Peppers: particular and exciting
We like to help growers share their methods so they can help and inspire each other. We can all learn from one another, so we’d like to share the insights of our growers! One of our loyal customers is Emanuele, the man behind a pepper farm in Sicily.
Hi Emanuele, tell us about your plants!
For several years I have embarked on a very particular and exciting hobby: I grow many varieties of chillies from all over the world. I buy specific chilli seeds (both for shapes, colors and for spiciness) and I grow plants up to the production of fruits. From these ripe chillies I get the seeds that will serve to start the new spicy season next year.
Spicy! For how long have you been growing chilipeppers?
I have been growing chillies for 4 years now. I started to grow a seedling of Jalapeño for fun. From that moment I began to get passionate about this world, also linked to my university studies in agriculture. The following year I cultivated my first Carolina Reaper plants (a pepper that holds the Guinness World Record for spiciness) and I began to buy many varieties until I had about 80 varieties of chillies.
And things only got bigger, of course?
Yes, this year I’m growing about 200 plants! One hundred of these are new varieties that I added to my personal collection. The other plants were born from the seeds of last season, of varieties that I already had. Some of the plants easily make 3 kilos of peppers, others a little less. Let’s say 2 kilos generally, so that’s 400 kilos of peppers in one season.
That’s a lot of peppers! What are you going to do with them?
I’m going to use hotpeppers to make hot sauce, dried peppers, spicy powder and to use fresh chillies in several spicy meals (for example chilli). As said before, I use chillies to collect seeds that will be usefull to generate the future plants.
You sound like a pepper collector! Which strains do you grow?
This year I will continue to grow some of last year's varieties such as Jalapeño Chocolate, Red and White, Carolina Reaper Red and Chocolate, Yellow Moruga Scorpion, Aji Charapita, Habanero Chocolate, Orange and Red, Pimenta da Neyde. This year I will add several varieties to the collection such as Carolina Reaper Mustard and Yellow Moruga Scorpion Peach, Habanero White, Dragon's Breath, paprika and more.
A while ago you started using Plagron. Where did you first hear about us?
I saw Plagron products for the first time on some Instagram posts and the results seemed very satisfactory both for the good structure of the plant and for the abundant harvests. I also noticed on the Plagron website that the product description sheets were truly complete and explained everything down to the smallest detail.
And for how long have you been using our products?
I have been using Plagron products since October 2019. I have used them to fertilise and energise the plants that had almost reached the end of the season to have a last consistent harvest. Now I am using all Plagron products both for the vegetative recovery of last year’s plants that are going through winter and for the sowing and growth of new plants.
Which of our products are you using?
At the moment I am using Lightmix, a prefertilised substrate with perlite, and Power Roots, which is a liquid fertiliser for the development of the roots. For optimal growth of the plant I use Terra Grow and for a better absorption of the nutrients by the plant I use Pure Zym. I use these products in pretty big quantities because our plants get thirsty for a lot of water under the Italian sun.
Why did you choose Lightmix over our other substrates?
I chose this type of substrate because it guarantees a good softness of the soil which allows the best germination of the seeds. It doesn’t hinder the development of the roots and the emergence of the cotyledons. Lightmix has good water retention which allows the seed to soak up water more quickly. It also includes perlite which guarantees greater softness of the substrate, thus helping the roots to grow. Because it’s prefertilised, it allows a management of the plant, in the first weeks of life, without the need for extra fertilisation.
We’ll check back with you later this year. Where do you hope to be with your grow at that time?
I hope that the plants are in an excellent vegetative phase, that they have a resistant structure and that they are ready for the final transfer. A test for our plants will be the last transplant and the arrangement of the plants in the garden, under the Sicilian sun.
Check out Emanuele's Instagram @BL_Hotpepper.