Our current pepper varieties:
Cayenne Pepper- Gorgeous and prolific, these narrow, pointed peppers can be harvested green for a milder flavor or deep red for fiery intensity. Excellent fresh, cooked, or dried.
Jalapeño Pepper- Beautiful, dark green, glossy fruit with the perfect amount of spice to top eggs, chop into fresh salsa, or toss on a pizza. A classic hot pepper!
Large Sweet Bell Pepper- Blocky, thick peppers and juicy sweet flavor. Harvest early for green peppers or hold off for a fire engine red color.
Shishito Pepper- A Japanese variety of bright green, wrinkled peppers perfect for blistering on the grill, pan-frying, and roasting. About every tenth pepper displays a hint of heat which pairs perfectly with a little salt and lemon juice.
Mini Sweet Snacking Pepper- Adorable small peppers with a rich sweet flavor. Ranging in color; yellow, orange, or red, you’ll be eating right off the plants.
How to grow peppers from seed:
If planting with a Seedsheet, simply follow this how to plant tutorial or watch the video below. Water gently daily with a fine misting nozzle to ensure the soil around the seeds remains moist. Sprouts should be visible in 7-14 days. After sprouting and reaching 2 inches in height, seedlings should be thinned to one plant per pod.
If planting conventionally, start indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Seeds can be sown close together into flats (about 4 seeds per inch) and then transferred into cell trays or containers after true leaves appear. During the germination period, it may be necessary to use a heater or heat mat to obtain the ideal soil temperature of 85°F. Water gently daily with a fine misting nozzle to ensure the soil around the seeds remains moist. When seedlings reach 2 inches in height, they should be thinned to one plant per cell. After transplanting outside, the optimal range of temperature is around 75°F during the day and 65°F at night. Immediately before transplanting, harden off your plants by reducing the temperature to 60-65°F and watering slightly less for 2-3 days before transplanting. Transplant seedlings 12-18 inches apart in rows that are 18-36 inches apart.
Peppers are sun and heat loving plants (within reason), as such, pepper plants are ideally situated in an area that receives at least 8 hours of direct sunlight daily (with 10-12 hours preferred). As peppers only mature with sun and heat, it is imperative that they are planted at the correct time of the year (for your planting zone) so they have plenty of warm days to mature and ripen. Check out our blog on climate zones for the best times to regionally plant.
Pro-tip: If you are located in an area with a short growing season, you may want to consider starting pepper seeds inside, with the help of a full spectrum LED grow light, so the plants have enough time to grow to fruition once moved outside)
Like many other fruiting plants, peppers require nutrient dense soil to supply the building blocks for fresh and flavorful mature fruits. Starting pepper plants with a good base of high quality, fertilized potting soil is necessary if planting in a raised bed or container. If planting within an in-ground garden bed, the soil should be well tilled and fertilizer amendments should be mixed in at the beginning of the gardening season.
How to care for peppers:
Pepper plants are relatively large and need a decent amount of space to grow and mature properly. As mentioned above, pepper seedlings should be thinned to one plant per pod so they aren’t crowded and competing.
To thin: Water your soil well and identify the largest, most mature seedling to keep. Gently grasp the remaining unwanted seedlings with thumb and forefinger and pull from the soil. It is important to only pluck one seeding at a time, as their root systems may be intertwined and pulling multiple at once may result in accidentally ripping all of the seedlings out together, including the one intended to keep. Check out the video below!Pepper plants thrive when the soil is not saturated with water, but is allowed to slightly dry between waterings, but not completely, as this will be detrimental to the health of the plant and can also present an opportunity for diseases to appear. If heavy or prolonged rains are forecasted, it is recommend to move the plant inside (if in a container) or under cover of an angle-suspended tarp if planted in the ground. Once the rain has cleared, move the container back into full sun or remove the tarp to keep the peppers growing.To produce a flavorful and substantial pepper harvest, a consistent fertilizing schedule is key. Check out our blog on fertilizing for more information and recommendations to get the most out of your plants.Pro-tip: Pepper plants with large fruits, such as bell or poblano pepper varieties, have the potential for tipping over if laden with fruit, especially if planted in a container. We recommend attaching the plant to a stake with clips or twine for support. Inserting a stake into the soil about one inch away from the plant base when the plant is still young will disturb the plant much less than if you were to drive the stake into the soil when it is more mature. Alternatively, small tomato cages can be used to help support mature plants.
How to harvest peppers:
To harvest peppers, cut the stem, connecting the fruit to the main stalk of the plant, about one inch above the top of the fruit, with a clean pair of pruning shears or a sharp knife. Take care as to not damage the other fruits or stalk of the plant around the fruit being harvested as this can introduce disease to the plant.
Pepper plants are unlike most other veggie plants in that the harvesting period is dictated by personal preference. For instance, bell peppers can be harvested before they reach full maturity and are still green, or when left on the plant to reach full maturity with red, orange, yellow, or purple coloring. Peppers can be harvested as soon as they’ve reached the desired size, but the flavor profile and appearance will continue to change the longer they are left to grow on the plant. The longer peppers are left on the plant, the hotter or sweeter they will become, depending on the variety grown.
Once harvested, rinse the fruit clean and enjoy fresh in any dish. To store for future use, dry the fruit after rinsing to prevent molding, then store peppers in a refrigerator crisper for up to a week. Be wary that chilling injury occurs to the fruit at temperatures below 45°F.
The recipe possibilities are nearly endless due to the versatility of pepper fruits! Bell peppers are a great snack when deseeded, cut into strips and dipped in hummus or added to other crisp veggies for a garden fresh salad. Shishito peppers are excellent roasted with oil, salt and pepper, then blended into hummus or blistered in sauté pan, seasoned with salt and a squeeze of lemon, but watch out for the one in ten that has a bit of a spicy kick! Green cayenne peppers add a nice heat to a fresh garden salsa or a cheese dip, but if you want to turn up the spice even more, wait until they are fire-engine red to harvest and make homemade red pepper flakes or add them to a chimichurri sauce.
Our few of our favorite pepper recipes:
- Avocado Salsa Verde
- Southwestern Salad
- Roasted Shishito Pepper Hummus
- Homemade Hot Pepper Flakes
- Cheese, Herb, and Tomato Dip with Crostini