All About Growing Peppers

Visually striking and flavorful, growing peppers will spice up your cuisine AND your garden.


| February/March 2010



growing peppers - pepper assortment

Growing peppers will color your garden with dazzling, eye-catching fruit. Shown here, from left, are ‘Sante Fe’ (yellow), pimento (dark red), ‘Marconi’ (bright green with a blush of red), ‘Apple’ (mid-range red), poblano (deep green), ‘Jimmy Nardello’ (bright red) and cayenne (orange red).


ILLUSTRATION: KEITH WARD

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

Peppers present some of the summer garden’s biggest flavors and brightest hues, and these striking fruits are simple to store and have a wealth of delicious uses in the kitchen. Plus, sweet and specialty peppers are among the most expensive produce at the grocery store, so growing peppers of your own can be a money-saving move.

Pepper Types to Try

Sweet bell peppers come in various sizes and colors, and the fruits’ colors change as they mature. They grow best where summers are long and warm.

Specialty sweet peppers include pimentos, frying peppers, and other sizes, shapes and flavors. Small-fruited varieties are among the easiest peppers to grow.

Southwestern chile peppers have complex flavors with varying degrees of heat. Many varieties bear late and all at once, so they can be a challenge to grow in climates with short summers.

Specialty hot peppers range from moderately spicy jalapeños to hotter cayennes to hottest-of-all habaneros. Most are easy to grow.

judyh
6/28/2014 11:10:57 AM

I am new to gardening. I have a small space 3'x 12' and some large pots. I am growing Bell peppers, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, cucumbers. I don't know how much to water them. I live in So. Cali. and it get very hot here 90-100s. They are planted in south facing garden so they get a lot of sun and heat. I water every other day with a hose by hand. I added some pellet vegie food but the leaves are falling off on one pepper, one plant is not growing and is still small and I was getting a wrinkled soft spot on peppers where the sun hits and peppers are small. Tomatoes are getting dark spot on bottom of the tomatoe. Cherry tomatoes are fine, squash is fine it is just flowering now, cucumber is fine. I water them all the same. What do I need to do to know how to water and what do I need to do to keep them healthy?


bphs1959
6/30/2013 1:45:12 PM

I work with a community garden here in Salt Lake City, UT and we just recieved a donation of 34 tomato plants and 28 pepper plants. These came from an organic seed trader who trades for seeds and plants from all over the world. These plants have names that I have never heard of here in Utah. He said there are all colors of tomatoes and all colors and ranges of hotness in the peppers. I planted them in local soil to see how they fair against each other in our heat (105 F today) in soil with very little added to it. These are being watered 3 times a week on a drip line without added mulch. I am going to be, not only interested to see what they produce, but how well they do in our local sandy, rocky soil.


logansprings
6/29/2013 8:32:21 AM

Our 19 pepper plants did very well last year here in Kansas even in the extreme heat and drought.  We had all we could eat, freeze, and dry, and we gave away the excess to gratefull family and friends.  We till with an older, Troy-Bilt tiller and plant each plant in deep furrow made with a furrowing attachment.  After the plants are established and the average temps are above 80, we mulch the entire pepper growing area after laying down soaker hoses.  Each plant is supported with a 42" tomato cage to protect it from the wind.  Plenty of cattle manure for fertilizer is a must.  This year, we are hoping to have another bumper crop!  


nancy smith
2/7/2012 12:34:08 AM

I had great luck with my peppers last year, especially after I mulched them with untreated grass clippings. The clippings provided nitrogen, weed control, moisture retention, and protected the roots from the blazing sun. I plan to expand both in variety and quantity this year! The details are available on Savory Jardin http://savoryjardin.blogspot.com/2011/10/this-garden-is-hot.html.


barbara pleasant_3
7/29/2011 8:52:24 AM

The most productive pepper plants have a high leaf/fruit ratio, so don't prune unless you need to remove damaged leaves or broken stems. Lots of leaves also helps protect fruits from sunscald. In late summer, you can prune off bloom clusters that won't have time to produce mature fruits before frost. In Zone 6 this is mid to late August. Good luck!


grizzmontana
7/28/2011 9:13:55 AM

Should I prune the big "sucker leaves" off my peppers?


william_53
3/28/2010 12:11:39 AM

Nice!! good info.


ken_4
3/10/2010 8:27:02 PM

Here in SW Arkansas, Serrano hot peppers did great last years. Put in 3 plants (from local farm store), had more peppers than needed. Give away 2/3 of the crops. Ripened over a period of 6 weeks. California Wonder produced small fruit, but several peppers per plant.


dean fisher_2
2/20/2010 8:42:56 AM

when growing sweet bell in northern climates variety is important,I have great luck with Fat'N'Sassy hyb. here in northern michigan. Dont bother with califonia wonders up here.






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