From bell peppers to chili peppers, peppers have become a staple in many cuisines around the world. While some of them can make even a grown person teary eyed and feel like their mouth is on fire, jalapenos are often thought of as the perfect hot pepper for many recipes.
Having a spiciness intensity that measure between 2,500 and 10,000 Scoville units, they are a perfect balance for people who cannot take hotter pepper varieties. They are a favorite of chefs across the globe, as well.
Jalapeno peppers add the perfect amount of spice to most of the Mexican dishes we have come to love. They are definitely an integral part of what makes up the flavorful spiciness in most salsas and chili recipes.
Jalapenos, originally from Mexico are now cultivated worldwide due to their high demand. While you might not be an expert gardener, jalapeno peppers may end up being your favorite crop.
Jalapeno peppers can be grown in a pot or container on your porch or in a garden bed. Peppers are perennial plants that most people treat as an annual.
But if you have a greenhouse or can move them indoors in the cold weather, they will produce year after year. If you live in zones 9 – 11 you can leave them in the garden and they will overwinter just fine.
Growing and caring for jalapeno peppers can be time-consuming, and you can fail if things aren’t done properly. Once you have mastered the art of growing peppers you’ll be thrilled with the harvest they can produce.
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Are jalapenos healthy?
Jalapenos provide certain health benefits if you can handle consuming the spicy fruits in the right amounts. The active component in jalapenos – capsaicin, is believed to open up blood vessels and be very effective for reducing aches and pains caused by arthritis.
Here are some tips and guidelines to help you succeed in caring for jalapeno peppers.
How to Jalapeno Peppers
Preparing Jalapeno Peppers for Indoors or Outdoor Cultivation
It is important to note that, peppers are self germinating plants that can grow either indoors or outdoors. Similarly, you could sow the seedlings in a pot and then transplant them into your garden.
The trick is to nurture them with the right amount of warmth for the soil and light for them to sprout. Never subject your peppers or seedlings to frost like temperatures.
Materials to Grow Jalapeno Peppers
To start your jalapenos off from seeds, you’ll need
1. Jalapeno seeds
2. Good Seed Starting Medium – must be moist and at a warm temperature
3. Water – constant supply
4. Area with abundant sunlight, should be exposed to at least 10 hours of light or grow lights
5. Heat mat
6. Seed growing cells, or cardboard egg carton to plant in
How to plant jalapenos
You want to start the seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last expected frost date in your area.
Fill your seed cells with the seed starting mix.
Add a couple seeds per cell, then press the seed down about 1/4 inch.
I’m a big fan of watering seeds from the bottom. It helps prevent disease.
To bottom water, you will put your seed cells into a tray and add water to the tray. The soil will pull up the amount of water needed.
The video above is great to show you how to start jalapeno seeds. The video is about habanero peppers, but it is exactly the same for jalapenos.
Keep the seeds dark until you see the first sprout, then keep them under grow lights for up to 16 hours a day.
Germination may take up to 14-16 days.
Transplanting Jalapeno Seedlings
Once the last frost has passed and the soil has warmed up you can begin to get your seedlings ready to plant outdoors.
The first thing you’ll need to do is what is referred to as “harden off”. This process keeps them from being shocked or becoming sunburnt when you transplant them.
To harden off your seedlings you’ll want to move them outdoors in the shade and away from much wind for 30 minutes to an hour on the first day, increasing the time and exposure to wind and sun slowly over about a 7 day period. On the last day you can leave them out overnight.
Once they have become acclimated to the outdoors, it is safe to transplant them.
Peppers like soil with a ph of 6.5 and for it to be well-drained.
Dig a hole a couple inches deep. When you take the pepper plant out of the plant cell, make sure the pepper plant is level in the ground and you want to plant this transplant as deep as the first small leaves on the pepper plant.
Be sure to water the plant in well.
How to Care For Jalapenos
Pepper plants need a lot of care and attention as they mature. These tips could help your jalapenos bloom into perfection.
Peppers love hot weather around 90 degrees, and full sun. Be sure to plant them in an area that will provide them with these needs.
Fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks to help provide the needed nutrients.
Be sure to keep weeds away from your peppers as they can draw water away from the roots causing the plant to be in distress. When a jalapeno plant is in distress, the peppers will be hotter.
Jalapenos, like any other variety of chili peppers are prone to pest infestation at every stage of growth.
The most common pests likely to attack the plants are the pepper weevil (mainly in southern states), caterpillars, aphids, beetles, and worms. Spray your plants at the first sign of trouble with a cold pressed neem oil solution to take care of any pests.
Each jalapenos plant can produce up to 25-30 fruits per season.
Ripe jalapenos ready for harvest have a bright sheen, they are firm, fat, and between 4 to 6 inches long.
Jalapenos are ripe when they are green, although leaving a jalapeno on the plant longer gives it time to turn red, which can cause it to be hotter, yet sweeter than the green jalapeno.
To get a red jalapeno pepper be prepared to wait about 150 days.
To harvest your jalapenos don’t pull or twist them as it can damage the branches. Either use a knife or scissors, or you can hold the branch and pull the pepper upward, it should pop off with no issues that way.
Growing jalapenos isn’t hard and it can be very rewarding. Jalapenos are always a must to grow in our garden each year. Do you have any experience in growing them? Please share any tips you have with us in the comments below.