Peppers available in a wide variety

Larry G. Field
Thursday, June 6, 2019
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The variety of peppers available is about as great as any vegetable. The varieties vary in size from smaller than a marble to nearly a pint in size. They vary in taste from “sweet” to “explosively hot.” Colors and shapes vary as much as the previous two subjects. One’s best bet is to read the descriptions and select based on personal preference. Most grow well and produce abundantly in our area. None that I have grown in our low humidity area have the thick juicy walls of the purchased yellow and red bells.

Some companies supply mixed seed packages that contain a few seeds each of several varieties in a single package. If one were to use these you assume that when you plant a seed it should be a pepper, but you don’t know which of the dozens of varieties it might be. I would discourage purchasing these. Most gardeners grow only a few pepper plants and one should know what he is growing.

I utilize purchased bedding plants; it is difficult to grow healthy ones in the normal household due to insignificant lighting. If purchasing seeds, I would recommend starting them as “bedding plants” to speed production. If you choose to challenge the length of the growing season and seed directly into the garden, every 20 inches I would plant 3 seeds according to package instruction and while the plants are growing but not crowding, thin back to the one healthiest plant every 20 inches.

I grow 6-8 plants each season, two Jalapenos and 4-6 green bells. I purchase large plants, generally the “California Wonder” green bell and one type of the many hybrids of jalapenos. The variety of jalapenos seems to make little difference. I space peppers 20 inches and plant them such that the “root ball” has about one inch of garden soil over its top. “Burgess Seed & Plant Co.” describes the CA Wonder as “perfect for stuffing” and we agree. Each season we freeze 20-30 stuffed peppers to utilize as quick microwave meals.

We use the jalapenos while fresh except for a one quart zip lock bag that is filled and frozen directly from the plant to the freezer. When using, a frozen pepper can be sliced paper thin to help liberate the “heat” into a cooked dish. Jalapeno peppers are abundant producers and it would not surprise me to harvest 100 peppers per plant during a productive season.

We process our own salsa. The batches my wife makes will fill five pint canning jars. We normally process two years supply when canning and therefore can salsa ever second year. We have two practices that readers may wish to be aware of. 1. We use a progressively larger number of jalapenos in each canned batch. We write the number on the lid of each jar indicating the number jalapenos (hotness) in that batch: 4, 5, 6….12. from very mild to very hot. 2. Cabbage, we shred, then dice the shredded cabbage and add a conservative amount to each batch The cabbage does not affect

. the flavor but it greatly thickens the salsa by adding bulk solids.

If one grows small thin sweet peppers, one option is to use them as dinner snacks by cutting perhaps one pepper per dinner guest in half lengthwise and stuffing it with tuna salad, crab salad, or anything that you please, as a raw snack.

I cannot remember having pest problems with any type of pep- per.

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