31 August 2008

What Pepper Are You

Peppers are one of the few vegetables that are successful in the backyard garden, which receives about 80% full sun. With a new wood fence along the north, this year seemed to produce better tomatoes and peppers, maybe due to some reflected light from the fence?

Since peppers in most years are started from seed, I can select the exact variety I want, rather than picking out seedlings at the local nursery that are started for mass sales. Over the years, several varieties were grown and evaluated for growing conditions and for flavor. This year, two new peppers were planted.

The first Karma Hybrid peppers from Park Seed are now turning red and being harvested. These were found to be very good in flavor, nicely shaped and sized, and had good thick walls.

Flavorburst peppers are also just now beginning to ready for picking. These are yellow and have a very tasty flavor, although they never reached the size of their Karma cousins growing next to them.

My pepper plants are placed inside tomato cages, while the tomatoes are staked. The peppers have now grown to a height of 30-inches (75 cm) and will eventually grow over the cages at this time of year. Hot weather affects the plants by causing blossoms to drop off without setting fruits. Peppers harvested now were developed in early and mid spring. With the cooler temperatures now beginning, the pepper plants are once again happily putting out lots of baby peppers.

Pepper Roll Call
Some comments on varieties that were grown in previous years:
Yellow Banana Peppers
      There are many varieties of banana peppers. The mild, sweet banana
      peppers grown were very prolific, but the flavor was bland and lacking.
Jalapeno
      Not bad, but they never turned red, and instead produced rough dried cracks and streaks on
      the flesh as they aged on the vine. Maybe they should have been picked earlier.
Bonita Bell
      These red bell peppers were nicely shaped and had good flavor, but the walls were very thin.
      This was a disappointment, especially since internet descriptions indicate thick walls.
Blockbuster
      These turned out to be long bell peppers with pointed ends. They were very large, and their
      taste was fairly good, but they took their own sweet time turning red.
California Wonder
      This turned out to be very good in size, shape, and flavor, with thick walls. A winner.

Garden Calendar:
• Blooming: silver salvia, nicotiana, cosmos, canna, castor, basil
• Harvested: 3 tomatoes, 4 peppers

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