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Jun 29, 2013 09:37 AM

When to pick jalapenos?

So this is my first year of growing actual food other than herbs. I'm just doing jalapenos and red bell peppers in pots. My jalapeno plant has 3 peppers on it so far (yay!), and one of the peppers is about the size of my index finger. It's not as big as the ones I get at the supermarket. My question is, when to pick it? Is there a certain way to tell, or do I just pick it when I feel like it?

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  1. Basically pick it when you feel like it. The older it gets, the hotter it will be. Will eventually start turning red if that is what you want. As with any vegetable, the more you pick, the more it will produce, but my jalapenos plants have always been very prolific. Enjoy!

    2 Replies
    1. re: MrsJonesey

      Thanks! I'll probably give it another week to let it get a bit bigger. There's tons of buds on the plant (And it's only less than 2 feet tall still!) so I think I'm in for a lot of jalapenos.

      1. re: MrsJonesey

        Yep, I concur. That is the great thing about chile peppers. You can use them as they mature at various stages of the process.

      2. You can pick them whenever. I'd pick them small to spur flower production. By September, you should have dozens.

        1. So I picked 2 of the jalapenos, leaving the 1 smallest one to keep growing. Well, now it's turned red (overnight!) Should I just pick it? It's still really small, maybe only an inch or so long. Pictures of the other two I picked are attached, this red one is a bit smaller than the smaller one in the photo.

          4 Replies
          1. re: juliejulez

            I would go ahead and pick it. I don't think it will grow any more now that it's turned red but I could be wrong about that. Nonetheless, picking it will encourage your plant to produce more.

            1. re: MrsJonesey

              I went ahead and picked it. My larger one (that was still small) that I picked a few days ago started to turn red while sitting on the counter so I chopped it up and threw it in a marinade. I'm hoping this plant will produce bigger better peppers soon :)

              1. re: juliejulez

                I wonder if your peppers are getting enough sun. They should get a minimum of 6 hours of sun each day. If you think this may be an issue and you can't move the pots to a better location, you could experiment with covering the soil with aluminum foil. I've never tried this, but I vaguely remember reading to do this. It should crank up the heat and sunshine going to the plant a bit. Another thing that might be an issue is that plants in pots need to be fed more often than plants in the ground. The water leeches the nutrients out of the soil more quickly. I think the general consensus is to feed more lightly but more often. How are your bell peppers doing?

                1. re: MrsJonesey

                  Oh they get tons of sun... pretty much all day, I have them in pots on the south side of the house, and there are no houses to the south and west. I do move them to my front porch when there are thunderstorms with heavy rain because I worry the rain will damage them or will cause them to have too much water, but otherwise they are getting tons of sun. I haven't fed them anything so maybe that would help. The bell peppers seem to be doing pretty good, they're green right now and growing quickly, there's 3 on the plant right now. This is my first year growing anything other than herbs so I'm not really sure what to expect.

          2. Heard this on NPR... "You Bet Your Garden"... about peppers. They can be perennials. Where I am (in NJ), outside, in the ground... TOAST after first frost. But they can be brought indoors... with a nice sunny location will continue to bloom and produce. Apparently, in WARM climates, will grow to become "bushes" or small "trees"!?!

            2 Replies
            1. re: kseiverd

              Just down the road in coastal MD. gonns try to over-winter my peppers in raised beds, heavy much & fabric covering.
              Worth a try

              1. re: kseiverd

                It's true. Most years I dig up and overwinter a few peppers inside, they can produce a ton of peppers the second year. This past winter I overwintered this 7 Pod Brain Strain and it was about 3' by 3' by the end of May (as seen in the picture). I planted it in a 15-gallon pot and it got to about 6' x 5' and produced around 250-300 peppers.

                C. Pubescens varieties like rocotos and manzanos can REALLY get big in mild climates that don't freeze (e.g. San Diego).

                If you have a productive plant that you really like you can overwinter it and around the beginning of the year you can make a bunch of clones from it to plant out the following year too.

                As for when to pick jalapenos...I know it's a little late now, but if I'm going to use them green I like to wait until they have some black color and they've started to cork. If you pick them immature they won't have much flavor or heat. I like them best fully red though.

              2. Jalepeno motto: If they're red, go-ahead!

                Actually I picked both red and green jalepenos yesterday from the same plant. I like the color contrast.