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Jul 30, 2009 01:46 PM

Spanish Peppers

I garden in Tennessee, northern zone 7/southern zone 6. This year I'm having great success with pimientoes de Padron and piquillo peppers, both specialties of northern Spain. I grew them from seed, and the plant are yielding well. (We have had a bit cooler July, with good rainfall.) My first pan of Padrons -- roasted whole in a skillet in a bit of olive oil, then sprinkled with coarse salt -- tasted just as they did when I had them in Santiago de Compostela. Can't wait until the piquillos ripen. I'm writing this to encourage others to try these wonderful peppers at home.

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  1. I SO wanted to do piquillos this year, but didn't start them in time.

    Thanks for the encouragement, though - next year for sure!

    1. Another Piquillo grower here but solid Zone 7 in Northern VA. The peppers are to die for roasted -- the first wave of them are turned red last week and I broiled them in my old gas oven and used them in an omelet.

      I obtained my seeds from New Mexico State University's Chile Institute. I also ordered Pasilla, Mulato, and Sandia seeds from them. I'm also growing Alma Paprikas -- they too are divine roasted. The price was more than fair and the germination rate was excellent. Next year I think I'll try to grow Bhut Joka peppers.

      1. Padrones are one of the few peppers that grow well for me in San Francisco. Unlike many varieties they don't seem to need a lot of warm weather, although they take about 100 days to produce. How long does it take in those warmer climates?

        7 Replies
        1. re: Zeldog

          Anyone try growing the Spanish peppers that are usually pickled? I believe they are called quindillas?

          1. re: markabauman

            Read my response up thread -- the Piquillo peppers I'm growing are the variety used in those pricey jars of Spanish peppers. I'm growing them in Zone 7 in Northern VA and the plants are quite productive. Started the seeds in Mid March and planted in late April using row covers because the nights were too cold this spring.

            1. re: markabauman

              Guindilla is the word for a spicy pepper in Spain (like cayenne--guindilla de ibarra).

            2. re: Zeldog

              I'm growing Padrone's in Vacaville. I bought the plant at nearby Morningsun Herb Farm. Picked my first at least a month ago. I let them grow big and very spicy. It might leave to do with the heat here. 102 degrees a few days ago.

              1. re: Shrinkrap

                Friend of mine went out of town for a couple of weeks and when she came back the 3 padron plants I gave her were loaded with bright red peppers. Very pretty but way too hot for making tapas. I dried a few and used them to add some heat to a batch of pickles.

                1. re: Zeldog

                  Heh. I made a note to myself suggesting that I pickle the really hot Padrons that I know I'll be harvesting in the coming few weeks, which speaks volumes about the state of my brain and the number of peppers I'm expecting to have to preserve rather than cook.

                  1. re: Zeldog

                    Mine are just starting to fruit, had first few this week. Im in Healdsburg. I also discovered you do not need to water them every day ...they seem to like to get starved once in a while. Do they turn red if you leave them on vine.....I always get green ones.

              2. We grew Padrons here in Phoenix this spring and had pretty good success, considering it was our first attempt. The peppers seemed to be at their peak in terms of flavor and mildness when our high temps were between 75 and 90 degrees. Unfortunately, that window was pretty narrow this year, so we got only 3 or 4 batches (from 9 small to medium plants) that lived up to my previous experiences with these peppers. The later batches grown and picked during warmer weather were scorching hot and left us coughing and choking. No mas!

                The plants (all grown in salvaged nursery pots) are still hanging in there; though, they're hardly flowering at all and setting absolutely no fruit. Assuming the plants make it through the next month or so of hot weather, I'm optimistic that come late October and November, we'll be able to enjoy the peppers again.