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Devon Chilli Man – Box of Pain By The Chilli Diaries

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Devon Chilli Man Box of Pain. The name says it all. Devon Chilli Man is probably known best in the Chilli Growing Community for being one of the biggest UK growers of Carolina Reapers. But he does grow other interesting Chillies as well, and he’ll happily send you a box in exchange for a few of your hard earned pennies in the form of one of his Boxes of Pain.

It is, unfortunately a bit hard to really review these boxes as each one is pretty unique in that you get what you’re given. The one thing you can guarantee is that you’re going to get some of the hottest chillies that are available today and that they are going to be fresh.

I’ve literally ordered a Devon Chilli Man Box of Pain one day, and it be sat in my kitchen the following. I live about 250ish miles away. It’s a pretty impressive feat to be fair. Now, he can’t take all the responsibility for that, I know. It’s not as though they are hand delivered. But it does show a certain commitment to his customers that they arrive fresh.

Which, is good.

In fact, I’ve ordered a few of these now and one time it fell over a bank holiday weekend. He took the time to drop me a message asking if I minded waiting so then he could be sure they wouldn’t get stuck in a warehouse. You can’t argue with that kind of customer service.

For £8.00 you can look forward to (approximately) 150g worth of Chillies. Now, that might seem expensive to some but you do have to remember that you can’t buy these chillies by going to your local shop. They aren’t mass produced. They’ve not been through any kind of factory. Pesticides haven’t been used and the man has his own bills to pay. All things considered, they’re pretty bargainous in fact.

More than anything else, it’s a chance to get your hands on a great selection of new chillies to try out for yourself. I’ve had some crackers in the boxes I’ve had.

Setting aside the more famous ones like the Carolina Reapers of this world I’ve been introduced to some beautiful fruits. The Brain Strain Chilli for example.

Previously these where like something I’d heard of round a camp fire. With a name like Brain Strain, come on – Who wouldn’t want to try them? As it happens they are a proper little fire cracker and delicious.

Another Chilli I was glad to get my hands on was the MOA Scotch Bonnet.

The MOA (Ministry of Agriculture) Scotch Bonnet is the original “Scotch Bonnet”. As I’ve said more than once, Scotch Bonnets are amongst my favourite chillies to cook with. Over the years with cross pollination, I guess the true Scotch Bonnet got changed to something else without anyone really realising. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d suspected something labelled as Scotch Bonnet was more of a generic Habanero more than anything else.

So, I more than welcomed the chance to try a “real” one. And, as it turned out, I was slightly disappointed. They where actually much milder than I was used to. Still tasted great, but I used my normal four in my sauce, and, it could have done with a bit more of a kick.

Of course, there all kinds of surprises to be had in these boxes. Including chillies I’ve never heard of, like the Moruga UV.

The Moruga UV (Unknown Variety) is an unstable version of the Moruga Scorpion Chilli, I don’t know much about them but the plant is known for throwing out all kinds of different shapes and pod types.

In one box I got this year (2017) there was one in particular I’d never heard of. Brown Bhutlah. I was originally sent just the two of them. At the time this struck me as odd, there are normally at least four of each type. But, I didn’t think much of it other than that. I did however decide to use them in my Chilli-Con-Carne that night, just to get them used more than anything else.

Boy, was I in for a surprise. Hand on heart, NEVER have I had a chilli THAT hot. To say that I just used two was ridiculous. Those things are just silly. And yes, I do mean never. Hence me putting it in capitals, bolding it and using italics. I’ve cooked the same meal with four Carolina Reapers and never felt heat (or pain) like it. I’ve cooked the same meal with four Moruga Scorpions and never felt heat (pain) like it. I’ve cooked the same meal with four kinds of all kinds of super hot chillies and never felt heat (pain) like it. You get the idea.

If I’d used four Brown Bhutlah then I think, quite possibly, there would have been some medical attention needed.

They are crazy hot. And, I’d never even heard of them before!

And, of course. Another thing in the plus common for buying Super Hot Chillies, is that you get free seeds for all these crazy chillies you’ve never heard of.

There are of course many other varieties that you could get sent, it really is whatever he has ripe at the time but that just adds to the excitement of it all. For me at least. Kind of like an early Christmas even.

We all like a bit of hot pod action so here is just a small selection of the ones I got in some boxes I ordered this year (2017).

Fatalii

Primo Red

Black Habanero

White Bhut Jolokia

7 Pot SR

7 Pot Infinity

OK. That’s enough. I’m sure you get the idea 😉

If you’re looking for a random selection of super hot chillies to buy, it’s safe to say I’d recommend the Devon Chilli Man Box of Pain as a good source of them.

If you’re interest purely lies with the Carolina Reaper then he is also more than happy to ship a box of those to you as well, or perhaps you’re not feeling quite that brave, in which case there is a Mild and Tasty box to consider as well!

“First Year Bulk Growing A Great Success” – Devon ChilliMan

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October has thankfully been a great month in my Chilli grow after a very disappointing so called summer. Ive been so busy that I’ve completely forgotten about getting round to doing this blog, so I’m sorry it’s late for those of you who are kindly following me. The Autopot Watering System along with nutrients from Growth Technology has proved a very successful partnership and I can’t thank all involved in this first year of growing on this scale enough !!

The UK chilli community is certainly a great one indeed as I’ve also had great encouragement from them also of which I’m extremely grateful. Ive got some really exciting plans for next year which I’m bursting to announce but I am awaiting confirmation right now.

Devon Chilliman suffers a Sugar Rush!

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September has been pretty much “as we were” in previous months in Channingswood Prison & just making sure the 2000 plants on the Autopot system are ok. The Great British weather really has made this year a challenging one for growing chillies what with the cold nights and lack of sunlight during July & August.

My most prolific plants this year are the new kid on the block “Sugar Rush Peach” this is a rare Peach colored Capsicum bacattum variety from Peru that is very sweet.

It might be the only Peach colored Aji type seen. Similar to Aji Amarillo but much sweeter and that’s why it’s called Sugar Rush! & they have an abundance of fruit on them and have been a challenge to cane and support with one plant even toppling right over under all the weight ! (if anybody wants Sugar Rush by the kilo please contact me)

I’m now looking forward to using this years produce and bringing out some new lines to add to the Devonchilliman range of products.

After trialing various different substrates this year it’s clear which one I will use next year & that is Alpha Gold,this has out performed all the others by a country mile.

2000 Chilli plants Drink 7,000 Lts in a weekend at Channingswood Prison

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Here is my August update of my Channingswood Prison grow of 2000 chilli plants using the Autopot Watering System.The plants are using a staggering amount of water/nutrients now. I’m using a specially formulated two part feed from Growth Technology that has been made to suit the water supply in the prison. We have to make sure that all seven of the 1000L Flexitanks are constantly topped up, to give you an idea of the usage come Friday lunchtime all of them are full to the brim & when I return to the prison on Monday morning all 7 are near enough empty,so that’s 7000L (7 ton) gone over the weekend!

It is rewarding working with the offenders & seeing them enjoying and learning from this unique “Chilli” project,although it has been frustrating & challenging working in this environment with regards to Health & Safety/Security issues. One thing that has amused me is that “Chillies” are the new currency on the wings!

Other things that have been done this month are the Polytunnel doors have had the polythene sheeting removed and replaced with a fine mesh to allow more airflow.Also a couple of the offenders have started making permanent concrete plinths to support the Flexitanks instead of pallets as security deemed these to be a risk.

All 2000 plants are now fully supported by canes/string and this has mostly been done by one offender that has past experience of working on a tomato farm in Greece for over 7 years, his skills have been a huge help on our team. The plants are looking awesome now but where has summer gone? We really do need an Indian summer to help ripen the pods now.

These will be available through my website.

DevonChilliMan – 2000 Chillies in Channingswood Prison

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July has come & gone where did that month go ?, I know…..it was spent in Channingswood Prison where I now have 2000 plants across 7 completely set up polytunnels using the Autopot Watering System, phew with the help of the offenders we got there in the end, it’s taken a lot longer than I would have liked but I see this first year as a working learning curve & next year I will have a big head start on this as the majority of the work this year was to get the tunnels fit to use & to install the Autopot watering system.

All 2000 plants are now caned and tied as they need support and yes I don’t half get some funny looks turning up at the prison gates with armfuls of canes day after day after day !!. The tunnel doors are slowly being replaced with mesh to allow a better airflow to help the plants in the really hot days.

Outside each tunnel we are constructing permanent concrete plinths for the 1000 Litre Flexi Tanks to sit on as they weigh 1 ton each.Now onto the pods…they are slowly but surely starting to form and the odd one ripen, I sent a ripe “King Naga” to Adam Marks of Mr Vikki’s the other day to see if he approved & he gave me a BIG thumbs up & says he wants his first shipment of 50 kilos ASAP.

My friend Henry Font from Italy has supplied me with some wonderful seeds this year and one of the Varieties is called a “Trinidad Dog” its a cross between a Red Moruga & a 7 Pot Barrackpore and the first tasting of one was by my friend Rickard Haglund from Sweden and his thoughts were & I quote ..

“Quite powerful, rather similar to a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (TMS),fruity but with a powerful (and pretty instant) kick”

Anyway back into prison I go bye for now.

Devon Chilliman – 4 Tunnels Complete

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I’m now pleased that finally I have over 2,000 Chilli plants now potted up into their final pots which are the Autopot 15L & 25L. I would like to say how extremely greatful I am to the companies who have supplied me with the growing media for this project at HMP Channingswood and they are…

Atami , Growth Technology, Nutrifield, Mills, Plagron & UGro.

I can honestly say “what on earth have I got myself into !!”, but on the other hand I love a challenge and to have such a massive passion for my chillies I am in my element and have now spent a whole month in the prison ,although my body is telling a different story as I never knew I had so many muscles that could ache.

We now have 4 of the 36M x 9M polytunnels up and running with the Autopot Watering System and hope to have the last three completed in just over a week,it’s been extremely challenging in the heat that we’ve been having the last few weeks,but the plants are thriving.

Heres some of the varieties that I’m growing this year…

Carolina Reaper, Sugar Rush Peach, Bhut Red, Borg9, Chocolate Borg9, Naga Morich, King Naga, Black Naga, Red Scorpion, Yellow Scorpion, Chocolate Scorpion, Fatalii Yellow, Trinidad Moruga, Red Ghost, Peach Ghost, Red Habanero, Yellow Habanero, Wartyrx, Yellow Pimple, Faces, 7 Pot Primo ,Shabu Shabu, Katy, Genghis Kahn & Apocalypse.

The pods are starting to appear as of the last week,so hopefully I will be able to share lots of pictures with you all soon.

DevonChilliman – MAY be in prison?

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Finally after almost six months of planning and frustration with various set backs the Prison project is very much back on track.So far there are over 1200 chilli plants on site and the others are almost ready to be potted into their final pots which will be a mixture of the Autopot 1Pot Module which holds 15Litres & the Autopot 1Pot XL Module.

I have a variety of substrates available to me to trial with this system and in due course I will be posting my findings as the season progresses.The polytunnels have been prepped for the laying of the white Mypex this should be a great help on the ripening of the pods as it will reflect the light up under the plants.

Each polytunnel will have a 1000Litre Flexi tank which will supply the nutrients of which have been made specifically to suit the growing of chillies and the water in the prison.in it and 7 rows of 40 Autopots so in total 280, I was supposed to be using 8 polytunnels but one was damaged in the storms so there will be a total of 1960 modules in total.

We were going to use more but decided to give each plant a metre so to allow it to grow properly. I have been working with four offenders and they are extremely keen and very willing to learn about the growing of chillies of which I find it rewarding to pass on the knowledge I have to them.

April – Another month in the life of the Devon Chilli Man!

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April arrived with all the presents that a man could desire and trials that would break many mortals. The prison project at times makes me think it may be easier to get out than get into Channings Wood Prison but it’s all starting to take shape.

We shoe horned a 12 ton lorry with 16 pallets of growing media from Growth Technology through the gates with inches to spare and 2500 AutoPot watering systems, FlexiTanks, pipes and AQUAvalves from AutoPot UK.

So now all the tunnels are ready, the growing system is ready but one small piece in the master plan was missing! The plants? And lots of plants 2500 plants to be exact.

But what sort of plants? Should it be the run of the mill? Jalapeño, Nagas, or the super hots? After long hours and many Erdingers followed by endless calls to customers and sauce makers the DCM is going hyper hot! Tunnels full of the mythical sounding super hybrids, The Borg 9, Sepia Serpent, Genghis Khan, Apocalypse and the Kraken. Alongside will be 4 dedicated tunnels for commissioned grows containing some of the world’s most spicy and respected variety’s.

But this monumental grow had a slight problem! None of the hyper hots where available in any quantity in the UK this soon. So we needed a plan and a good plan or at least a man with a plan!

Dean Finley owner of the Chilli Lab was the plan! As early as October 2014 plants where being isolated as far afield as Italy for seed stock, as well as being grown out in the lab over winter in the UK. The Chilli Lab was fitted out with 14 deluxe VITOPODS, from Greenhouse Sensations along with a full range of T5 lighting from Growth Technology! it created one of the UK’s biggest hybrid chilliplant propagation facility’s churning out a staggering 1000 plants a month. Testament to the value of the VITOPOD and lighting T5 lights.

As always, many thanks go out to Jason from AutoPot UK, Growth Technology and Jim Duffy, the Pepper King of Refining Fire Chilli’s and for the endless advice and support for this project.

March with The Devon Chilliman

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Hello fellow Chilliheads/Growers

I’ve been just as busy in March to the point I don’t know where that month went !!

The plants are absolutely flying now and I’m now starting to think about potting on, I now have about 400 chilli plants in a lean-to which are under a grow light, this is the first time I’ve used such a method outside before but it does seem to make a difference in helping with the low light levels this time of year, I’m maintaining a minimum temperature of 10°C with the help of an LPG heater that I bought for the princely sum of £1.00 at a farm auction, this is set to come on if the temp falls lower than 10°C.

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I have the amazing opportunity to use eight polytunnels which are going to be used in a unique project as they are in the grounds of HMP Channingswood. I have Collaborated with Autopot.co.uk on this and without their help & generosity this new venture would not have been possible, so a big thank you to all at Autopot for having confidence in me.

I plan to have around 1500 Chilli plants in the eight polytunnels and around 600 in my glasshouse of which are all in the process of being prepped. Here are a few pictures of where I’m at.

One Crazy February for the Devon Chilliman

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I can’t believe a month has passed since I first introduced myself on the Chilefoundry.

I’ve had one of the craziest months for a long while, bearing in mind that this is supposed to be the quieter part of the year. Ive been busy potting seedlings on, I usually sift my compost and add perlite myself but 2 weeks ago I had a hernia operation so to make things easier for myself I bought a 50L sack of Biobizz “All.Mix” of which I was impressed with and now have two grow tents bursting at the seems it was so much easier to pot on because of the fact that the seedlings were established in the Grodan Cubes. I have lights in the Clone Box Tents and have them set to be on for 14 hours per day and this seems to be ok for the moment.

Now one of reasons that I’ve had such a crazy month is I’ve been trying to secure some polytunnels for the expansion of DevonChilliman & as of 5pm Thursday 26th February I signed a contract and can now tell you all that I have 8 polytunnels these are a great size, being 35M x 9M.

Another exciting piece of news is I have colaborated with my favourite artisan producer Adam Marks, as most of you will know is Mr Vikkis and he is based in Cumbria. Along with my passion for chillies the other passion in my life for over 20 years is the love for Indian food. I discovered Adam’s delights when I attended The Upton Cheyney Chilli Festival back in 2012 which is run by Alex & Louise Duck.

I couldn’t believe the flavours and authenticity of Mr Vikkis products & since that day I have become obsessed with them, my local Indian restaurant of which I have frequented for all this time must wonder what has happened to me!, so when Adam contacted me and asked if I would like to do a Mr Vikkis/DevonChilliman colaboration I honestly couldn’t believe it !!!.

So I have supplied him with the worlds hottest chillies the “Carolina Reaper” that I grew here in Devon in my glasshouse in 2014 for the “Superhot Chilli Pickle” which we have now called “King Reaper” …my “Chilli Caped Crusader” now wears a crown on the jars. This really is a superhot pickle for those Chilliheads who have worked their way through the ranks and are looking to get their next level fix.

Adam also wants me to supply him with all his Nagas this coming season,so I will dedicate one polytunnel for the variety “King Naga” and another polytunnel for the “Naga Morich” variety…so all in all I’m living my chilli dream at the moment and it seems funny to have a business that I class as a hobby as it really doesn’t feel like work.

Well that’s what I’ve been up to, I will be back in March with another update.