Growing peppers in home gardens
Peppers (Capsicum annum, C. chinense) can be sweet or hot, tiny or a foot long, and range in color from green, yellow, orange, red and purple, to brown.
Sweet peppers include banana, bell, cherry and pimiento types. Hot peppers include ancho, chili, habanero, jalapeño, hot banana and serrano types.
The compound that makes peppers taste hot is capsaicin and is in the seeds and the whitish membrane inside the fruits. Removing the seeds and membrane before cooking or eating raw reduces the hotness of peppers.
Soil pH and fertility
Soil testing and fertilizer
to determine pH.
- Peppers do best in soil with pH between 6.5 and 7.
- Apply phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) according to soil test recommendations. Many Minnesota soils have enough phosphorus.
- Unless your soil test report specifically recommends additional phosphorus, use a low- or no-phosphorus fertilizer.
- Too much nitrogen fertilization will lead to plants that are bushy, leafy and slow to bear fruit.
Finding and buying pepper plants
If you buy plants from a garden center, choose sturdy plants up to a foot tall. The garden center should have stems at least the width of a pencil and the leaves should be closely spaced up the stem. Do not buy plants with spots on their leaves, which could increase the chance of diseases in your garden.
If you buy plants from a mail-order catalog, you may need to keep them indoors until it is time to set them out. Treat them as if you had started them yourself.
Choosing pepper varieties
Check the “Days to Maturity” or “Days to Harvest” estimate in the seed or plant description.
Look for peppers described as “widely adapted” and “cold tolerant.” Some seed catalogs will classify their offerings, pointing out varieties that are the best choices for northern gardeners.
In general, smaller-fruited peppers are more tolerant of both cool and hot temperatures, so while you may enjoy the challenge of growing big bell peppers, planting some smaller sweet peppers will result in a more satisfying harvest.
Start pepper seeds about eight weeks before planting outside. This is earlier than you would normally start tomato seeds.
Hydromulching Completed at Los Padres National Forest
Los Padres National Forest announced on Monday afternoon that the aerial hydromulching process was complete. The hydromulching – the spraying of a slurry on land that had been burned by the Gap Fire in order to stabilize it and prevent rain-caused erosion this winter – began on September 24 and utilized six small airplanes and one helicopter, which collectively made 3,238 flights and delivered 3.5-million gallons of the teal-colored substance. Los Padres National Forest spokesperson Kathleen Good said the estimated cost of the project was $4.8 million.
The slurry contained recycled paper, wood fiber, and water. Though it does not contain seeds or fertilizer, it is designed to help seeds and roots of native plants to get established. The public will be restricted from entering areas on which the hydromulch was sprayed for a year, as people treading upon that ground would reduce the slurry’s effectiveness.
“We hope people will understand the importance of protecting the mulch over the winter and that they will abide by the closure. Anyone who violates the closure is subject to a fine and damages,” said Santa Barbara District Ranger Cindy Chojnacky in a press statement. .