Cayenne Peppers 101

First cayenne peppers

One of the earliest successes we had in the garden was the cayenne peppers. Of course, we cheated just a little bit and bought six plants as seedlings. We put three directly into the ground, one into a large pot and we experimentally tried two plants in a straw bale. While those in the straw bale managed to stay alive they failed to thrive and started turning yellow. Eventually they looked so sick that I pulled them out and planted them in the ground. After a little bit of nursing they are now doing very well.

The plants grew easily and the one in the pot flowered very quickly. In hindsight, I would have pinched off those early flowers. Once flowering, all other growth ceased and it is now only a third of the size of the other plants which were slower to flower. Consequently it’s also produced less fruit.

The cayenne peppers got to their full size quite quickly, but it took at least another two months for them to start turning red.  It took some patience to leave them there, but our first taste of a green pepper lacked any sort of heat so we were determined to give them some time to spice up.

Eventually we had some ripened red peppers and a good sized bite left me with tears in my eyes.

ready to harvest

We love spicy food, so these peppers will be used all year around. At this stage I have over 80 peppers drying in the kitchen and another couple of dozen have been pickled. We still have plenty left on the plants, so I suspect we are going to have to grind some dried peppers into flakes and give them away to anyone who enjoys spicy food.

drying cayenne peppers

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