This heirloom variety comes from Sunchang, South Korea, an area famous for its production of the fermented pepper paste gochujang. A landrace which has been selected and stabilized by local farmers in the region, this was bred to be the ideal pepper for one of Korea's most ubiquitous food products. Small (4-6" long) and thin walled, they are a wonderful dried chili. They are also very prolific, providing continual harvest for months. A local Korean seed scholar who has worked to preserve these seeds is the inspiration behind its moniker. She said that this is a classic Korean chili whose flavor and performance has made it invaluable to peasants in the area. It's also suited to the low or no input systems of the region, which is why communities are working so hard to preserve and champion this variety in the face of elite hybrids.
Gochu are warm season annuals. They are indeterminate, producing a steady supply of peppers throughout the season. They appreciate fertile, well drained soil with a neutral pH. Amending with lime or gypsum to adjust overly acidic or alkaline soils will aid growth and fruiting.
When to plant
Start seeds indoors 8 weeks prior to transplanting. Seeds need temperatures of 70F, and soil temperatures of 80F.
Seeds can be sown in open tray or 200 cell flats ¼” deep, then potted up to 50 cell trays or larger pots once their first true leaf forms.
18-24” between plants.
Full or partial. The thin walls of this variety make it more vulnerable to sunburn on the fruits, so they generally like some afternoon shade. We grow them on the east side of taller crops who give them a break from the sun for part of the day.
Moderate, intermittent watering. Avoid prolonged periods of drought. Mulch can help, and also keep soils cool, preventing blossom drop.
Days to maturity
Approximately 70 days from transplanting to green chilies. Harvest first flushes of green fruit to encourage more fruiting. Harvest ripe peppers about 90 days after transplanting and sundry.