Peppers – Almost an Extra Month of Red Ones

Ever since I can remember I’ve harvested my vegetables almost daily to keep them producing and increase the harvest. I guess that was one of the reasons I gardened for many years before finding out that virtually all peppers turn red when they’re mature.  It’s been so long I don’t remember the details, but I guess finally I read something in one of the seed catalogs that finally clued me in.

In past years these long Carmen Peppers would have been picked at this stage.  I thought then — that this was the mature stage. I didn’t know that virutally all green peppers will turn red and be even more delicious.

Even after learning that fact, I had a hard time getting red peppers.  I grew mainly bell peppers and banana peppers and if I left them on the vine long enough for them to turn red, something started eating on them — or they would rot. (I found out later that one possible cause for the rot was an insect that laid its eggs on the blossom and they hatch and developed inside the pepper.)

Then I met a friend who seemed to always have an abundance of red peppers.  From him, I learned that with certain varieties you can get red peppers sooner.  He was good enough to share some seed with me and I grew the same two unnamed varieties that he grew — a sheepnose and a large, long pepper.

Sheepnose variety grown from my friend’s seed.

Green bell peppers are still a must-have in my garden, but I’ve become a red pepper fanatic. Although I’ve progressed from having no red peppers to having 4 or 5 red peppers a day —– I WANT MORE!  I want enough red peppers to freeze for the winter as well as to eat daily. And I want them even earlier in the season.

How to Get that Extra Month of Red Peppers

The majority of peppers take about 100 or more days to mature. By finding varieties that mature in 65 to 75 days you can add almost a full month more of red peppers to your season.

In the interest of time (life is short) I wanted a pepper that was not only early, but had already been tried and proven true.  So I did a little searching.

As a result of that – here are the 5 main varieties of peppers I’m growing this year.

#1 – Ace is said to be the first pepper to turn red in almost any garden, ripening in 65 to 70 days!  It is a medium-sized pepper that does well even in cool weather. The only thing I found that was a negative for me — was it’s thin walled.  But still — I’m trying it just to get an early red pepper.

#2 – Lipstick is considered by many to be THE most delicious sweet pepper.  From the description – I can see why: heavy, thick, juicy and sweet and ripening to a rich red.  I’ve already got these seedlings up and running.  The seed germinated better for me than any pepper seed I’ve ever had. (Lipstick is available at Diane’s Seeds and Gurney.) (Matures in 70 to 73 days.)

#3 – Jupiter Bell is an heirloom from Annie Heirloom Seeds that I want to grow because it’s a typical green bell pepper that ripens early. It might be my imagination, but I think bell peppers have a unique flavor that other green peppers don’t quite capture. (Matures in 70 days.)

Bell Pepper

#4 – Last year I grew a hybrid called Carmen.  We really enjoyed it and consider it one of the best and sweetest peppers we’ve ever had. I couldn’t resist saving the seed although I know it’s a hybrid and will not produce peppers that are identical to what I had last year.  Nonetheless, I will be anxious to see what comes. If its offsprings are not close, I’ll end up buying seed again next year.

Carmen Peppers ripening in abundance.

#5 – After growing Sheepnose pimento peppers, I’d never want to be without it.  So it’s on my list again for this year.

Sheepnose pimento variety of pepper.

Final Thoughts

Red peppers are almost like a different vegetable than green peppers.  They’re sweeter, have twice the amount of Vitamin C, are high in Vitamin A and potassium and low in calories.  They’re great sliced or diced; in salads, stir-frys or roasted.

And almost as importantly to me, they’re beautiful ornaments for my garden.

A variety of Sheepnose peppers


Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and a lot healthier.


Related posts:

Peppers – Can’t Get Red Ones? Here’s how.


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  • My experiences exactly! Waiting and waiting as the pepper turns slowly red, then finally just as it looks perfect…. discovering the circle of rot. I could still use most of the pepper, but it was annoying.
    I just read today that if you try to harden off peppers, eggplant and squash in the same way as tomatoes, they will have lower crop yields due to slow down in growth. Do you wait to put your peppers out much later, or are you hoping to get them out fairly soon? Oh, and is there still time to start seeds, or is it too late?
    This is another value added post, Theresa. Much appreciated once again.

  • Sandra, I think we must be on the same wave length. I was working on a post when your comment came through that will address your comment: “just read today that if you try to harden off peppers, eggplant and squash in the same way as tomatoes, they will have lower crop yields due to slow down in growth.” So rather than answer here — I’ll put the post up within a few days. (Here’s the post)

    I plan to put peppers out in May sometime. And yes, there is still time to start peppers. They are warm weather crops so you have time.

    Sure glad you found the post helpful. I had two other people email me and tell they felt that way too. Funny, because when I put the post up I wondered if anyone would find it interesting. Appreciate your telling me, Sandra.

  • I have found that when a pepper turns red it signals the plant that it doesn’t need to keep producing as much. To counter this, earlier in the season I wait until a pepper shows a little red before picking it. It continues ripening to full red once it has started, even on the kitchen counter. Later in the season, when any new fruit would be caught by frost before ripening anyway, I let the peppers fully ripen on the bush.

  • I also love the sheepnose, so sweet, but haven’t been able to get the seed the last few years. After seeing your picture, I know I am going to be doing an internet search for them today.

  • I want to address your comment on “signaling the plant that it doesn’t need to keep producing as much” in a brief post. I have a different way of dealing with this and I think it will be helpful for people to know your way and mine. Hope to get it up quickly.
    Thanks for commenting GardenDmpls — especially on such an important point.

  • Hi Theresa,

    I’m very interested to know how your new varieties did for you last year.

    Are you growing any of those varieties again this year?

    We have an abundance of green bell peppers & my son’s favorite Jalepeno.

    Thanks. So much good information!

  • I’m not sure what new varieties you are speaking of Betty. I usually try a few new things each year.
    But thus far my favorites are Carmen, Corno Di Toro, Sheep nose and California Wonder.

  • Thanks Theresa,

    I’m trying to fine tune my “want list” seed order & wanted some tried & true, good producing red peppers.

    Being in Virginia also, my peppers should produce well if they were successful in your garden.

    Your posts are so helpful & really take out the guesswork.


  • Joey, I’ve grown out peppers from the seeds saved from the hybrid Carmen. When you grow plants from the seeds of a hybrid you could get most any result: sometimes good; sometime bad. My results were good, but not as good as the “real” Carmen pepper.

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