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Feb 11, 2011 11:07 AM

jalapenos are never spicy or even close too spicy

I am a novice gardner .. (only 3 gardens so far) .. For the most part and by my standards I ended up with a decent outcome each year. The only thing that is disturbing me, is my jalapeno's are not even close to being hot , they pretty much just taste like a green pepper. First year i didnt think much , but after 3 attempts I am concernd

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  1. What variety are you growing and did you grow the same variety in all 3 gardens? Did you grow sweets as well and did you seed save? Where are you located?

    I've found that different varieties of jalapenos can produce slightly different levels of heat and and differences in flavor. Hot peppers and bell peppers can cross pollinate so if you were growing them near each other and are seed saving, that can have an impact on the flavor and heat of subsequent plants grown from those seeds. Location can have an effect too, not only where you live and the length of your growing season but where your garden is located on your property, the amount of sun, even the soil composition. I grow a few jalapenos because they are not as spicy as other hot peppers to begin with (we're not big on heat but like the flavor) and lots of Zavory peppers (jalapeno flavor, little to no heat) and have noticed that the jalapenos definitely do better in large pots (where I can mix the soil to be optimum for them) than they do when grown in the actual garden. It also allows me to grow them a good distance away from the sweet peppers so the possibility of cross pollination is lessened.

    6 Replies
    1. re: morwen

      They were 3 different types of jalapenos.. I am not even sure on what they were called.. I am located in North East Pittsburgh.. not sure what you mean by seed save... I did have different pepers all 3 times near

      1. re: Augie6

        Seed saving is done with heritage or open pollinated varieties of vegetables. You take a ripe good looking specimen, open it and dry and save the seeds for next year's garden. It can't be done with hybrids because the seed from those is likely to revert back to one of the parent plants and you don't really know what you'll get from it the next year in terms of quality and habit. Since you're obviously not seed saving, planting spicy peppers near sweet peppers didn't really matter.

        Pittsburgh has not exactly a short growing season, but is pushing it a little for length of time for heat loving plants and I know from spending a lot of time outside the city that some summer nights can get downright cold. You didn't say if you were starting your own plants from seed or not, but if you are you should start them indoors in early March so they get a good bit of growth on them before planting in the garden. Plant them out when night time temps are pushing 60F at a minimum. Peppers, like tomatoes, need warm nights for optimal growth. If you are starting your seeds directly in the garden they may not have a long enough growing season. If you are buying transplants I personally prefer buying from a local nursery and not a Home Depot or WalMart type place. Local nurseries are more likely to sell varieties that do well in your area. Plus the people at the nurseries are knowledgeable about how things grow in your area and may be better able to answer your questions more specifically. But again, plant nursery transplants out when the nights have warmed up to near 60F.

        Also note that jalapenos are spiciest when picked green. As they mature into the fully ripe red stage they become less aggressive heat-wise and more sweet. The best way to find which variety suits you is to keep track of the names. You could plant a couple of plants of 2-3 different ones separated by variety in different spots around your garden and then decide by heat and flavor which one you prefer.

        1. re: morwen

          All good points.

          Peppers need heat to get hot. Also, stressing them a little helps as well. Don't over fertilize and definitely don't over water them. The capsaicin production is a defense mechanism by the plant AFAIK so if the plant is fat and happy it's not going to produce peppers that are as hot because it doesn't need to. Ignore them a bit and they'll reward you with hotter peppers.

        2. re: Augie6

          Cross pollination in peppers affects only the seeds. Since a material part of the heat of peppers comes from the seeds, cross pollination can affect the first generation as well as the subsequent generation. Consequently, for maximum heat keep varieties with different heat levels widely separate. One wimpy jalapeno variety could reduce the heat from a hotter variety and vice versa if they are planted nearby. Peppers come in several species with varying degrees of ability to cross pollinate. Unless you are prepared to dig into what can pollinate what, keep your jalapenos away from other peppers.

          I suspect that the main problem is as noted elsewhere in this thread. Northern gardeners often have problems with peppers because of low soil and air temperatures. Containers warm up more than garden soil and so are particularly useful for heat loving plants such as peppers, eggplant and okra. Some other tricks for raising garden soil temperatures are to cover the planting area with clear plastic as soon as the soil is workable in the spring and replace with black plastic mulch when the transplants go in. Clear plastic is more effective than black plastic at raising soil temperature but is also very good at germinating weed seeds. Planting still needs to be done based on minimum night temperatures, but warmer soil will give peppers a nice early boost.

          Reefmonkey is on target about limiting water and fertilizer if you want heat.

          1. re: Augie6

            North East Pittsburgh! Honey, my advice is to move to Texas where I am from where we get 95 deg temps during the day for several months straight and nights never dip below 70 deg. Most people I know hate our summers for this reason and so do most garden vegetables. But the benefit is being able to grow the hottest peppers one can stomach!

            1. re: molcajete mike

              Mike, It is very tempting offer... since 45 is a hot wave over the last couple months

        3. Interesting. I've found all the jalapenos I've grown to be much spicier than any I've ever purchased.

          3 Replies
          1. re: invinotheresverde

            It might of been the varities of peper.. plus the growing conditions were not very suitable.. this growing season , I plan on being more ready

            I apprecitate all the help -- having your own vegitables are a awesome feeling

            1. re: Augie6

              Just make sure you are not planting variations on the TAM Jalapenos, whether you start with seedlings or seeds- those have indeed been bred to be mild. Or you could play it safe and just plant Serranos. Best of luck.

              1. re: TongoRad

                The funny thing is TongoRad, I am actually not that big of a fan of Jalapenos.. I prefer most other hot pepper.. (bannana , habenero, etc) I think its more of a accomplishment thing to get hot jalps lol

          2. You may be watering them too much, and your soil may be too enriched. Jalapenos are at their spiciest, but have smaller pods, in poor soils with hot, dry conditions. Once you set pods, you should thoroughly water, then let the soil get really dry - even let the pods almost wilt, before thoroughly watering them again.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Reefmonkey


              The way I've learned over the years...the poorer the soil, the hotter the peppers. Stress is the key.

              I'm still harvesting peppers planted last year and boy are they HOT

            2. Actually, I'm having the same problem.. I bought 3 varieties namely, Caribbean hab, Malaysian goronong (a hab family) and aji lemon..

              All bore fruits but they were NEVER spicy.. Not at all. If anything, they were sourish and tasted off. They formed very well on the plant, staying green but never ripening to their colour.

              My Malaysian goronong would form to full size and the stem would turn yellow and rot, dropping the fruit. It's to note that all plants are productive, just not spicy and ripening on the vine.

              I've left the plnts to wilt slightly before my watering cycle but no changes were noted.

              FYI I stay in malaysia. Climàte is fully tropical with temp is 92f by noon and arnd 78 at night

              I, as a last resort have cropped the plants and repotted them.

              Any help is greatly appreciated


              1. There is a variety called "TAM Jalapeño" which is much milder than the usual cultivar, but it is unlikely you got that by accident. I usually grow the variety "Early Jalapeño" in containers, and they are plenty hot enough for me.