Sweet Peppers Ripening

nancedar(z7NC)July 5, 2008

I have several sweet pepper plants that should either be red or yellow by now. They are green and solid and plump. The one yellow one is soft and icky. Is there some magic to making sweet peppers color and ripen and be firm that I don't know about?

Nancy

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cronky

Unfortunately, yellow bell peppers can be subject to softening sometimes. There really isn't a secret to ripening up the peppers. Hang in there!

Bryce

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 9:21PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yeah, growing colored peppers - especially the pale colors - is difficult for most home gardeners. Weather is a big factor. You really have to shade and protect them to get them to the colored stage. Some report limited luck ripening off the vine in a brown bag with some ethylene producing fruit but most of us just end up just using them as green peppers. ;)

Dave

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 11:20PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

Nancy, I never had much luck with sweet peppers, either. Sometimes they'd get mushy like you describe, and sometimes they just wouldn't grow to any size---I would take such careful care of the plants and still got just a few of these little dwarf things.

A variety called "Gypsy Hybrid" was recommended to me---it's a pointy-ended pepper, a bit smaller than a standard grocery-store bell, and I did find it fared somewhat better than the bells I had first tried to grow.

But in recent years I've given up and I concentrate on things that give me more success. Hot peppers seem to do just fine for me (maybe because they are smaller?), so I grow those and let the local farmers grow my sweet peppers. I buy them at the farmstand in the fall and in October get a bushel of 'em to make Roasted Red Pepper spread and freeze lots of chunks & strips for use in the winter.

Zabby

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 11:07AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Some pepper types will turn yellow and spoil fast. I usually grow pimento types which are heart shaped and pointed on the bottom, and thick and meaty. They change color from green to very dark green and then deep red. I do not see any yellow transition and if so, they are probably rotting. Pepper plants stop producing at around 85 degrees, so they do not do well in high heat summers. Once the weather cools a little they will pick up again. Sometimes a few sprays of calcium chloride solution (the stuff for end rot on tomatoes) can be sprayed on the pepper foliage late in the day and will help to get some calcium absorbed into the plants foliage and keep peppers from, rotting. If a pepper grows from green to yellow, it wil remain yellow and usually not go to any red color, but maybe orange. Mine usually sit on the plants all summer, until I see some turning red or just rotting. If its the latter, theres not much you can do. Last year, I roasted all of mine, including few that were geen and red blotches. The roasting was doen just to remove the skins and then they were canned whole with most seeds removed. Another spray I use is kelp as its helped my figs, peas, and many other plants grow and produce faster when I spray it on the foliage.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 2:21PM
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nancedar(z7NC)

Following up on my own question - a year later!!!

At the end of the last season I thought I'd experiment with nothing to lose. When the green peppers on the plants were just starting to turn color (red, orange, yellow) I picked them and put in a brown paper bag for a day or two. Voila! Colored peppers and still crisp. The flavor is a little less intense than when they are left to color on the plant but when I make a huge batch of Habanero Gold, it doesn't seem to make a difference since those hot peppers take over the flavor anyway.

See if this works for you too!

Nancy

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 8:53AM
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medcave(8 Tx)

I've always had a hard time growing bell peppers here in Texas so I tried something a bit different this year and the results have been amazing. When the temperatures hit the mid '90s about 6 weeks ago I started getting the usual sun scalding on my peppers. At that point they were still small to medium in size.

I was ready this year though and rolled out dark green sunshades about 7 feet above the entire 15' x 18' plot. The package says it blocks 75% of the sun. Since then, the nighttime temps are bottoming out at about 80 degrees and for the past two weeks the daytime temps have been between 100 and 106.

The peppers are doing great! They filled out and became by far the largest I've ever grown, and many as large as the biggest I've seen in the stores. Besides aiding the growth, I believe the shade fooled the peppers into believing it was later in the season so they started turning colors almost right away. I've had very very few soften on the plants, just a handful damaged by bugs, and no more sun scalding since rolling out the shades.

But the biggest surprise is, even in all this heat, the plants continue to grow and are setting fruit again! I've got little peppers on most of my plants now and it looks like they are all going to set fruit again. Included are several varieties of bells, gypsies, sweet bananas, pimentos, and poblanos.

So contrary to what you read, even on highly respected websites like Texas A&M's, you *can* grow and continue to produce even in the upper 90's and low 100's if you give them midday filtered sunlight.

I'll try to post some photos this weekend for the skeptical. :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 11:00AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Pepper plants stop growing when temps are higher than about 85 degrees. Sunken areas and other larger blemishes may be due to a calcium deficiency. Something similar to blossom end rot on tomatoes. In extreme heat the peppers can spoil before ripening properly

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 12:25PM
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medcave(8 Tx)

I guess my plants are doing all their growing sometime after midnight when the temps start dropping below 85. For the past two months our daytime temps have been at least 90, other than a couple rain days in mid May, and as I said before, over 100 the past 2 weeks...
wunderground.com.

Here's my layout. Note: The shades don't really drop the temperature more than a couple degrees, as measured, but you sure can feel the difference when you step under them.

This banana pepper was a bug-riddled seedling 2 months ago. It didn't even have peppers on it 2 weeks ago...

Here's a gypsy with one about ready to pick and one just starting...

And a bell pepper doing the same thing...

One other interesting note, as I move my hot pepper pots under the shades, within a couple weeks the leaves will get darker to compensate.

I'm off to stuff some bells for dinner! :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:09PM
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medcave(8 Tx)

Oh I forgot. This was last weekend's harvest, with a comparable amount picked this morning, including some golden bells. Yum!

(ok, that's all the bragging I'm going to do... for now) :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:16PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Lucky you! My pepper plants are still just 10 inches tall and nothing has been growing at all in my mud hole of a garden. I think its going to be time to build that big boat soon. The month of June was more like April with well over 10 inches of rain so far. The peppers I am growing this year are supposed to be te pepperoncini type adn with all this cold weather so far, I doubt if I will ever see a single pepper, tomato, cuke, watermelon, or cantaloupe. Almost ready to give up on the garden for this year..

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 8:13PM
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medcave(8 Tx)

I know what you're going through. In 2007 it started raining here in March and didn't stop until September after 45 inches of rain. There were only a handful of days that the temps made it into the 90's, let alone the 100's. I didn't garden that year, but there were volunteer plants and grasses of all sorts everywhere that even the old timers had never recalled seeing before.

Then the rain stopped and we began an 18 month Exceptional Drought (the highest level) where we only had about 10 - 15 inches of rain. It was at the tail end of the drought early this year when I decided to rework my garden to take advantage of runoff from nearby buildings. A month after planting out, the rains came again! Unfortunately, while it was enough for this years garden, the spigot has mostly been shut off again and we are still under drought status.

Such is gardening in Texas. I hope the sun shines for you sooner than later, Ken!

Another Dave

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:24PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Today its warmer and partial sun finally! Still big black clouds and I am waiting for later on to spray my apples with Captan again. They had balck sooty bloch last year and looked very unappetizing. Must also get out to add some fertilizer to my garden. Not sure if or when we see more rain, but yesterday it was torrential. My basement hasn't been flooded yet, as its more sporadic when heavy rain, but if we get any more soon, it will be a lake in my basement.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 3:27PM
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guavalane

Great techniques! I have to remember next year to
1. put shade cloth over pepper plants when it gets hot
2. harvest color peppers 2 days early and store them in paper bags to change color

Nancy and Dave, thank you very much.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 2:23AM
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lmvanc

Now that it's Oct 16 with night-time temps dangerously close to freezing, I'm at a loss on what to do with my peppers. I've got two sweet red pepper varieties (Red Mercury and Marconi Rosso) planted in earth boxes... 6 plants of each. Plants are quite tall and robust, loaded with peppers that have just started showing the faintest hint of red. I've had them covered with a light-weight garden fabric as a frost precaution, but I'm at a loss on harvesting at this point.

To my SW Washington neighbors ... do I pick now and hope they ripen indoors, or leave them on the plants (under the garden fabric) for the next week or so?

In case it matters, my intent for the peppers is to roast on a charcoal grill, peel/seed them, then freeze individually for adding to sauces throughout the winter. [Although after reading rave reviews, I'm tempted to also try BBB's recipe for sweet pepper spread even though that would mean buying roma tomatoes since mine are long-gone at this point.]

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 3:54PM
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tracydr(9b)

They will ripen inside in a paper bag.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 4:29PM
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ltilton

I've made that red pepper relish with regular tomatoes.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 6:05PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Peppers don't tolerate any freezing weather.

You can use them when they are green, and better to use them green than to lose them. They will roast up and freeze just fine

My peppers aren't ripe, either, but they are in 5 gallon pots and most of them are inside the house now, under lights. 8 of them are in the garage, and I hope to keep them alive over winter and get them out and producing peppers next year.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 3:47PM
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