10 August 2011

Peppered With Promise

This year I found no Karma hybrid pepper seeds left over from previous years to plant in the spring. As I usually do, I moved on to try a different variety. My results with Karma, as well as my other pepper varieties are described in a previous post from 2008 [31.08.08].

This year I selected Early Thickset. Descriptions made it sound like a good substitute for my Karma peppers. But wait ... I found a few Karma seeds hiding in the seed tin after the Thickset seeds arrived! I had the chance for a head to head competition.

Both peppers germinated in their indoor starter cups. For my pepper-thon, the best seedling of each variety was planted next to the other in the front cottage garden. Both had the same good soil, ample sunlight, water, hot weather, and fertilizer. They grew as side by side companions through the spring and summer, and now the results are in. Karma still rules.

Comparison
Both plants appeared identical in size, coloring, and leaves, and were not bothered by pests or disease. But there was a difference in the peppers.

Early Thickset was not early after all. Both plants set fruit at the same time, and both matured to red at the same time. No advantage to either. The Karma produced only two large peppers, while the Thickset had five in the first summer cycle. The Karma peppers were uniformly large and turned red. The Thickset peppers had one large, four smaller, and turned a rusty reddish-brown. Thickset probably has a better tolerance for our summer heat, and thus could set fruit at higher temperatures. So we get bigger peppers with Karma, more peppers with Thickset. Notice also that Thickset had four internal ribs, while Karma had three.

Taste
The important test is taste. Both were cut into. Both were juicy and had that fresh bell pepper aroma. Surprisingly, the Early Thickset not only flunked the 'early' test, but the 'thick' test, too. Karma had much thicker walls. Maybe as indicated by the color, the Karma were definitely sweeter tasting.

Karma is the winner, since I would rather have fewer fruits per plant if it means I get sweet tasting, juicy, meaty peppers.

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: pink cosmos, mexican zinnia, rudbeckia, cosmos, zinnia, nicotiana, cleome, sunflowers, marigold
  • Harvested: 5 peppers, 1 tomato, 3 cukes, 56 cherry tomatoes

4 comments:

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
Great comparison with the peppers. I like red peppers, never grew some as pretty as yours!
flwrjane said...
Okay I have just learned something v. important tonight.....some peppers tolerate our early heat better and will set more fruit as a result?

Duly noted. How about tomatoes? What works for you?

jane
Swimray said...
Janet - Thank you. Based on the great plants in your blog, I'm sure you can grow great peppers.

Jane - After years of experimenting with tomatoes, I have nothing good to report. Hmm...maybe a topic for a future post.
flwrjane said...
You have GOT to get a limelight for your yard. Nothing but constant beauty.

And a great solace when the crops got to hell:)