Many serious pepper growers consider bhut jolokia peppers to be among the hottest peppers. These peppers are reddish-orange when they are mature. Growing bhut jolokia pepper plants can be a challenge due to the precise soil temperatures and moisture levels required for them to grow. Additionally, jolokias have a long germination and growing period. Experienced gardeners living in areas with long growing seasons may be ready for the challenge of growing hot bhut jolokia peppers.
Fill the seed-starting tray with potting soil in late winter or early spring. Place the seeds on the top of the soil, spacing them approximately 1 to 2 inches apart. Cover the seeds with ¼-inch of soil and spray the surface lightly with water using a spray bottle.
Place the tray under the grow light to provide sufficient warmth for the seeds during germination. Spray the soil surface with water every day to keep it moist.
Watch for the seeds to sprout in as little as two weeks. It may take longer for bhut jolokias to germinate, however. Keep the soil consistently moist and keep the seeds warm with the grow light.
Prepare the growing area outside when the soil is warmer than 70 degrees and the seedlings have two sets of leaves. Work the soil down by a depth of 6 inches with the garden spade. Add 1 inch of compost to the top of the soil and work it in with the spade. Level the soil with the garden rake.
Harden-off the seedlings before transplanting them outside. Place the seedlings outside in the afternoon in a sheltered and shaded area for approximately three hours then bring them back inside. Gradually increase the time the seedlings spend outside and move them slowly into sunlight over the course of one week. At the end of the week, the seedlings should be accustomed to direct sunlight and wind for up to 12 hours per day.
Plant the seedlings in the ground, spacing them 1 foot apart. Place the pepper plants in the soil at the same depth as they were in the seed-starting tray. Water the newly transplanted seedlings lightly.
Water the pepper plants if at least 1 inch of rain does not fall in a weekly period. Fertilize with an organic fertilizer once per month by sprinkling fertilizer around the base of the plants. Consult the package for measurements appropriate for your growing area.
Apply 1 to 2 inches of mulch around the base of the plants to control weeds and conserve moisture in the soil.
Allow the peppers to dry on the plants before removing them. The peppers are ready to pick when they are red and the skins are dried. Wear gloves when picking the peppers because touching the peppers can blister your skin.
Things You Will Need
- Seed-starting or propagation tray
- Potting soil
- Grow light
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Garden spade
- Garden rake
- Organic fertilizer (granular)
- Shredded mulch (leaves or bark)
- Gardening gloves
- Never touch your face or eyes if there is any chance you have pepper oil on your hands because severe irritation and burns can occur.
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