Red Hot Chili Peppers
05/20/11 5:55PM  Download MP3
Get spicy with The Vermont Garden Journal and Charlie Nardozzi this weekend as red hot chili peppers take center stage. Tune in for tips on growing peppers as Charlie offers some interesting historical tidbits and alternative uses for red hots, Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
When you're planting your vegetables over the next few weeks, don't forget the spice of life, hot peppers. Not only are there a wide range of hot peppers to grow in your garden, many are beautiful as well. The flavors range from mild to hot enough to strip paint. India is even using a native hot pepper variety as an ingredient in an ant-terrorist, tear gas spray! All you'll need are a few plants to get plenty of fruits. Here are some varieties to try.
There are many southwest-type peppers such as serrano, ancho, and anaheim. These peppers are great for grillings, stuffing and making sauces. Jalapenos have a milder flavor and are famous for toppings on pizza and in salsa. Select varieties like 'Early Jalapeno' that produce the most in our cool climate.
Remember the hotness of your pepper depends on variety and weather. A cool, moist, cloudy summer will produce a milder pepper, while a hot, dry, sunny summer will spice up even a tame variety.
Some hot peppers are beautiful to look at. 'Black Pearl' features jet black foliage, purple flowers, and small, red, hot tasting fruits. 'Numex Twilight' has upright standing, hot pepper fruits that start out purple colored, but ripen to yellow, orange, and red, just like a sunset.
For the super hot flavor lover that wants the taste to last beyond one hot minute, try the habaneros. The traditional variety produces crinkled, Chinese lantern-looking orange fruits. Newer varieties feature yellow or red colored peppers. Habaneros are more sensitive to our cool summers, so grow them in containers to give the plants the heat they crave. 'Hot Paper Lantern' is a good variety for the north since it matures quickly.
Now for this week's tip, it's time to support your peonies. With all the rain lately, herbaceous peonies are growing strong. Place grow through supports over plants or wrap chicken wire around them now so the flowers won't flop later.
Next week on (my garden journal) the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about ahh choo, flower allergies. For now, I'll be seeing you in the garden!