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Quick Garden Tips

  • There are many types of peppers. You can choose from a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and flavors.
  • Plant peppers outside as small plants (called “starts”) in late May to early June or when the soil temperature is at least 55 degrees F and nighttime temperatures are at least 50 degrees F.
  • Give plants plenty of room. Space pepper plants 18 to 24 inches apart.
  • Add an all-purpose fertilizer in the bottom of the planting hole at planting time. Fertilize again around the plant when the first blossoms or tiny peppers appear. Follow directions on the fertilizer container.
  • Taller pepper plants need support. Use stakes, a trellis or a cage.

Season and Location

  • Peppers need at least 6 hours of direct sun each day.
  • Protect pepper plants from cold and wind in the early season by growing them in a structure such as a cold frame or a mini-greenhouse. Some household items can provide protection.

Container Gardening

  • Peppers grow well in containers. Put one plant in a container about 12 inches across and at least 12 inches deep.
  • Choose a container with holes at the bottom so extra water can drain away. Check the soil each day. When dry, add water until it runs out the drain holes.

Key Pests and Diseases

  • Aphids: hose off with water.
  • Blossom end rot: cover the soil around plants with straw or bark mulch and keep soil moisture even.

When to Plant and Harvest Peppers in Oregon

  • Central and Eastern: Plant seeds indoors mid-January through mid-February. Plant mid-April through mid-May to harvest late June through July.
  • Willamette Valley: Plant seeds indoors mid-January through mid-February. Plant mid-April through June to harvest August through mid-September.
  • Coast: Plant seeds indoors in February. Plant in May to harvest in July through August.

3 regions of Oregon showing months to plant and harvest peppers.

Recommended Types to Grow

Choose a type that suits your taste!

  • Bell: Ace Flavorburst Hershey Islander King Crimson Nikita Olympus Purple Beauty
  • Anaheim: Highlander
  • Habanero: Hot Paper Lantern
  • Hot Round: Capperino
  • Hungarian Wax: Hungarian Hot Wax
  • Italian: Bella Italia Carmen Cornito Rosso Stocky Red Roaster
  • Mini-Bell: Petit Marseillais
  • Thai Chile: Bangkok Kilian

When and How to Harvest

  • Harvest peppers when they turn the color you expect and are plump, not wrinkled. Most hot peppers are ready to harvest when they turn red. Harvest jalapenos when they are dark green.
  • To harvest, hold the pepper in your hand. Cut the stem from the plant with clippers or scissors to avoid hurting the plant. Wear gloves when handling hot peppers. Avoid touching your face.

Storage and Cooking

  • Peppers can be eaten raw or cooked. They can add flavor to sauces, salsa, soup, stew, stir-fries and pasta.
  • Whole peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 14 days.
  • For longer storage, peppers can be frozen, pickled, canned or dried.
  • Try this Food Hero recipe: Sautéed Peppers
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