Friday, February 22, 2013

2013 Peppers

What good would all of those fabulous tomatoes be without a little peppery-goodness to round it all out?
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t had the best luck growing peppers in my yard. I’m not sure what it is, it could be that something that I’m doing stresses them out and stunts their development from an early point, it could be my soil – something in it or lacking or too much, or whatever. I don’t know.  What I do know is that I have historically had very low yields. They blossom and they fruit- just not a whole heckuva lot.
I am a lot of things but scared to try and try again has never been one of them! In that vein I’m adjusting a few things each year that I grow them in the hopes that eventually I’ll stumble on the magic combination and have peppers coming out of my ears.
I’ll talk more about what amendments I’m making to my soil later, that’s a hefty subject that deserves it’s own post. And frankly, more investigation and research from me. Oye!
Anyway, as of right now (and subject to change in the future) I am planning on growing the following peppers this season:

Corno di Toro Rosso
Long 8-inch tapered, bull-horn shaped, red peppers are sweet and spicy. They are great fresh or roasted. Large plants yield well. Among the best peppers you can grow and so delicious. Pure Italian seed. Great for market growers and home gardeners alike.
Leutschauer Paprika

A lovely drying pepper that comes from Matrafured, Hungary. It has been grown there since the 1800s when it was brought from Leutschau (Slovakia). The medium-hot paprikas have great flavor, are terrific for drying, and make a delicious spicy powder. Very rare!
Tam JalapeƱo

A very tasty mild Jalapeno type, with the same delicious flavor, but a lot less heat. Great yields.

Delicious mildly hot flavor, excellent for roasting or frying; good yields of very large chili peppers.
Jimmy Nardello

This fine Italian pepper was grown each year by Giuseppe and Angella Nardiello, at their garden in the village of Ruoti, in Southern Italy. In 1887 they set sail with their one-year-old daughter Anna for a new life in the USA. When they reached these shores, they settled and gardened in Naugatuck, Connecticut, and grew this same pepper that was named for their fourth son Jimmy. This long, thin-skinned frying pepper dries easily and has such a rich flavor that this variety has been placed in "The Ark of Taste" by the Slow Food organization. Ripens a deep red, is very prolific, and does well in most areas.
California Wonder Sweet Bell

The standard bell pepper for many decades, this 1928 introduction is still the largest open-pollinated, heirloom bell you can grow, and a big improvement over the earlier bells. Consistently produces 3" X 4", thick 4-lobed, glossy deep green fruit turning to red of left on the vine. It is excellent for roasting, stuffing, pickling and salsa's.
Hot Mariachi Hybrid
(My one Hybrid)

2006 All-America Winner. Perfect when you want a blast of color but just a hint of heat, the compact 18-24" plants yield loads of 4", coned shaped fruits that change brilliantly from creamy yellow to bright red all summer, yet taste spicy but only mildly hot. Freeze to provide fresh spicy peppers all winter. Early and continuously productive.
I have a few others that I’m playing around with so I may be adding to these. Peppers are a relatively new addition to my garden so I’m still learning what types my family and I prefer, how we want to use them (and thus, how many we need). My goal now is to have plenty to roast and store, plenty to dry and crush, and enough to make lots of salsa. It would be nice to have some left over to just chop and freeze for use in future dinners.
I’ve recently had a 4X7 bed open up that until last month was devoted to just strawberry growing. I finally decided that it was silly to devote that much gardening real estate to a fruit that only produces for just a small part of the growing season. My problem now is in figuring out how I want to change my planning.
It’s a wonderful (and stressful), and delightful problem to have. Did I mention that it’s a full sun bed?

Oh yes it is!


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