Big pepper plans for the 2016 vegetable garden. Above can be seen 1 of the 2 trays of peppers (Capsicum annum) planted indoors on April 5. There are 12 varieties. 5 sweet bells, 6 hot chile peppers of varying heat intensity, and 1 frying pepper. The seeds are from Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog and John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds catalog.
The planted trays were placed on heat mats and covered with clear plastic domes. At the first sight of green, the dome and heat mat were removed, and the trays were placed under grow lights.
The photo below shows the peppers on April 30. Hmm. I planted too many seeds. How many more years before I stop doing that. I don’t know. Many of these pepper plants will by necessity be recycled in the compost bin. Oh well. They do look healthy, don’t they.
Below is a photo of the pepper plants after thinning out and transplanting into larger pots. They are back under the grow lights and will continue to develop until the latter part of May when they will be hardened off in cold frames and transplanted to grow bags in my garden, probably under covers until temps are warm in earnest.
Here is a rundown of the pepper varieties. I saved 3 plants of each variety and plan to plant the best 2 of each.
Sweet bell peppers.
Intruder from Johnny’s. Fruit large, blocky, with thick walls. Intruder was my favorite bell last season and the only one I replanted this year. Time to try new bell peppers.
Sweet Sunrise from Johnny’s. Blocky to slightly elongated fruit. Flavor is fruity and sweet. Fruits ripen early.
Quadrato d’Asti bell peppers from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds. Italian heirlooms. Huge, blocky, thick-walled fruits with rich, sweet taste.
Nathalie bells from Kitchen Garden Seeds. American hybrid. Dark green, elongated spicy fruits maturing to red.
Autumn bell peppers from Kitchen Garden Seeds. Compact plant yields scads of fruits weighing in at 12 oz. each.
I have high hopes for a better sweet bell crop than last year’s.
Hot chile peppers.
Pepperoncini pepper from Kitchen Garden Seeds. Barely a blip on heat index. Pendant fruits are flattened and irregularly formed with delightful tangy crunch if harvested when red. My single reason for choosing this pepper is the name. Lidia often mentions pepperoncini flakes. Is she simply using a generic name for peppers, or is she referring to this particular pepper. I don’t know.
Helios habaneros from Johnny’s, which I planted last year. Very, very hot.
Cheyenne cayenne chiles from Johnny’s, also planted last year. Sweet and moderately hot. I love the long, wrinkly fruits and would like to dry them this year for pepper flakes. Great in salsa.
Havasu Santa Fe chiles from Johnny’s. Moderately hot. Pale yellow, conical-shaped, thick-walled fruits. This will be my 4th year to plant Havasus. The 2nd year was a total failure. Last year’s crop was abundant. Wonderful flavor and color addition to salads and salsa. I first chose Havasus because of the name’s association with my memories of hiking in the Grand Canyon, but I’ll keep on planting them because they are incredibly good chile peppers.
Tiburon ancho/poblanos from Johnny’s. These also were planted last year. Moderately hot. Very dark fruits as poblanos. Hope to have a better crop this year.
El Jefe jalapeños from Johnny’s. Hot. Like the Havasus, the El Jefe chiles were abundantly abundant last season. Longer and thinner than some jalapeños.
Carmen frying peppers from Johnny’s. Great tasting. Sweet. Corno di toro (“bull’s horn”) type. Best when red ripe, but it’s hard to wait that long.
My plan is to grow the peppers in 5 gallon grow bags. The sweet and frying peppers in the old apple tree area in amongst blueberry bushes and wildflowers. The hot chiles by the back fence where I hope to start a wildflower garden this summer. Weeds will be a problem in both areas. Oh well. I planted peppers in grow bags last summer with great success. High hopes for peppers for summer eating, for dehydrating, for salsa, for pepper flakes, for many things.
Here are some photos from last summer, just to keep my pepper anticipation high.