Row by Row Episode 221: Expert Pepper Gardening Tips

Tonight we’re joined by a special guest and friend, Pieter. Pieter has worked in the seed industry for many years and tonight, we will discuss everything peppers! From the different types of peppers, seed germination tips, soil media information, transplanting tips, and so much more! We’re going to even debunk some “pepper myths”! If you want expert pepper gardening tips – you found them!

Different Types of Peppers

Bell Pepper

Bell peppers are the most commonly grown and used by home gardeners. Every bell pepper will turn to a color – depending on the variety, most green bell peppers will turn red. It depends on when you harvest them as well. Knowing when to harvest is important, with green bell peppers you’ll want the fruit to be firm. You can touch it and know if your bell peppers are mature. Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers are sweeter in taste.

Poblano Pepper

Just like the bell pepper, you will want to harvest it once it is firm. The poblano pepper plants can get medium to large in size, they will need room to grow. Poblano peppers tend to range from 4″ to 6″ long once mature.

Anaheim Pepper

Anaheim peppers tend to be only mildly spicy in flavor but can surprise you! They’re smaller in size but look similar to the poblano pepper. They can range anywhere from 6″ to 10″ in length at the mature stage. They are popular in Northern Africa and are mostly harvested when green.

Serrano Pepper

Did you know that Serrano peppers are more widely used in Mexico than Jalapenos from a culinary perspective? It has an immediate heat, you want to harvest and consume when green. Harvest between 1″ to 4″ in length. It is a smaller version of the well-known jalapeno variety.

Habanero Pepper

We’re taking it up a notch with the heat! There are so many different varieties of habanero peppers. Fun tip: choose a hybrid variety – you’ll get a quicker harvest! Typically, the habanero pepper will get 1″ to 2.5″ in length depending on the variety you grow. Harvest once the fruit is red or orange.

Cayenne Pepper

Their origin is from Nothern Africa. There are longer, skinnier types and thicker varieties. The most common size once harvested is between 2″ to 5″ in length. The scoville heat units for the cayenne are 30,000 to 50,000 units. Mainly used when making hot sauces.

Rocoto Pepper

Originating from South America, it’s also called an “apple pepper” due to its shape and color. Rocoto peppers are not overwhelmingly hot, scoville scale puts them around 30,000 to 75,000. Extremely flavored and should be tried by everyone at least once!

Peri Peri

Another pepper originating from Africa, the Peri Peri registers at 300,000 scoville units. If you like a pepper with a quick, stinging bite… this is for you! This type has a large plant but small peppers… alot of peppers! They only get 3/4″ to 1 1/4″ in length.

Pepper Seed Germination – Expert Pepper Gardening Tips

Germinating peppers can be a challenge for any gardener. Peppers take longer to germinate, so be patient. When starting pepper seeds, you always want to use a new, good soil media, one that does not hold a lot of moisture. Heat is very important when it comes to starting pepper seeds. Use a heat mat! 85 -90 degrees is the best temperature for germination. Always make sure you do not overwater! The hotter the pepper, the longer it takes to germinate.

Growing Tips: Common Insects, Common Diseases

Peppers can be susceptible to insect damage and a lot of different diseases. With the proper selection of disease-resistant varieties and a good pest control program, you can have success in growing healthy peppers. Some common pepper plant pests are thrips, hornworms, aphids, stink bugs, whiteflies, flea beetles, cutworms, and spider mites. Bug Buster II can treat all of these pests.

Organic controls for common diseases include crop rotation and select resistant varieties. Peppers are susceptible to bacterial wilt and spot, blight, tomato mosaic virus, and fusarium wilt. Fungi max is good at treating bacterial wilt. Liquid copper and garden phosphorous are used to treat blight and bacterial spot. If your pepper plants just have blight, use Vegetable, flower, fruit, and ornamental fungicide. Always treat as needed using label instructions.

When To Transplant and Harvest

Don’t direct sow pepper seeds – always start them in trays! Commercial growers tend to go by how sturdy the stem of the plant is, this seems to be the best way. If you go by height, you can have a leggy plant and it may not withstand certain weather. Make sure the stem of your plants is firm before transplanting.

CHECK OUT THE PEPPER GROWING GUIDE!

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