Growing tips for peppers are the same, whether they’re sweet as candy or hot enough to knock your socks off. Peppers are picky about temperatures right from the get-go so if you don’t want to fuss with details, buy transplants.
With literally dozens of varieties of peppers to choose from, in all shapes, sizes, and colors, how can you even begin to decide which ones to grow? And,
Here are some criteria we use when choosing peppers to try in our garden:
Heat or sweet? First, we narrow our choices by flavor. Sweet peppers are great for frying, stuffing, or simply enjoying raw in salads. Hot peppers are a must for adding zip to cooked dishes.
Over the rainbow. Both hot and sweet peppers come in a variety of colors. Hots are typically green, red, or yellow. Sweets can be green, red, yellow, orange- and even lavender, creamy white, or chocolate brown!
Sizing them up. Large-fruited peppers tend to be slow to mature- ours usually don’t start ripening until late summer. In most areas of the US the growing season isn’t long enough for them to produce another set of flowers and fruit.
Small-fruited types, like cherry peppers, mature quickly and bear their fruit through summer. Our suggestion? Plant several varieties of different sizes to have a steady supply of peppers for months!
In a hurry for your harvest? The secret to getting peppers to develop faster is providing them with magnesium in a form they can use quickly.
To try this in your own garden, mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts in 1 gallon of water. Apply 1 pint of this mixture to each plant just as the blooms appear. You’ll get a fantastic set of fruits that’ll ripen before you know it.
Hot peppers don’t just taste hot – the juices in fruits and plants can burn your skin, and it hurts! So wear gloves when you’re working with hot peppers, whether they’re in the kitchen, the garden, or their starter pots. And, keep your hands away from your face!
Here’s our little secret to help you get the hottest hot peppers in town. Just before you’re ready to harvest, flood their bed with water. This stresses the roots and sends out a signal to “turn up the heat!”
Hold Hands, Kids
My husband usually says that pepper plants are like kids crossing the street: They like to hold hands. By that he means you should space them so that when the plants mature, their leaves are just touching one another.
Want to know more about growing peppers?
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Yours truly for a great garden with outstanding berries, veggies, and flowers,
Polly, Organic Grower