Friday, September 01, 2017

Fenton Friday: Pepper Report

Today I pulled out several of the pepper plants at the community garden plot to make room for the fall plantings. These plants were care for by our summer interns and had really nice yields. Today, I was even able to pull another 5 pounds fruits off of them before I composted the foliage and stalks.

Here is the report from Mika Park:

This summer, I grew six different types of peppers at the Fenton Community Garden in Silver Spring. I planted the six types on May 31 as seedlings we were sent to trial, and most were expected to be harvested within 80 days. The varieties I planted are hot 'Fish' peppers, hot 'Dragon Roll' peppers, ornamental 'Black Pearl' peppers, sweet 'Mad Hatter' peppers, sweet 'Candy Cane' peppers, sweet 'Lemon Dream' peppers, and sweet 'Gold Standard' peppers.

The hot, heirloom 'Fish' peppers were a bit small, more like 2 inches than the 3 that they are supposed to reach. They were supposed to take 80 days, and at day 82 they were still small. The plant itself did not grow to the 18-24 inches it was supposed to, but rather stopped at about 10 inches. Despite the size, they were relatively spicy, even more so the hot 'Dragon Roll,' which has a scoville rating of 200. They retained their striped cream and green color.

The hot 'Dragon Roll' peppers from Burpee were not as hot as they should have been. However, they grew to the expected size of 3-4 inches. They had some spice at the top near the seeds, but not anywhere near 200 scovilles. The foliage developed beautifully and the plant grew to its intended size. Some peppers turned red and mushy after the 67 day harvest point, but the majority remained green after that point or began to turn red.

The 'Black Pearl' peppers grew beautifully. The peppers developed early on, emerging as a very dark purple color that looked almost black. Some bunches have turned bright red in color as they were ready for harvest at day 85. These are ornamental peppers, because they are ridiculously spicy. They have a scoville rating from 10,000 to 30,000.  I sampled a tiny piece of one and can understand why this is ornamental and not used for cooking.

The sweet 'Mad Hatter' peppers from PanAmericanSeed remained green, with some developing yellow at the top, although they can turn red. They are probably still green because they are ready at 85-90 days and I ended my trial at day 82. Some have started yellowing, but they are all the right size at 2-3 inches. While they are a sweet pepper, this harvest was definitely lacking in flavor.

The sweet 'Candy Cane' peppers from PanAmericanSeed were mainly green and white stripes, and some developed a red tint -- 2 or 3 became a bright red. It was strange that not all of them became red, since the harvest time was relatively shorter, at 60-65 days. They grew to the expected size at 3.5-4 inches, and had a sweet and light flavor.

The 'Lemon Dream' peppers from Burpee mostly remained green, although some turned yellow and orange. This was surprising because they were supposed to be ready for harvest at 70 days, and despite growing to the expected size of three inches. They were very sweet!

Lastly, the 'Golden Standard' peppers from Burpee did not fully turn yellow by the end of my trial. They look reminiscent of yellow and green tie-dye. They do taste sweet. They also did not get to be the expected 5 inches by 5 inches size, and were closer to 4 inches by 4 inches.

How is your edible garden growing this week?

About the auhor: 
Mika Park is a sophomore multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland. This past summer, she was an editorial intern at Washington Gardener Magazine. She was born in Holland and raised in Brooklyn, NY.

About Fenton Friday: 
Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)

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