Saturday, April 20, 2013

Growing Hot Peppers

There are quite a few "growing from seed" instruction available on their own separate page but today I'm sharing one of my favorites.  This if from the newsletter we sent out yesterday.  
Also check out Earth Day Celebration of Life!

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Mary's Heirloom Seeds Growing Tips
Growing Hot Peppers
When to Plant Peppers

If you live outside of Florida:  Start seeds indoors (with lights if possible) in early spring, eight to 10 weeks before your last spring frost date. If possible, provide bottom heat to keep the plants' containers near 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the seeds stay slightly moist. Seeds should sprout within three weeks. Transfer seedlings to larger containers when they are about six weeks old. Don't set peppers outside until at least two weeks after your average last frost date, during a period of warm weather. Always harden off seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor weather a few hours each day for at least a week before transplanting them outdoors.

I have a screened-in patio and plant seedlings in small containers. I leave them on a shelf on the patio.  It get's plenty hot in Florida so water regularly but DO NOT over-water. 

How to Plant Peppers
All peppers grow best under warm conditions, but gardeners in cool climates can keep peppers happy by using row covers. Choose a sunny site that has fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Loosen the planting bed to 12 inches deep, and thoroughly mix in a 1-inch layer of mature compost. Dig planting holes 12 inches deep and at least 18 inches apart, and enrich each with a spadeful of additional compost. Partially refill the holes, and situate plants so they are planted slightly deeper than they were in their containers. Water well.

Harvesting and Storing Peppers
You can eat peppers when they are mature yet still green (green peppers), although the flavor and the vitamin content of peppers improve as they ripen to red, yellow or orange. Use pruning shears to snip ripe peppers from the plant, leaving a small stub of stem attached. Bumper crops can be briefly steam-blanched or roasted and then frozen, either whole (for stuffing) or chopped. Peppers are also easy to dry. Dried peppers quickly plump if soaked in hot water, or you can grind them into powders for your spice shelf.

Pepper Pest and Disease Prevention Tips
Tobacco etch virus (TEV), cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) and potato virus Y (PVY) can infect peppers grown in warm climates. Transmitted by thrips and aphids, these viruses cause leaves to become thick and crinkled or narrow and stringy. The best defense is to grow resistant varieties, such as Tam Jalapeno 
Margined blister beetles may suddenly appear in large numbers in midsummer, especially in warm climates. These large beetles are black with gray stripes, and they devour pepper foliage. Handpick beetles, making sure to wear gloves to prevent skin irritation. Use a spinosad-based insecticide to control severe outbreaks.
Pepper weevils can also be a serious problem in warm climates. Clean up fallen fruit daily to interrupt the life cycle of this pest, and trap adult pepper weevils with sticky traps.

Pepper Growing Tips
Be careful with nitrogen when preparing your planting holes, as overfed peppers produce lush foliage but few fruits. Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer only if you're growing peppers in poor soil.
In cool climates, use black plastic mulch in addition to row covers to create warm conditions for peppers. In warm climates, use shade covers during summer to reduce sunscald damage to ripening peppers.

Provide stakes or other supports to keep plants upright as they become heavy with fruits. Cover surrounding soil with a mulch of clean straw or grass clippings so ripening peppers don't come in contact with soil, which can cause them to rot.
Always wear gloves if handling hot peppers, and avoid touching your eyes or nose. If you do handle hot peppers bare-handed, immediately scrub hands with soap and warm water, rub them vigorously with vegetable oil, then wash them again.

Helpful Links:

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
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Arugula, Calabrese Broccoli, Snowball self-Blanching Cauliflower
Danver's Half-Long Carrots, Eggplant - Black Beauty
Little Gem Lettuce, Tom Thumb Lettuce
French Breakfast Radish, 5-Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard
Whiteglobe Purple-Top Turnip

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Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY EARTH DAY (weekend)!!!

Sharing at The Creative HomeAcre Hop  and  HERE.


Anonymous said...

My little pepper plants I ordered from you are doing terrific! They were in need of a transplant, but our planting season has not yet arrived, so I put them in a large indoor pot, at our bow window. By the way, I just ordered some of your sunflower seeds. My mother loves them! Now, if you would only start selling Wave Petunia seeds, you would make me one VERY happy girl!

Call Me PMc said...

Thanks for joining us at Social Sunday, new follower ~ Paula

Lanaya | Raising Reagan said...

My husband loves serranos! He must have them for his guacamole!

Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

(¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

Leslie @ Violet Imperfection said...

I'm not a fan of peppers but my husband and daughter love them so much.

Thank you for linking up to Raising Imperfection! We appreciate you taking the time to link up, make sure to check back on Friday when we feature out favorites.

Unknown said...

Hey there! I'm stopping' by from the blog hop and wanted to let you know I'm your newest follower via GFC! Hope you'll get a chance to visit me! You can find me here:

Blog url


Mama's High Strung said...

Great info! Your images are spectacular... looking forward to your posts as I start planting and getting ready for spring... if it ever comes! Thanks so much for stopping by the Mom's Monday Mingle Blog Hop! Following you here and everywhere!

Pams Party said...

I have had trouble with peppers in past years. I thought your post would be the perfect one to feature for Earth Day. You are today's Dare to Share Feature of the Day.

Becca said...

Peppers are so pretty! I love the variety of colors they come in.
Thanks for sharing at A Humble Bumble!

Unknown said...

Hello! I'm visiting from Tuesday's To-Do Party. I started growing last year, so your blog is going to be very helpful! Stop by my blog at

Unknown said...

I have never seen the black peppers before. Is it too late to grow them? I live in VA.

Thank you for linking up to the In and Out of the Kitchen Link party! I can't wait to see what you bring next week.

Cynthia at

Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick said...

Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

Kathy Shea Mormino

The Chicken Chick

Lisa Lynn said...

Great info, Mary! Thanks for sharing this on The Creative HomeAcre Hop!
Hope to see you again today. :)