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Bell Peppers in Texas?

 
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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I'm putting together my spring seed order right now and am trying to decide which sweet peppers to get. In the past we always seem to get small peppers when we attempt bell peppers. Last year I planted miniature pepper plants and still have one in the ground and one in a pot that we're experimenting with overwintering. So far both plants were more vigorous and productive than their larger relatives. I'm leaning towards planting only small varieties of sweet peppers this year. Has anyone here ever had great success with bell peppers in a mostly arid 8B climate? If I had a good variety suggestion may I get it just because I know my mother likes when she can get 'grocery store' produce from our own plants. Otherwise she'll have to find satisfaction from the unique varieties we'll have.

Thank you.

Casie
 
pollinator
Posts: 11770
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I've had more success with Banana Peppers.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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That's kinda what I'm expecting. I've seen lots of comments on other gardening sites from Texas gardeners who say they've given up on the large sweet peppers. One jalapeno plant can more than meet my family's needs, but we've trained our girls to eat sweet peppers like candy. I guess I'll try all three small varieties next year.
 
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I'm in Texas 8B, east of Austin.

I had good results from: Lilac Peppers (purple), Purple Beauty peppers, Either Albino Bullnose or white cloud Peppers, Banana peppers, cubanelle peppers (Very late planting and now producing in the greenhouse.), green bullnose peppers (I think), some salvaged Jalapenos which kept producing in pots for me, and Cherry peppers. Cayenne & tiny Thai peppers (greenhouse to keep them away from the sweet ones.) Last year we had some Paprika peppers which grew alright.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/93auty2eu5km9mr/IMG_20151225_124939_741.jpg?dl=0 (A tiny Thai pepper... yeah its small, seeds for this coming year.)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/7lk5ptgxgor00sh/IMG_20151016_140649_292.jpg?dl=0 (Varieties during a harvest)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/de5rva0jbqqz1nb/Seeds.jpg?dl=0 (Order list)

Here is everything I ordered for this next year seed wise. etc. Don't know what peppers will or won't grow well here except the stuff I listed, I usually shop at Baker Creek AKA Rareseeds, they send a nice catalog. They sent me a few extra "gift" seed packets with my order which was nice. I ordered hot pepper too this year and a lot of new stuff I haven't grown yet so read the descriptions on them and see if you want them.

Peppers like HEAT and WATER, lots of both, they also seem to like composed cow pies so I suggest finding someone that grazes cattle and scraping some up.

Unrelated but free press because they sent me some Cascade delight to try. I have more Raspberry root stock, elder berry trees, and a few plants coming from them this year.
http://www.scenichillfarmnursery.com/

Hope its helpful
 
master steward
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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This year our Bell Peppers were bitter tasting.  Was it the variety?

Can someone suggest a variety that is sweet tasting when grown in hot dry weather?
 
Posts: 129
Location: Sierra Blanca, TX
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We thought we would have issues with tomatoes and get bell peppers everywhere. As it turns out, we had a great tomato crop but every bell pepper died. Go figure lol.
 
steward
Posts: 2707
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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I'm not in Texas, and butting in anyway!

I have not been successful growing full sized bell peppers. Over the years, I've ordered many a packet of 'sweet peppers' through the mail. Often they turned out to be mild, read BLAND, in taste. I gave up on finding a sweet bell pepper tasting selection via mail.

The grocery stores in my area carry what they call mini sweets, about the size of jalepenos. I saved the seeds and planted em. Mmmm mmmm! Tastes like sweet bell peppers! They produced many more than my sad bells.
 
Anne Miller
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:The grocery stores in my area carry what they call mini sweets, about the size of jalepenos. I saved the seeds and planted em. Mmmm mmmm! Tastes like sweet bell peppers! They produced many more than my sad bells.



Thanks, I don't think our grocery store even sells bell peppers.  I did a google for mini sweets and found that Burpee's has a listing for a lot of sweet peppers, most are not Bell peppers.  They did have a sweet mini.
I think the only regular size they had listed is California Wonder.

We mostly only want peppers to make stuffed peppers.  DH is the one who thought they were bitter and I agree somewhat. They were ok for my gumbo and chow mein.  Since they were bitter I made "India Relish" and I will see how that went after I use up the prior years batches.
 
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I've tried growing bell peppers in central TX east of Austin.  I got a few racket ball sized bells, at most.  My chocolate bell plants get attacked by pests really bad too, while hot or mild pepper plants don't.

A neighbor of mines that's very well known in Texas organic vegetable growing tells me that our night time temperature is too hot, during the growing season, to grow large peppers.  They rely on the corno di toro, an Italian frying type pepper, as their sweet pepper.  It is kinda long, but not wide.  Maybe it's tough to develop wide peppers in our temperature range?

Last year I grew about a dozen different peppers.  All the small and mid size hot peppers did very well.  I tried the cajun belle for the first time, and it did ok.  It is a very mildly spicy small bell pepper.  The pimento type did decent too, but that another with a little bit of spice.

The largest pepper that did well here this year is an Anaheim type, the Numex Joe E. Parker, I think.   It was 6 to 7 inches long and about 1.5 inches wide.  Again, another not totally in the sweet category.

This year I'm going to try a sweet pepper from Seed Savers Exchange called Apple.  They're 3" long cone shaped sweet peppers.  They have a broader shoulder than a jalopeno.

I also wonder if I don't have enough phosphorous or potassium to match nitrogen levels.  I've read that one of those can affect pepper size.  
 
Posts: 66
Location: Fort Worth, TX 76179
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I actually just bagged up a gallon bag of halved bells and tossed them in the freezer for use in fajitas and chili.

Last year 2018, I grew them from store-bought peppers (red and yellow). This year, I used the seeds from my 2018 harvest and had several that did very well. I'm in the DFW area. I had some competition from a rat but otherwise, the plants stayed loaded. I also grew some thin-skinned Shishitos because they are prolific and sweet, a very good substitute for a bell in most situations.

My shishitos are also in their 3rd year of seed saving and did amazing. I also have a gallon bag I halved and tossed in the freezer today.

The key may just be growing your own strain year after year until it is perfectly acclimated to your region.
 
pollinator
Posts: 473
Location: Central Texas
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I'm in CenTex (outside of Waco), and it seems to vary on the bells from year to year. Typically, though, they give a decent spring crop, lag through July-Aug, then pick back up in fall.
This past spring my mom picked up 2 "Pretty-N-Sweet" peppers from HEB, and those things were covered in peppers all spring/ summer/ fall. The peppers are green, orange, and red on the same plant and can be harvested at any stage. Since I don't know anything about the cultivar; and you never know what plants HEB will sell each year (they may never sell these again, despite the good performance), I ended up pulling up the two plants at my parents' to overwinter, and saved several of the peppers for seeds before that frosty night we got last week. If they live, it may be fun to do a breeding project with them to try to get the hardiness/performance in a larger sized fruit.
I don't eat enough peppers to know enough about the taste of certain types (I mainly cook with them) but, to me, these were just like miniature bell peppers when I cooked with them.
 
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