Aug 5 '12

Day 184 - August 5, 2012

Well, I have harvested peppers from nearly every one of my plants so far.  I picked all the Sweet Banana Pepper last week and took them to my mothers to can them.  Here is what we wound up with minus a few jars that my mother kept for them and my sister.

One of those is a jar of Jalapenos.  Second row on the right.  They are canned according to the Ball Blue book and should be good on the shelf for a year or more….they won’t last that long though.

My plants all continue to grow in this warm dry weather.  Here is a few photos of some of the plants.

Orange Bell Pepper is finally growing peppers fast now.

Twilight Pepper

Orange Tree Habanero.  It is 39” tall now.

The Red Tree Habanero is a few inches shorter but has put out a lot more pods and even two ripe ones already which I put in the Spaghetti Sauce tonight.  Martha said best spaghetti yet. :)

My Mammoth Jalapeno is putting out more pods after harvesting several.  This plant is a great producer.  I will have to make sure I save some seeds for next year.

Here are my some of my drive way plants

Black Cuban (Notice the red ripe pod on the right side)

Numex Halloween Pepper:

A couple of the pods have finally turned Orange which gives it the second part of the Halloween colorings.

Here are my backyard Above Ground Garden Sweet Banana Peppers:

The plants are growing huge.  I am not sure if they are producing more than the container plants or not.  But I did already pick a bunch off them last week for canning.  I am looking for a second harvest later this month.

My tallest Sweet Banana Pepper Plant (42 inches).

And lastly, my Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper that I grew from a cutting is growing fast now.  I have already picked two or three peppers off it and it is going to put out some more.


Jul 27 '12

Day 175 - July 27, 2012

I decided to do a quick update with the photos of the Sweet Banana Peppers that I harvested tonight.  I was going to wait but they are all really nice sized already and many of them didn’t seem to be growing any more.  This way, they can now put their energy into starting a second round of peppers and hopefully I will get another, bigger harvest before October.  It came to 3 1/4 pounds.  I haven’t decided exactly what to do with these yet.  I may can them.

I put the Coke can in the photo for a size reference.


Jul 26 '12

Day 174 - July 26, 2012

Well, Still hot, still dry but I wanted to post a few pictures of my first harvest for the season.  I have picked a couple peppers previously but this is the first real harvest so far.  I am hoping it spurs the plants into putting out a second round of peppers right away.  I didn’t think I would have time for two harvests but the plants seem to be liking the unusually hot weather.  I haven’t picked any Sweet Banana Peppers yet as I am hoping to get a larger haul so that I can take them to my Mom’s house to can.  I will have to start picking them soon however.  There are some really nice sized ones and I think they will start turning red soon if I don’t pick them.

Here is what I picked yesterday:

And here they are all canned up.  (Cold canned).  Bottom three are Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers, top left is Pepperoncini’s and top right is Jalapenos.