Saturday, July 9, 2011

For Whom The Bell Tolls

I've never been into hot and spicy foods.  That SM's thing.  He's Mr Heat Miser. 




So when I grow peppers I grow just a few jalapenos and banana's for him.  When I cook something hot like Chili, I make it mild for me and let him add all his hot sauces to it.  I'm just a wimp that way.

You know how in cooking they call the mixture of onions, carrots and celery the "Holy Trinity"?  I can agree with that, but there's a fourth ingredient I always add.  Green Peppers.  There's just something about the flavor of a green (or red) bell pepper.  I don't care for them raw personally, but I'm fine with the cooked variety.  

Last year, our green pepper crop suffered from sun scald, so this year I planted all the peppers in and amongst the tomatoes.  When I transplanted my babies (Carolina Wonder and California Wonder) they were busy and full.  Within a month or so, they got all tall and leggy.  I was told to "pinch them back" to promote more foliage, but I didn't.  They were starting to bloom and I got greedy so I let them do their thing.

I've noticed that I can never really get a BIG bell pepper.  I wonder if my perspective is off with being exposed to the huge grocery store peppers?  

I've watched our peppers now for about a week and they didn't seem to be getting any bigger.  In fact they started to become more susceptible to scald, bugs and spots.


So I thought "waste not, want not".  Even small bell peppers cook up just fine, so I went out and pulled everything I thought I should.  Most of the plants only put out about 2-3 peppers each.



So whats the big mystery about growing peppers in the South?  Perhaps green peppers are best as a more Northern crop.  SM and I have discussed the extreme sun that seems to zap them.  This crop is better than last years so we know that giving them full sun is not good.  We also think that, while the tomatoes did help protect them, they also crowded them too much.  We're actually discussing building some kind of a shade cloth contraption next year to try and protect them more.  I planted some in raised beds and in the ground.  Both seemed to produce the same amount, so where they're planted doesn't seem to matter too much.

 Any thoughts out there?  Tips that have worked for you?  I plan on planting ALOT more plants next year if all I can hope for is 2-3 bells per plant.


5 comments:

  1. I've never had much luck getting "big" bell peppers to grow -- even in containers. One of our local truck farmers had a basket of small bell peppers sitting out yesterday so we stopped and snagged them. Most are just big enough to close your hand around, but a pepper is a pepper, right? =) Considering I usually chop them up into little pieces, it doesn't really matter if I used one big one or three little ones.

    Emma
    City Roots, Country Life

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  2. Tami - For the first time last year I planted bell peppers in pots on my back patio, underneath a shadecloth "roof". They produced beautifully - all sorts of shapes and sizes LOL I got about 6 - 8 / plant.

    S'funny - I can't eat green peppers, but red, yellow and orange - no problem. Not even cooked.

    And watching green ones turn orange and red and yellow - makes me love Mother Nature each and every time.

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  3. Mine never get as big as the ones in the store, but I don't ever consider that a bad thing.

    This year is proving to be difficult on the peppers as they too seem to be suffering their own version of blight.

    I took MamaPea's approach and planted them much closer to each other this year. So far they are growing 'up' nicely but a bit leggy yet. I figure there is still time. Lots of blossoms, so we shall see!

    Another thing I do, since the tomatoes and peppers are rarely ready at the same time and we love stewed tomatoes which requires the peppers, plant lots and lots of peppers...freeze and then you have them for the next year tomato crop/stewed canning season. Never had a problem with the taste being "a year old" either.

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  4. I often have small peppers also. This year I tried something new I heard of. I buried 3/4 of the transplant in the ground and just the top part was above the soil. I heard this causes much more of the plant to absorb nutrients and create a bigger plant and fruit. So we are just now getting blossoms. Check back with me in August for a report :)

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  5. Usually the smaller the veg is, the more tender and flavorful. So, small is good!

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