How To Grow Great Summer Peppers

We’ve hit the middle of summer here in Northwest Arkansas, and from a gardening perspective, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. Flowers abound, colors are popping and vegetable gardens are bursting at the seams. And, when the heat is on, the pepper plant is putting on quite a show.

Testtese

The genus Capsicum houses the world of peppers, which include both hot (think chile peppers) and sweet (think bell peppers) varieties.

Sweet Banana Pepper
Our Sweet Banana Pepper is wonderful fried, grilled or cut up into salads. Very productive plants, as you can already see in our greenhouse!

It can be a little overwhelming, so let’s break it down:

There are six basic categories of peppers:

  1. Bell Pepper
  2. Poblano
  3. Anaheim
  4. Serrano
  5. Habanero
  6. Cayenne
Ancho Pepper
Kick it up a notch! Our Ancho Pepper is a mildly hot, heart-shaped pepper that start green and mature to a dark, rust red. Richly flavored and often dried and ground into chili powder.

Planting

  • At this point in the season, you’ll definitely want a pepper start plant (not from seed). We have a wide variety at our Westwood locations right now.
  • Soil should be at least 65 degrees F, peppers will not survive transplanting at temps any colder (not a problem right now!)
  • Put two or three match sticks in the hole with each plant, along with about a teaspoon of fertilizer. They give the plants a bit of sulfur, which they like.

Care

  • Soil should be well-drained, but maintain adequate moisture either with mulch or plastic covering.
  • Water one to two inches per week, but remember peppers are extremely heat sensitive (watering everyday may be necessary in these double digit heat index days we’ve had lately)
  • Fertilize after the first fruit set.
  • Weed carefully around plants.
  • If necessary, support plants with cages or stakes to prevent bending. For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, once when it begins to bloom, and once ten days later.
pepperoncini
We have Pepperoncini Peppers! This ‘Golden Greek’ is smaller and lighter in color than regular pepperoncini. Perfect for pickling.

Potential pests/diseases

  • Aphids
  • Flea Beetles
  • Cucumber Mosaic Virus
  • Blossom End Rot appears as a soft, sunken area which turns darker in color.
  • Pollination can be reduced in temperatures below 60F and above 90F.
  • Too much nitrogen will reduce fruit from setting.
Ghost Pepper
Turn up the heat to the max! This is one of our Ghost Peppers, one of the hottest peppers in the world

Did you know?
Red and green bell peppers are actually the same thing. The only difference is that red bells have been on the plant longer, thus deepening their color AND increasing vitamin C levels!

Chinese Giant Bell
Our Chinese Giant Bell is an old-fashioned bell pepper. Perfect for making stuffed peppers!

This is just a very small sample of the peppers we’re carrying here at Westwood Gardens. Stop by any of our locations, and let us help you pick the right one(s) to add to your garden this summer!

And, while you’re at it, try this recipe and let us know what you think.

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