March is when we seed peppers and chilies here in Oregon. We typically plant them in open trays on an electric heat mat to help speed successful germination.
Check out this YouTube video for more tips on our seeding methods for peppers and tomatoes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nvbxchVv_I
Favorite Sweet Peppers:
* Pepper, Lipstick Pimento, Capsicum annum (80 days) A wonderful variety that produces 6-10, 4” long fruits that taper to a point. The flavor of the delectably thick, crunchy walls is quite sweet and works equally well in raw dishes or roasted. Productive even in cooler summer regions.
* Red Ruffled Pimento, Capsicum annum (80 days to red) A medium sized compact bushy plant that has been selected for good anchorage (that means it won’t fall over easily, exposing the fruits to sunburn, not a city in Alaska!). It is an early producer of abundant, thick-walled “cheesewheel” shaped fruits that are about 3-4” in diameter and that turn a deep scarlet red. Plant grows to about 18” high. Sweet crisp fruits are a late summer treat, delicious eaten out of hand.
* Pepper, Gatherer's Gold, Capsicum annum (70-90 days) Bred by Frank Morton, this is a classic long, tapered Italian roasting pepper with bright golden color. Tall vigorous plants are 30" tall and have been selected to resist lodging which significantly reduces the incidence of sunscald on the fruits. Crunchy, thick, sweet, flesh can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Bred and selected by Frank Morton and pledged to the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI)
Favorite Chiliies: Where to start??? There are so many wonderful ones, so here is some standouts:
* Pepper, Cayenne, Aci Sivri , Capsicum annum (80-90 days) This wonderful heirloom strain from Turkey is incredibly prolific, producing up to 50 fruits per plant that are about 5-10” long and typically twisty. Fruits ripen from green to a brilliant shade of red and are larger than traditional cayennes without sacrificing the heat. Excellent for making attractive ristras. Very impressive. Heat can be variable from plant to plant. 10,000-50,000 SHU.
* Pepper, NuMex Big Jim, Capsicum annum (80 days), Developed at New Mexico State University in the 1970s, this chili holds the distinction of the biggest chili ever grown in the Guinness Book of World Records, easily growing up to 12” long. Tall, stocky plants produce 5-10 thick-walled mild fruits that have the heat of an Anaheim chili. Great for roasting or stuffing. 2-4,000 SHU.
* Wenk’s Yellow Hot, (85 days) Capsicum annum , Originally from Albuquerque’s South Valley, where is incorporated into the local cuisine. Grows 24-36” tall. Because these waxy yellow 3” long fruits are very fleshy, they are often used for pickling. They start green and turn from yellow, to bright orange, then red. In terms of spice, this variety produces medium to hot peppers with a full flavor of citrus. Peppers are very hot with a heat that starts mellow and builds and builds. 5-20,000 SHU.
* Aleppo (80-90 days) Capsicum annum, Hailing from Aleppo, Syria, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities (since the 6th century BCE). We are pleased to introduce this heirloom from the old Silk Road and consider our brothers and sisters in Syria whose lives have been disrupted by the civil war there and envision peace prevailing. Although common in the Middle East, its use in the United States outside Armenian, Syrian and Turkish immigrant communities was rare until the 20th century. Typically used dried, its burgundy pods possess a fruity, raisin-like flavor with undertones of cumin. Plants can grow to 4 feet tall, so staking is necessary at times. Fruits are a deep brick red, 4-6” long, with a blunt-lobed tip reminiscent of a bell peppers lobes. 10,000 SHU.