Hamilton College Community Farm

Plant: Peppers

Family: Nightshades

Seed Varieties:
Sweet Bell Variety
  • King of the North - This is a standard green-to-red variety that grows well in central New York, and produces delicious, well-formed peppers.
Frying Variety
  • New Mexico Joe Parker Anneheim - These frying peppers reach three to five inches, and can be used while still green, or can be used when they turn red. They have a mild flavor and can be used for stuffing in addition to frying, and to add flavor to dishes.
Hot Variety
  • Jalapenòs - Reaching one to two inches long, these can be used when they are still green, or once they have turned red. Typical hot flavor, which intensifies when they turn red, or very dark green, nearly black.
Indoor Start Date and Cell size:

Sweet Peppers - 4/11 and 4/25 in open 200s.

Hot Peppers - 4/11 in open 200s

Greenhouse Transplant Date and Cell size:

Sweet peppers - 5/16 and 5/30 in 24s

Hot Peppers - 5/16 in 24s

Outdoor Transplant Date and Bed Specifications:

Sweet Peppers - 6/6 and 6/20

Hot Peppers- 6/6
Peppers will not tolerate frost so do not plant if it is unseasonably cool. Plant all peppers one foot apart with three rows per bed.

Plant Needs and Cultivation Techniques:

Peppers thrive in hot weather, and can become stunted if the early summer is cool. They are heavy feeders, and well-drained, fertile soil is crucial. In addition, peppers need to be watered very carefully. A uniform, ample supply of water over the whole summer is necessary for the proper development of the fruit. If the plants do not receive enough water, or if its application is uneven, they will bear stunted fruit, or possibly not fruit at all. As always, cultivation is important, although pepper plants do a good job of shading out weeds as they grow. Use a collinear or stirrup hoe for cultivation early on.

Pests and Pest Control:

The most common problem for peppers is the blight that infests all nightshades. If the blight is noticed on a plant, remove it immediately and keep an eye out for signs of blight on other plants. Spraying with a neehm oil, baking soda, and water solution sometimes helps prevent the blight. Watering carefully so water does not splash from the ground where disease may be is also a good precaution. Another problem is bacterial leaf spot, which can be prevented with a copper solution.

Harvest Techniques:

Sweet peppers can be harvested green or red. Wait until they are of appropriate size or have turned the desired red, and then carefully cut the stem with the red-handled harvesting sheers, being careful not to cut the stalk of the plant, or damage the pepper. For hot peppers, wait until they are of size, and cut them carefully. Jalapen~os can be harvested when green, dark green, or red.


After harvesting, wash off any dirt from the peppers. Peppers can be refrigerated in a perforated plastic bag for up to a week after harvesting, but then should be chopped and frozen or preserved in some other way.


For wholesale, sell all peppers at $1.50 per pound. For retail, sell sweet peppers at $1.00 each, and hot peppers at three for $1.00