General Information About Our peppers

Peppers are classified in the Genus Capsicum. The Capsicum Genus contains 5 domesticated species, annuum, baccatum, chinense, frutescens and pubescens. Check out the post Five Major Pepper Species, to see what species of pepper you might have. For example all Habaneroes are in the C. chinense species, while all Jalapeños fall under the C. annuum.

To keep it simple you may also classify peppers as simply the bells, sweet, hot and ornamental. Sweet peppers have a Scoville Unit rating of 10 to approximately 300, while hot peppers go from 400 to 1,000,000 or more. Ornamental peppers are normally shorter and can be placed in smaller containers. Orny’s can be sweet or mildly hot but all of these beauties are absolutely edible and delicious. As peppers change from green to yellow, orange, or red, both their flavor and their vitamin content increases quite a bit.  By growing an assortment of peppers, you can have slightly spicy peppers for fresh salsas, mild-meaty peppers for salads or stir-fries  and hot peppers for all the hot-heads in your family. When choosing varieties, include a range of both flavors and fruit sizes. Even people who say they don’t really like peppers often change their minds once they have tasted a fully ripened, home-grown organic pepper.

Pepper Origins

Hot Chilli peppers are native to South and Central America while Black Pepper (as in “pass me the pepper please.”) is native to India.  The familiar black pepper is classified as Piper nigrum. It is an entirely different plant than Capsicum sp. of our concern. The name Capsicum comes from the Greek kapto, to bite, an allusion to the hot, biting taste of the fruits. Chilli peppers were introduced to South Asia in the 1500s. Chillies were readily incorporated into local South Asian cuisines perhaps because people were already familiar with pungent and spicy black pepper. More specifically, black pepper is native to the Western Ghats of Kerala State, India, where it still occurs wild in the mountains. This area is thought to be the center of origin for the crop because the diversity of cultivated forms are greatest there. It spread from India to Southeast Asia as cuttings brought by Hindu colonists migrating from India to Indonesia and other countries. Pepper has been one of the most ancient commodities of the spice trade, together with ginger.

Growing Pepper Plants

Peppers generally take 60 to 90 days to harvest from seed. Different pepper take different periods of time to germinate. For example, some hot varieties can take 2 weeks longer than bell peppers to germinate. Generally speaking pepper plants are a snap to grow. They can take rain with very little problems so the rain guard is not a must. Some vascular wilts, tobacco mosaic virus and fungal problems can befall pepper plants. Plants that look frail and stringy may be infected with viruses, which are spread by aphids and other small insects… even people. Try not to let people that smoke fondle or pick your peppers if they are important, delicate hot varieties. Believe it or not, the very common virus that causes tobacco mosaic, will infect bell peppers. The infamous virus survives the cigarette manufacturing processes.

Below: Our pepper categories from hot to sweet, ornamental & edible