The varieties of peppers and good pepper cultivars to raise and eat are astounding. This is why it is one of my favorite crops to grow propagate. Starting from seed is not recommended for Iowa due to their long growing season. Always plant transplants. I have purchased a wide number of plants from both local and mail order sources. Peppers belong to the night shade family. They will reach their maturity in the fall months.
In my youth, my mom only raised bell peppers in the garden. Due to our rich soil and plentiful sunshine, they did well, not prone to many diseases or animal predation.
Good Pepper Cultivars
As an adult gardener, both sweet and hot varieties peak my curiosity. By and large, the bells have not done well for me. They set late, their production has been limited, and in heat over 92 degrees F blossoms will abort. On the other hand, the cultivar ‘Sweet Banana’ is a consistent winner. It is prolific, mild, tasty, and freezes well. Their walls aren’t as thick as the traditional sweet bells, but their production makes up for that.
Hot varieties and cultivars have also done well. My favorite to raise are habaneros, and I have many friends who will take the peppers off my hands. ‘Hungarian Wax’, ‘Carolina Reapers’, ‘Ghost’ and Jalapeños also do well.
It is not true that deer and rabbits will not eat hot pepper plants. My pests have been equal opportunity eaters, so I treat sweet and hot peppers the same way with a frequent dusting of an animal repellent powder. It works well, unless you forget to re-treat after a rain. Proper fencing will also keep animals out.
Pepper Do’s and Don’ts
Pepper plants love rich soil, plenty of water, and hot weather. However, be careful not to over-fertilize them, for if you do, you’ll have all foliage and no peppers.
Next year I plan to raise some new cultivars. We’ll see what is available in seed catalogs as well as locally, and take it from there. In the meantime, happy pepper eating this autumn!
Learn more about good pepper cultivars, planting, potential problems, harvesting and storage, and pepper hotness in your home garden.