Garden: Time to start your pepper plants!

Pepper is one of the most economical vegetables to grow. With proper planing and timing, you can harvest peppers for 4-5 months out of your own garden, and you can preserve the excess peppers by freeze or pickle them.

February is time to start your pepper plants. Select varieties you like and pick the early kinds. The following is a few varieties I grew last year (see blog titled "Battle of the Pepper Field"):

1. Estella Pepper: The Estella Pepper is a bullhorn shaped one that is mild when young and develop more pungent taste when matured more. It is ideal for Chili Relleno. The pepper is a lot like Anaheim pepper with one distinct benefit-the skins are a lot easier to come off when charred. I also used this pepper a lot in my salsas. It is a extreme early maturing variety and was ready to harvest before any others and lasted until early December.

2. Sweet Eda Bell Pepper: This is an early maturing bell pepper. The peppers are very meaty and sweet. A good tasting pepper. The plant doesn't get very tall, and is sturdy and robust. It sets fruit easy and has high yield.

3. Jalapeno Pepper: I started this one from seeds in Feb. I thought the small pepper may be maturing earlier, but it didn't. The plant is 50% taller than the Sweet Eda and peppers matured after both the Estella and Sweet Eda. However, it was well worth the wait. I got tons of jalapeno peppers and they have this sweet taste on top of the hotness. I made many many snacks of jalapeno poppers and they were ALWAYS popular.

4. Yellow Banana Peppers: This is a bullhorn shaped pepper but is not hot. Plant is very productive, maturing later the Estella. I made a lot of pickles with this one and I also used them for salsa to add flavor and bulk.

5. Super Hot: This is a super hot pepper, super productive, early maturing. Grow waives of peppers like cloud. The peppers are milder when young and get VERY HOT when old. I couldn't eat the red ones, and I consider myself have good tolerant for heat in food. I got a good recipe from Kim, my Korean friend, of stir fried super hot with anchovies... it was mouth watering good and also burns coming and going....

That't all the peppers I grew last year. I think now I should go get the seeds in the pots so I can have peppers again this year!

Spring is right around the corner, so happy gardening!

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