How to Grow Hot Peppers with Jalapeno Seeds
If you want to grow jalapeno peppers, you will need to find some jalapeno seeds. You can find them in most gardening stores or online from seed companies. Jalapeno peppers are the most popular of all the varieties of hot peppers.
Jalapeno seeds get their name from the city in Mexico where they originated, Xalapa, Veracruz. They are still an important cash crop in Mexico. Jalapeno peppers range in size from 2 to 3-½ inches and are green or red when they are ripe.
If you like hot peppers that are so strong they make your mouth explode, get some jalapeno seeds and you can grow some of your own. They are the peppers which are used in most types of hot Mexican food. A hot pepper is rated in Scoville units of heat. The jalapeno can be anywhere from 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville units. Just for comparison, a normal sweet green pepper rates at zero and the hottest chile peppers can have a rate of 300,000+ Scoville units.
Jalapeno peppers can cause skin irritations in some people, so if you grow a lot of them or handle jalapenos in great quantity while cooking, you might want to wear vinyl or latex gloves. Jalapeno seeds are started indoors and then either grown in a greenhouse or outside garden. They like very hot and dry weather, which is one of the reasons they grow so well in Mexico.
If you want to plant your jalapeno seeds outside, start them inside in flats or pots in January. Seed starter and compost are used to cover the seeds and they need to be watered well. There should be plenty of ventilation because these types of pepper seeds are susceptible to fungal rots. In fact, you might even need to spray the seedlings with a fungicide. It usually takes anywhere from one week to three weeks for jalapeno seeds to germinate, and sometimes as long as five weeks.
Seedlings need lots of light, from twelve to sixteen hours a day, so once they are in separate containers, find a place to put them that has lots of light. They should have four leaves before being replanted individually. In another two weeks, the jalapeno plants should be large enough to move to a greenhouse or outside. If you transplant them into peat pots, you will be able to plant the peat pots directly into the ground.
Do not plant them outside, however, until all danger of frost has passed. Plant the peppers in full sunlight, which means a minimum of six hours of sun per day. Jalapeno peppers like temperatures in the 80s and 90s in order to produce a good amount of peppers. Plant the peppers sixteen to eighteen inches apart. Fertilize with a standard 10-10-10 fertilizer and/or organic matter. The peppers will also need at least one inch of water per week.
The two most common diseases for jalapeno peppers are anthracnose and blossom end rot. Anthracnose can be seen as sunken spots on the peppers and is usually caused by the peppers sitting on wet soil. Blossom end rot is identified by black spots on the bottom end of the pepper, where the blossom appears. The most common pest among jalapeno peppers is aphids. They can be controlled by beneficial pests, such as ladybugs, and natural insecticides.
You can remove jalapeño seeds from your peppers and use them to plant more peppers next year. Use gloves when you do this so that your skin does not become irritated by the peppers. Dry the seeds and store in a cool, dry place for the winter.