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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Tags >> gardening

We continue to add new content at a record rate:

  • Learn how to grow the Capsicum baccatum species, here.
  • Everything we know about grilling chicken, here.
  • Back in 1990, Mary Jane and I visited Sonora for the chiltepin harvest, here.
  • Have a martini with your steak! Dr. BBQ's "Retro Grilling, here.



Tons of New Content Posted!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: tasty travel , smoking , hot sauce , history , gardening



We've been busy of late posting lots of interesting new articles on the SuperSite.  Check out:

  • Kobe: Not Bryant, but the best beef you've never tasted, here.
  • Tabasco: 135-year-old bottle uncovered, here.
  • Chile Growing: Turn your basement in a pod-producing garden, here.
  • Stovetop Smoking: Baby, it's cold outside, so smoke indoors, here.
  • Tasty Travel: Singapore Sling, here.


At the Azienda Agraria Sperimentale in Parma.

September 15, 2008:

November 23, 2008:

Thanks to my friend Mario Dadomo!

Mutant Pods Invade!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: gardening , chile peppers

A word familiar to all fans of science fiction, mutation refers to any sudden change in DNA--deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic blueprint for an organism--that creates a change in an organism's appearance, behavior, or health.  Symptoms include leaf distortion, variegation in leaves, fruit deformity, etc. They can be mistaken for herbicide or virus infection.  At left is a bizarre mutant pod from Jukka in Finland.





This mutant image was sent to me by Mr. Prall.










The Jolokias are particularly prone to mutation.  This image was sent by Mr. Reynolds.  (I lost the first names in an email file blow-up.)




 And finally, here's a mutant baccatum from Jukka's garden in 2008.



Interesting mutants should be sent to the Chile Pepper Institute, P.O. Box 30003, Dept. 3Q, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM 88003.



What a Harvest!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: gardening , chile peppers

It must be all that summer sunlight in Finland!  Ultimate chilehead Jukka Kilpinnen shows off his amazing harvest.  Jukka, as you may remember, is the gardener who perfected the technique of bonsai chiles.  Check out his website, here, or email him, here.

Amazing Ornamentals

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Marco Budinis reports from Parma, Italy.  It was field day at Azienda Agraria Sperimentale (Agricultural Experiment Station), and ornamental chile breeder Mario Dadomo was showing off the largest collection of ornamental chiles, or peperoncini, as he calls them, ever assembled.  At left is a beautiful chile heart.



Here is the field:

 And a nice basket of ornamentals:

CPI Demo Garden

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Here is a partial view of the 2008 Chile Pepper Institute Demonstration Garden at NMSU in Las Cruces.  Every year, CPI plants 150-200 varieties of chiles to  educate visiting students, children, and  scientists. The Institute also sells seed of many of these varieties, including the super-hot 'Bhut Jolokia' at one million Scoville Heat Units.  Visit CPI here.

New NuMex Varieties from NMSU

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Dr. Paul Bosland of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at NMSU and director of the Chile Pepper Institute, has announced the release of two new chile pepper cultivars, 'NuMex 6-4 Heritage' and 'NuMex Big Jim Heritage'.  The project was the result of observations from farmers that these two varieties were losing flavor and yield.  Beginning with seeds from the original '6-4' and 'Big Jim' varieties that had been in cryrogenic storage for more that 40 years, Paul grew out the old seeds and selected the best pods for the following year's planting.  This went on for 10 years! Finally, this year, a large field was planted that will result in seeds for farmers for next year's crop.  They will be available for farmers in January, 2009 and for home gardeners from the Chile Pepper Institute.  The research and work NMSU resulted in numerous improvements that include 20 percent more flavor compounds than the old Big Jim and 6-4 varieties, and will produce a better yield for farmers.  Pictured above is a basket of 'NuMex 6-4 Heritage'. Incidentally, in September, 2009 Timber Press will publish Paul's and my new book, The Complete Chile Pepper Book, with 240 color photos, many by our European editor, Harald Zoschke.

A Rocoto Bonsai from Finland

Posted by: Dave DeWitt


Our chilehead friend from Finland, Jukka Kilpinnen, has mastered the technique of bonsai chile plants, as evidenced by this beautiful rocoto plant in a classic bonsai pot.  If any of you would like a step-by-step guide to this procedure, it's in English here.  Incidentally, in Finnish, the technique is called bonchi.

Hydroponic Habaneros Helping Kids

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: gardening , chile peppers

Jim Duffy helps kids at youth centers in San Diego.  He comments on his website: "As far as I know, I am the only person growing the world's three hottest chiles in an NFT Hydroponic System. My vision is to expand the business, find more restaurants, and market my salsa, which will facilitate more activities with the youth in East County, San Diego.  NFT stands for "Nutrient Film Technique." The plants are sitting in tubes or trays. The roots of the plants touch the bottom of these tubes. A thin stream of film composed of water and nutrients passes by the roots giving them continuous feeding. Also, this stream of water carries with it an oxygen flow because any continuous movement in a direction moves the air and with it, oxygen. The oxygen invigorates the root system in the tube, causing more growth."

Jim sells 'Bhut Jolokias', 'Red Savinas', and 'Chocolate Habaneros' to feed kids at the youth centers and to send them to sporting events like San Diego State University football games.  To buy fresh chiles from him, call him at 619-504-9777;  his website,  Refining Fire Chiles is here.  Below is a shot of a partial harvest.


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