When to pick a pepper?

buck1173June 19, 2008

I'm brand spanking new to pepper growing. I've never picked peppers, never really bought peppers, and I've never seen peppers grow before.

I sowed a whole bunch of plants, and bought a whole bunch of plants. The ones I sowed I marked w/ tags written w/ a sharpie pen - well that faded and now I have a bunch of blank markers.

The ones I bought, I kept the little tag thingies, but they frequently get knocked out of the ground by rabbit traffic and I find them scattered everywhere.

So, I've got about 3 dozen plants and I have only a faint Idea of whats what.

Many are producing fruit right now, and I don't know when to pick.

When should fruit be harvested? does the plant give you a sign that the fruit is mature? other than color?

And are peppers best left to mature on the plant? I've only grown tomatoes before, and I typically pick toms 2-4 days early.

thank you!

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Depends upon what you want to do with the chiles whether to pick them green or let them ripen.

Chilaca, xalapa, poblano and others are used green.

Same chiles, ie pasilla(ripe chilaca), xalapa and ancho(ripe poblano) are also allowed to ripen on the plant and dried for later use.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 8:17AM
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I usually lift up on the stem. If it gives without much force, the pepper is ready to be picked. If it's not giving at all, it's not ready.

Certain peppers tell you when they are ready by color changes or corking.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 11:17AM
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I almost always let peppers ripen on the plant before picking. I'm not sure why people seem to think Jalapenos need to be picked green, I think they actually taste better when they are red and they are close to being as crisp. If you just do a little bit of research you can find out what the final ripe colors are for the peppers you are growing and just pick them when they are as close to the color as you can tell. Often times pepper ripen up a bit more after being picked so you should be able to kind of tell what the ripe color is simply by picking them and giving them a few days to see if they change color.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 1:46PM
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willard, thank you very very much.

booberry, perfect, that is exactly what I was hoping for!

pepper tamer.... perfect advice thank you! I had no idea Jalapenos turn red!!!! I will definitely let them be and see what happens!

I typically do research the plants, however, sadly, peppers (hot & sweet) were an afterthought in my garden this year... I winter sowed them in february and I didn't expect anything to actually come up.

I didn't plan, I didn't make notes, and the BF tossed my seed packets on the ones I started (one was a wash anyhow, it was 'hot pepper mix'). So, I actually don't know what varieties I'm growing (other than I think one of my sweets is a 'california sunshine' or something like that).

The ones I bought are the only kinds I know, I bought 'small ornamental hot' whatever that is, sweet banana, hot banana, jalapeno, and tara or tam tam or something like that (that one lost its tags to a lawn mower apparently).

I have no clue whats going on, and no prior experience to go on.... if I at least knew what I had, I'd be researching, trust me!!!

Oh well, learning for next year!

thank you all very very much!!!!!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 2:26PM
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whoops, forgot about the FAQ section here too... should've read that as well.....

thanks everyone for answering my dumb questions...

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 2:40PM
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All 10 of my Jalapeno plants have a lot of peppers on them but they take a long time to ripen red. Here's a pic of my only red Jalapeno.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 8:18PM
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ray, very neat! thankyou!!!!!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 11:15AM
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That pepper plant looks great. Thick and dark green.

My plants look thinner, and much lighter by comparison.

Does the color of the plant indicate it might be missing nutrients?

I live in Southeast Michigan.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 9:08AM
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I was wondering the same thing. I am finally growing my first pepper INDOORS!! I germinated it myself too - with a feather! I know it sounds funny, but a guy at work told me to try it - and it worked!! Since this is my first time of doing this, I need all the help I can get. I will try to follow all the advice I read on this page. VERY HELPFUL!! One more thing... when will it flower again - since I am in the process of a pepper growing right now?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 4:08PM
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we've grown cayenne in a container indoors in a corner w windows on each side. the plant will be 3 summers old this yr! just started to see buds starting so blooms will be soon. we don't see any after late fall. my guess would be the lighting is off from the windows as we don't use any grow lights. we let the peppers dry on the plant, nice visual. I'll try to remember to get pics this yr. Have orders for 'house plant' cayennes from friends this yr!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:03PM
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Just an update: I do have a new bud coming up now and the pepper that is on the plant isn't finished growing yet. It doesn't look like the bud is getting much nourishment or something because it doesn't look like it will make it. Growing really slow!!! The pepper has been on the plant now for about 2 weeks and growing well. Maybe when I pick it the new bud will grow faster!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 2:52PM
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At what stage should I pick a pickled pepper?

The vinegar is going nicely brown but I am worried that the
jar will get too heavy for the stem.

Muchus Gracias,

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 4:11PM
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