The first peppers to form on my “roulette” pepper plants were obviously bell peppers. These will eventually ripen to a gorgeous bright orange.
Last season I grew sweet orange bell peppers, and sweet Italian peppers. I collected seeds from both and included them in a giveaway mid-winter. Unfortunately, I lost track of which seeds were which, so I described the giveaway as “roulette.” I told participants they might receive orange bell pepper seeds, they might receive sweet Italian pepper seeds, or they might receive some combination of both.
I faced the same uncertainty, so I started a whole lot of pepper seeds. As the plants matured in my garden, I saw lots of bell peppers form. Then, finally, I spotted longer horn-shaped peppers on several of my plants.
The good news for people who got pepper seeds in my giveaway: You very well could have some of each type! I hope you do; I find both varieties special.
Only in the past week did I notice some of my pepper plants sporting elongated fruits that clearly will grow into sweet Italian peppers. These will become bright red and deliciously sweet.
And the hot chili peppers
Last season, my son visited his girlfriend’s family and returned with a string of dried peppers sent by his girlfriend’s father. About all I know about those peppers is that they’re supposed to be hot.
I started four seeds, and all made it into a windowsill-style planter on my deck rail. Those plants have gone crazy and have just produced my first fully ripe peppers of the season. The plants look more as though they were bred to be ornamental; they hold dozens of tiny fruits that should make quite a display once they turn red.
In the meantime, I’ll harvest the red ones in the next week or two and use them to season a curried bean dish I love to serve as a side or as a main course. The dish usually gets heat from beriberi, a hot spice mix I believe originates from Africa.
I maintain it’s risky to rely on peppers to add seasoning heat to a dish; from a single pepper plant you can harvest five-alarm hot peppers right alongside milktoast sweet peppers. That’s OK. Cooking with your own homegrown produce ought to be a bit of an adventure.
I’m seriously looking forward to harvesting my first ripe sweet peppers.
Upon learning of my gardening fervor, my son’s girlfriend’s father sent me a string of dried hot peppers. I’ve grown out four seeds and one of the plants is already producing ripe chilies. These plants will be stunning when most of the peppers are ripe.