30 July 2011, by gj
the first pick
“My peppers aren’t happy” I commented to the manager of the local farm & garden store two weeks ago.
“Nobody’s peppers are happy” he responded.
“They’re all so small” added the owner, who was standing nearby, “the plants and the peppers, too- they’re so small.”
the start of something big
I have pepper plants from two different providers, plus peppers from a third store at my work garden.
At this point, they were all producing a lot of buds, but the plants were small and the peppers were, too.
Except a few.
I received a package of seeds to test last spring from the Sakata Seed Company.
Gotta love free stuff.
I started their jalapeno and bell pepper seeds indoors, and marked them when I transplanted; at the same time my store bought plants went in.
Two weeks ago they had very few buds on them, but looked healthy.
Now both sweet and hot Sakata plants are significantly healthier and producing larger and more abundant fruit.
To be honest, I really didn’t expect to see any difference, and if I did, I thought the plants I started from seed would be worse. I’m not really good at starting from seed indoors.
Yet. Now I’m psyched for next year.
Now in any experiment you have to look at all variables- and there is one more.
I started some other brand’s hot pepper seeds indoors too.
I’m not going to show you those, it’s too sad.
No buds at all yet, plus they are small.
Until now, I didn’t think what brand seed you bought made that much difference, but I’m convinced their pepper seeds took the bad weather conditions we’ve had and stood up to it.
These particular jalapenos- Jalafuego F1 are listed on the package as “our hottest jalapeno” which I find interesting because I read recently that seed companies are hybridizing jalapenos to be less hot and larger, so more people will buy them for stuffing.
shorter peppers front and center
I was afraid to test this out, so I got Mandolin to give one a go.
“Definitely hotter” he concluded, as he tasted a slice; and chopped the rest of it and put it in the pan of home fries he was making for breakfast.
I guess some of my peppers (and my breakfast) are happy after all.
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Categories: gardening people, places & things, how to grow, peppers
17 April 2011, by gj
hot and sweet baby pepper plants
Sweet and Hot Peppers are relatively easy to grow.
Peppers are members of the nightshade family, and like their cousins eggplants and tomatoes, they like warm weather.
They take about 4 months from seed to table, so plan on either starting indoors or buying transplants.
We start indoors about 8 weeks before planting time.
Be sure to label your pots, it is impossible to tell by sight which are the sweet and which are hot.
If you live in the cooler climates, you can extend your growing time by using low and high tunnels at the beginning and at the end of the season. Black plastic or stones around the plants help with the heat.
The recommended spacing is about 18 inches between plants.
My Dad contends “The best way to plant peppers is too close together.”
So in all honesty, I do follow his advice.
This actually does help protect them on windy days.
sweet peppers in spring
Both hot and sweet peppers do well in pots, we always grow my hot peppers in containers. Keep sweet and hot away from each other, as they will cross pollinate.
When this happens, the hot pepper wins.
We learned this the hard way, though we did have some interesting stuffed peppers that year.
one of Mandolin's favorites
The secret to a good crop or ‘peck of peppers’ Is to pinch off the flowers up until about a week or two after setting out. This gives the plants a better chance to establish a stronger root system, yielding more peppers in the long run.
Plant them in a good healthy soil, but don’t over fertilize; also like their cousins, this will produce a big bushy plant, but few fruit.
Hot peppers can be dried simply by stringing them as they mature, then crushed or ground into a powder.
Sweet and hot peppers freeze easily, with no blanching needed.
You can save your seeds, though hybrids will revert back to their natural state.
Be sure to clearly label them as well, the only way to tell the difference between sweet and hot pepper seeds is by tasting one.
I learned that the hard way too.
Botanical name: Capsicum annuum (plus varieites)
Spacing: 18″, or less.
Days to maturity: From transplanting, 60-85 days.
Harvest: Pick early for green, or let turn color on the plant for certain varieties.
Storage: Dry hot peppers, freeze or dehydrate both, pressure can
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Categories: how to grow, peppers