Once considered special occasion vegetables, peppers now occupy a visible spot in the average American mainstream diet.
American fresh pepper preferences continue on a consumption upward trend. In 1980, Per Capita pepper consumption rate stood at 6 pounds/person, split almost evenly between bell peppers and chile peppers.
By 2011 American per capita pepper consumption reached the rate of 16.4 pounds/person, with bell peppers (9.8 pounds/person consumed) ranking slightly higher than chile pepper preferences (6.6 pounds/person consumed).
Organic Management Peppers
Chile peppers are a popular vegetable in many back yard gardens around the United States.
Selecting the proper seeds starts the growing process. Generally speaking, some seeds grow better in the arid Southwest while others grow better in the more humid Southeast.
Indoor Seed Germination Tip: Recommended indoor seed germination temperatures vary according to a few general rules such as seed strain choice and climactic conditions. Suggested seed germination temperatures often presented in a range between 70oF and 80oF.
1c raw chopped hot green chili pepper: 181.9 mg Vitamin C
Men 19+: 90 mg/day suggested
Women 19+: 75 mg/day suggested
In colder climates, night time temperatures need to be over 65o F in order for flowering (and subsequent fruiting) to occur.
Five Tips for Chile Pepper Growers:
- Plants generally require a four month growing cycle to complete fruiting. In norther climates with a shorter growing season, starting the seedlings indoors provides a good jump start to the season.
- Optimal soil pH for chile plants hovers in the 6.5 range.
- Chile plants thrive in healthy soil, and adding well prepared compost to garden soil increases soil health.
- Plant chile seedlings when the average daytime temperature hovers in the 70o F range.
- Consistent watering of the plants, when the top layers of soil become dried, and staying alert for plant pests represents the most effective chile pest prevention strategy. The link in to box to the article covering Organic Management Peppers provides additional details on the subject.
Organic Tip: Like many other branching garden plants, such as tomatoes, applications of organic fertilizer for chile plants follows a general, three part rule of thumb coinciding with the plant's three stages of development, vegetation, stem and branch development, flowering and fruiting.
A nitrogen rich nutrient environment promotes vigorous growth in vegetating chile plants. Additions of phosphorus helps stem and branch development. Upon flowering, a potassium rich nutrient aides fruit development.
© 2007-2012 Patricia A. Michaels