Balr14
Full Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:36 am
Location: Germantown, WI

When to pick peppers and other related questions?

I have several Earth Boxes I was given about 5 years ago that I decided to try to use to grow vegetables. I planted tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in my Earth Boxes. As I have no previous experience with growing anything, I planted way too many in each box and didn't give them enough sunlight. When I figured this out, I moved the box with peppers to a better location and removed several plants to thin them out a bit. But, there were already quite a few peppers growing and getting stunted due to lack of room, etc. There are still about 8 pepper plants in one Earth Box. They are hanging over all the sides.

I planted my Earth Box with small pepper plants purchased from the local discount garden center chain store. They were terribily mislabled or someone had a lot of fun switching labels. I was basically looking for conventional bell peppers of different colors. That's not what I got at all. OK. so here's my questions:

I've got yellow banana shaped peppers, about 6' - 8" long and 1" - 1 1/2" inches around. I've heard these are banana peppers and they will get some orange or red color. But, it's been weeks and they are still greenish yellow. They don't taste bad, a little bit of bite. Should I pick them or leave them alone?

I've got some small deep red peppers that are about 1 1/2" around. They ripen from deep green to deep red. I left a couple of them that were deep red for a week or two before picking them. They tasted like crap. Very bitter. Did I still pick them too soon?

I have some bell peppers that are on the small side and turn a very dark purple (almost black) on the outside but are green inside. I picked a couple of these because they started to feel soft (like they had thin walls). They too were bitter. Too soon?

I have a whole lot of green peppers of various sizes but they appear to be the bell peppers I thought I was buying. Some are quite large, like store size. I haven't picked any yet because I don't want them to be bitter. Is there any good way to tell when to pick them?

Thanks for your help.

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Roger
Senior Member
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:52 am
Location: North Georgia

Most peppers taste better, in my personal opinion, when they are slightly immature, before they begin changing colors. When they get to the color changing stage, you run the risk of the pepper getting thin walls; bitter taste; too much pith & seeds; and too soft.

I would pick the banana peppers now, at the 6 to 8 inch stage. Or let them grow just a little bit larger, but not too much. I personally don't care for the taste of sweet peppers once they begin changing colors.

Regarding the peppers that went from green to red/purple ; you mentioned you let them remain on the bush a couple of weeks once they reached red; this was too long, I think. Usually the color change stage is the signal to pick the pepper now; they will ripen a little more past that, but they shift from mature to over-ripe very quickly, sometimes within just a couple of days. The very bitter taste is a result of being over-ripe.

The bell peppers; pick them once they reach a nice size and still have a solid, firm feel to them when you lightly squeeze them. You can actually pick them as small as you like; they seldom have an off taste when immature; rather the off tastes develop when they are too old, not too young. I would pick one of your larger ones, fist sized or larger that still has a nice deep green color. I'll bet you will be pleased with the taste.

Balr14
Full Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:36 am
Location: Germantown, WI

Hey, thanks. I don't know what to expect, so I wait weeks too long to see if anything is changing before I pick them. I didn't know that's what makes them bitter.

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