Growing firepods in the Coastal Plains of North Carolina...
Seeds for 1999
Cayenne, Long Thin (capsicum annuum)
70-75 days to maturity. Peppers are 5" long and 1/2" thick. Easy to dry. Heat Level 7(?), "red hot". Seed Source: Davis Plant and Seed Company, $1.25/25. Author's Comments: Like the "normal" Cayennes that I usually grow, these plants produce good quantities of peppers. True to their name, the Long Thin peppers are
a good bit longer than regular Cayennes. I usually get 2-3" long peppers from the regular variety, where the Long Thin variety have been about 3-4" long, with an
occasional 5" pepper. Cayennes seem to me to be one of the heartier types of peppers in terms of drought-resistance and general finickiness about growing conditions.
Jalapeno M (capsicum annuum)
72 days to maturity. Peppers are 3" long and 1 1/2" wide. "Very hot", "firey". Seed Source: Davis Plant and Seed Company, $1.25/25. Author's Comments: The Jalapeno M variety seems to grow like, and bear peppers identical to, the regular Jalapenos that I have grown in the past. Except, of course, for the
heat level, which is definitely higher than any Jalapenos that I have ever grown. Peppers have generally been 1 1/2 - 2" long. The Jalapeno is my general purpose chile of choice in the kitchen.
Numex Joe E. Parker (capsicum annuum)
65 days to maturity. Peppers are 6" to 7" long. This is an improved variety of Numex 6-4, with
thicker walls, more uniform peppers, and higher yields.
A type of New Mexico or Anaheim pepper. Developed by New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Breeding Program in 1990. "Mild". Seed Source: Davis Plant and Seed Company, $1.50/25. Author's Comments: NuMex peppers are great for cooking; I generally use them in spaghetti, chili, salsa, and the like. They are also very good sliced up on a sandwich or a hamburger.
NuMex peppers could hardly be called hot, but they have a wonderful "green pepper" flavor that is akin to that of a green Bell pepper, only better (in my opinion). The plants themselves
seem to be of average hardiness for capsicum plants, and the peppers have generally been about 4-5" when I harvest them. The peppers seem to freeze very well.
Serrano (capsicum annuum)
Native to Mexico and southwestern US. Uniquely symmetrical, smooth peppers grow to about 2" long, and
plants grow to 3'. Heat Level 6-7. Seed Source: Davis Plant and Seed Company, $1.25/25. Author's Comments: This is the third year that I have grown some type of Serrano, and they are some of the more temperamental peppers that I've grown. They are usually among the first to wilt during the dry,
hot parts of the summer, and they seem to be more susceptible to damage from over watering than the "average" capsicum plant. They are worth the trouble, though- the peppers are absolutely smooth-skinned and symmetrical, and they turn an amazingly vibrant
shade of "Hot Pepper Red". This year, peppers have averaged between 1 1/2 - 2", which is about normal in my experience. Next year I will probably go back to growing Super Serranos, which yield more peppers
Tabasco (capsicum frutescens)
Originated in southeast Mexico. Plants grow 2-3' tall and can bear up to 100 peppers each. This is the pepper that makes Tabasco(R) Brand Pepper Sauce so hot.
Heat Level 9. Seed Source: Davis Plant and Seed Company, $1.75/25. Author's Comments: This is the first time that I've grown Tabascos, and they win the "Finickiest Pepper of the Year" award for 1999. They disliked the dry spells this summer even more than the Serranos, and absolutely refused
to set fruit until we hit a extended cool period with a lot of rain. They show the strongest preference for the relative shade of the front porch of the six types of peppers that I am currently growing (the porch only gets the morning sun until about 11:00 AM). In fact, the potted plant on the porch is the only
one of my Tabasco plants that is flourishing. It *is* flourishing, though- big, bushy, and covered with at least 50 chiles at any given time. The peppers, which point upward, change from a pale green to yellow, then to orange, then to red. As the plants show
all different colors at once, they make a colorful addition to the porch.
Unidentified ex-Soviet Pepper (capsicum unknown)
These are descended from peppers originally brought to the US from the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Uzbekistan. This will be the fourth generation
that this seed line has been grown in the US. Peppers are 1 1/2" to 2" long and change from light orange to red as they ripen. Author's Comments: Even though my seeds were two years old, they provided 100% germination, and produced amazingly vivacious plants. They grow fast, tolerate heat and water deprivation better than most pepper plants, and produce loads of blisteringly hot peppers. The first one that I used was still green and only about
an inch long, and it made a huge skillet of cabbage as hot as I could handle. The afterburn was unquenchable for almost ten minutes. The peppers have averaged about 1 1/2 - 2" long, and they have not shown any of the orange color that the parent peppers did- they change directly from green to red. Interestingly, the
peppers do not wrinkle or shrink up at all on drying- the skin stays perfectly smooth. I have never seen another type of pepper dry without at least some wrinkling of the skin.
Last updated 31 January 2015.
(c) 1999-2016 Mike Whittemore
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