We had an exceptionally hot year this year resulting in far more peppers than we have ever grown before. In preparation for the snow storm we had to harvest all the peppers early since we knew the plants would not survive. The good news is most peppers continue to ripen after they are pulled. This bushel of peppers are called Lipstick peppers. They are a brilliant red when fully ripened and are much sweeter then the standard bell peppers.
These peppers are still edible when they are green. They taste just like a green bell pepper. As the green peppers ripen they can change multiple shades of yellow, orange and red. The longer you wait the more red they become, and the sweeter they are. Keeping them in a cool environment that is warmer than a refrigerator but cooler than standard room temperature will keep their texture longer.
We also grew our personal favorite, sweet banana peppers. They do not ripen off the plant as well as the Lipstick peppers but we successfully managed to save a number of these peppers as well.
The best part of this story is we successfully ate fresh peppers into late October even after a September snow!
Because of our short growing season, there are some plants that will not mature fast enough to produce anything within before the snow comes. Those are the plants we grow inside and transplant outside. Those include herbs, celery, tomatoes, peppers and our newest try, Luffa.
We started the luffa almost 8 weeks in advance because they need well over 200 days of growing season. They grew so big we had to transplant them twice into larger pots. Now they are in quart size containers and in order to acclimate them to outside they get a wagon ride outside and back inside every day.
The tomatoes and peppers are still tiny but after 3-4 weeks they will be ready to go into the ground. Covered in a tunnel of course. Continuing with the plan to extend the season!
There are a lot of seeds in the ground already too. They are starting to pop through the surface! Get a look at the seedlings on the farm’s YouTube Channel:
This year we got an earlier start on our transplants so had to double transplant some of them. Luffa requires almost 300 days of sunlight to get fully ripened Luffa so we started them very early and moved them into 4 inch posts before we transplanted into quart sized pots and then again into their final home.
Since last year’s broccoli was phenomenal having started them early under covered tunnels, we tried it again this year. The broccoli transplants went through 3 winter storms last spring we are expecting at least one this year. It’s been said the chill from a light frost improves the flavor of cabbage family plants. Broccoli is one of them.
Of course we grew basil, tomatoes and pepper transplants. They always take a long time to get to size but once they do, they rapidly produce. At least that has been our experience to date.
We have been hardening off the plants but will not drop them into the ground until we are sure the snow is past us.
This year we planned to grow a variety of peppers for just ourselves but ended up with some to sell as well. We had a red bell pepper, jalapenos, sweet banana peppers and a fantastic super sweet red pepper called Lipstick. It’s the brilliant red one in the upper left corner of the picture. It’s shaped like a giant candy corn. The fun part of growing peppers is watching the array of colors that change through the season. In the picture you can also see the green bell pepper, one turned yellow and one in process of turning red. Even the banana peppers, if not pulled at the peak yellow ripeness will turn shades of orange and then red. They are all edible, just with a slight flavor change.
The jalapeno plants did not bear any fruit this year. Very disappointing and not sure why it happened. Will try again next year and see if we have more success.
We are still not happy with the bell pepper results. In the dry environment the walls of the peppers aren’t as thick as you would hope. We did collect seed from the lipstick pepper and plan to focus on that next year along with the banana peppers. That’s the man of the house favorite pepper.