Growing Peppers in Your Garden

One of my favorite parts of gardening is growing peppers. I don’t favor them because they’re one of my favorite things to eat. When it comes to eating, peppers are good but they don’t agree with me, something I try to not take personally. I love growing peppers. There are so many shapes, flavors, uses, sizes and even colors that they never get boring, and peppers aren’t fussy.

Growing Peppers – Tips

  • Pepper seedlings don’t require drastic hardening off. Hold back a bit on water and move them outside in dappled sun to adapt to sun and breeze.
  • Pepper plants are more susceptible to cold early in the season than later, so don’t rush planting. Transplant them into the garden after the danger of frost passes and the soil warms.
  • Peppers like to be crowded. Plant them 18 to 24 inches apart depending on variety.
  • Give them fertile soil, sufficient magnesium and calcium, water deeply once or twice a week, and let them grow.
  • Don’t give peppers too much nitrogen. You’ll get a lot of plant with few peppers.

We often have a killing frost in early September followed by several weeks of warm, frost-free weather. A sheet or other cover over the plants is usually enough to protect the plants from frost. This will help you continue growing peppers into the autumn season.

I start pinching blossoms off the plants in mid to late August. The plant will put its energy into growing peppers already formed rather than making more.

I always grow Revolution bell peppers. Their thick walls, heft and wide bottoms make them perfect for stuffing and freezing for winter meals. The pepper doesn’t disintegrate before the filling is thoroughly cooked. It’s excellent in salad, salsa and spaghetti sauce. If I’m using a bell pepper rather than a hot variety when I make and can spaghetti sauce, I choose Revolution. It holds its shape during the canning process. On the Scoville Heat Scale, Revolution is a 0. This one is not a hottie.
revolutionRevolution requires approximately 72 days to maturity, a short amount of time for a mammoth sized pepper. Revolution is Phytophthora Blight and Bacterial Leaf Spot resistant. Grasshoppers and flea beetles like peppers but don’t seem to want to do enough damage to Revolution to kill the plants if you choose to avoid using pesticide.

Hot Peppers

Poblano Pepper, growing peppers
I was reminded of the heat some of the peppers I grow can pack. I weeded around and pulled a few Poblano peppers that had blossom end rot. I touched my finger to an open spot on the pepper and touched my finger to my tongue. Hot. Holy cow hot. I finished weeding the Poblanos then moved on to the Jalepenos and Serranos. I brushed a mosquito off my cheek. Instantly, my cheek stung. I hadn’t swatted the mosquito, just a light brush against my skin, and then I quickly realized the stinging sensation was burning. My face didn’t have protection of latex gloves.
growing peppers, Serano pepperAccording to Scoville, Jalepenos are mild. They rate 2,500 to 8,000 units. I withhold water to my peppers. I want intense flavor for the Mexican recipes the peppers will be used in.
Jalepeno pepper, growing peppersGrowing peppers – everyone can do it!