Hot chili peppers will grow in spite of the care or non-care they receive. Nothing could be easier in the garden. Whether your taste runs to the very hot habanera, mild banana pepper, or the cayenne or jalapeño in between, these peppers like hot soil and do not need much water to produce a crop.
Any of these hot to mild peppers are perfect for pot culture. Even the tiny ornamental peppers used in the landscape can add zing to ordinary dishes.
A 2010 All America Selections Winner pepper called ‘Cajun belle’ turned out to be a real champion in my garden, too. It is much smaller than a traditional bell pepper but has the shape, so it will be easier to stuff than a jalapeño.
These smallish (2" wide by 3" long) bell shaped peppers are mildly hot. They can be a stand-in for any recipe calling for hot peppers. The plants themselves are small, only growing to about 2 feet tall and wide, making them perfect for containers or the front of a garden bed.
Just like the much larger bells, these peppers can be picked at any stage, from green to orange to red. If you allow them to ripen to the red stage, they have the sweet taste of a ripe bell pepper along with the tongue tingle of the jalapeno.
Peppers are hot weather lovers. Bell peppers can take most of the summer to grow into large stuffer types, so starting the seeds early indoors is a good idea, especially in short summer areas of the country. The more prolific hot peppers also demand warm soil and hot weather to set crops. The earlier you get them growing, the more peppers you will have to pick.
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By Kate Karam, Monrovia,
Photos courtesy of
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