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Are You Still Harvesting Peppers After the Freeze? You Could Be.

Peppers are one of the strongest plants in the garden. They want to survive and produce. And they do.

Two inch seedlings can sit and wait two months for the right conditions to grow. Then they quickly grow into bushy 3 to 6 feet plants depending on the variety.

Even seedlings planted in the “not-so-great” parts of the garden, give it their all and produce fruit.

If conditions are not right for producing fruit, they’ll keep growing until conditions ARE right. When that happens they produce dozens of peppers so heavy they’d break the plant apart without stakes for support.

These peppers were produced in only one month. Seven stakes give support. Click picture to enlarge.

Finally, what I wait for all season: red peppers!

Sweet red peppers can last for weeks if held in a cool spot. Above, the smaller deep red peppers are Stocky Red Roasters. (They’re the sweetest this year.).The larger ones that haven’t completely finished turning red are Corno di Toro or Marconi.

When frost is expected I’ll harvest almost all that are beginning to turn red and a few large green peppers for good measure. Then I’ll cover plants with row cover cloth to extend the season.

Usually we’ll have nice weather for another month, with an occasional night at 30 to 32 degrees.

This year rather than a first frost, we had a 28 degree freeze. Of course that wilted the leaves and plants no longer looked beautiful.

The amazing thing is the peppers are always fine. They stay firm and crisp AND they continue to mature to red peppers for weeks until another severe freeze finishes them.

Peppers still firm and crisp days even weeks after the freeze.  Click picture to enlarge.

 

This red pepper turned red almost a week after the freeze. It was perfect. Marconi is the variety.

Final Thoughts

Imagine a plant maturing dozens of quality fruits even when the vegetation is wilted from a freeze.

I should be eating sweet red peppers into December and nothing makes me happier.

Sweet red peppers. Typical bell shaped peppers are Buran. The smaller ones are Stocky Red Roasters.

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Related Posts:

Peppers – Eating Fresh from the Garden Through December

Peppers – It Ain’t Necessarily So

Peppers – Lush Growth – No Fruit and Other Problems

Growing Peppers – Ideas to Consider for This Season

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10 comments to Are You Still Harvesting Peppers After the Freeze? You Could Be.

  • Ray Kent

    Very interesting. I’ve always pulled peppers after first wilt but I now have my new experiment for next year.

    Thanks once again Theresa

    Ray Kent

  • Steve Gillaspie

    Me too,
    Theresa I have always assumed all those baby peppers just died after a heavy enough frost to kill the leaves. I will just need to see what happens as well. I have maybe cut the plant down prematurely and lost the potential for hundreds of peppers. What gives? No one has ever mentioned this that I recall. You are a genius.

    Hope your Thanksgiving was great.
    Steve

  • Theresa

    Ray, when you experiment next year, keep in mind that you will loose some of the peppers to each freeze. Just discard those and keep your eyes on the ones that are great.

    If you cover them with row cover cloth (or whatever) for the first freeze (and keep them covered) you’ll end up with more peppers in the long haul. But even without a cover you’ll still get good ones.

    Again, I harvested a few today. There were 3 peppers on an extended branch — 2 had succumbed to the freeze last night and 1 (which had been protected by the other 2) was just perfect. That’s just an example of what can happen.

    Steve, I loved your comment. I sure wish I were a genius, but unfortunately you have to substitute the word “hungry” instead of “genius”.

    My guess is the reason you’ve never seen this information is because the folks out there writing have never been hungry enough to find that out. Same thing with the various things I’ve written about how to keep lettuce eatable in the heat.

    Although I never liked poverty, Bill and I experienced it for more than 20 years. I owe almost all my garden knowledge to that poverty. When you’re hungry and have nothing, you learn a lot about what you can do.

    And I have to say before ending, comments are my favorite parts of posting! Without doubt I have the best readers in the entire world!

    A BIG HUG to EACH of YOU!!
    Theresa

  • Patricia

    Envious! How wonderful to have fresh peppers at this time of year. Amazing. I am curious about those stakes, Theresa. It looks like you are using 2-3 per plant. Is that right? Also, how are they supporting the plant? It doesn’t look like you are using ties but rather pulling parts through the stake holes. The peppers I grew a while ago never got to be over 2ft tall and they didn’t need stakes. However, these peppers look SO good that I’d like to see how we could grow them sometime.

  • Theresa

    The plant in the picture has 7 stakes!!
    I use old stockings cut in strips to tie them to the stakes. They are mainly tied when they begin to grow. After that I just support the heavy branches and tie if needed.
    Theresa

  • Toni Melvin

    That is simply amazing that you still have peppers!
    I will try that next year for sure.
    My peppers this year succumbed to some kind of disease, while the starts I gave my friend Trish, that I also started from seed produced such gigantic, succulent, sweet, and flavorful peppers. I am beginning to think I should let the professionals grow my food 🙂
    My climate starts raining with virtually NO sunshine in late October and the sun doesn’t peak back out til July. It looks like the plants just turn to mush.
    It warms my heart to see such beautiful plants in your photos.

  • Don Rutherford

    Theresa

    I live in Michigan where it is quite colder than where you are, but I just ate the last of my peppers last week. Liz loves what she calls stuffed peppers, but they are just seeded and deveined Jalapenos cut in half lengthwise and stuffed with cheese. I boil the peppers first to soften them up a little and then microwave until the cheese melts.

    They are great for PuPu’s (Hawaiian) for apetitizers.

    Love Don

  • Theresa

    Don, those peppers sound delicious! Do the Jalapenos loose some of that extreme heat when they’re cooked?
    If they stay real hot I might have to try that recipe with another pepper that’s not hot.
    Thanks Don. And tell Liz I said hello.
    Theresa

  • Abby Stein

    Harvest all of mine before the freeze and put them in mesh bags. They will ripen just hanging. When they eventually start to dry out, they are put in the fridge, still the mesh bag. Have some there now, still ripening. Get enough ripe ones to put in salads until the end of December.

  • Mary Keip

    We wrap our stuffed jalepeno peppers with bacon out here in Central Texas ; )
    And yes they are still hot and you will lose some of the cheese –
    Thanks Theresa for the pepper suggestion. I have left mine in the ground and so far so good-just wish they weren’t all the hot variety

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