Hot Fun in the Summertime

Due to some travelling adventures in Latin and South America, I was introduced to chili peppers in the last 10 years or so.

Approaching the use of chili peppers cautiously, I did acquire a taste for them, enjoying their legendary heat as they added a jolt of stimulating flavour to food.

Peppers range from spicy Serrano’s and Thais to Smokey Chipotles and mouth watering Jalapenos.

Growing them in the Yukon in a greenhouse is not as difficult as growing the sweet bell pepper variety. It took us a few seasons to properly grow sweet bell peppers, but the chili or hot pepper varieties seemed easier.

Many people shy away from growing any type of pepper plant, because they attract aphids. If there is one aphid in your greenhouse, it will find the pepper plant.

For this reason, I would recommend growing peppers in pots, so if you should be unfortunate enough to get aphids, the plant can be removed.

Also, it has been suggested that by growing one plant and keeping a very close eye on it, checking the leaves daily, it would serve as an early warning system, indicating there may be a potential problem in the rest of the greenhouse if steps are not taken to prevent aphids from spreading.

Ladybugs are another good solution to an aphid problem. The handy garden mainstays are known to love aphids and, should you get a infestation of the critters, getting ladybugs from your local garden centre will go a long way to get rid of them.

Chili peppers are a shorter-seasoned plant than bell peppers, and while chilies do not grow huge, they are known to be prolific producers.

These peppers like it hot — find the hottest, sunniest spot in the greenhouse and your peppers will thrive there. Hot weather and hot conditions bring on the heat of chili peppers, which prefer drier conditions than the bell variety.

For healthy, productive peppers, mulch around the plants with clear plastic, which warms the soil for these heat-loving plants, and protects against soil-borne fungal diseases transmitted by splashing water.

There are four general categories of peppers:

Bell peppers are considered sweet peppers, although they don’t actually taste sweet until they change colours and become red, orange or yellow.

Hybrid sweet banana types — including sweet banana and sweet savannah — are wonderfully flavourful. These cone-shaped peppers often produce better in our short season than the large-fruited bell peppers.

Mildly hot peppers include Jalapeno, Anaheim and Poblano peppers.

The ultimate in hot peppers include Serrano’s and Cayenne and — the hottest of the hot — Habaneras.

If you still have some space in the greenhouse, don’t overlook growing hot peppers. They are a delight to grow, impart a zesty flavor to any dish and they contain a rich source of Vitamins C, A, and E, as well as potassium and folic acid. They are also incomparable for clearing sinuses and cleansing pores.

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