Growing Jalapeno Pepper
in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens
( Capsicum Annum )
Jalapeno peppers are the most commonly grown of the hot peppers here in Florida. The compact bushes range from 18-30 inches in hieght and produce loads of dark green peppers that mature to a bright red. Easy to grow and hot enough for chili heat lovers to enjoy without killing the rest of us, Jalapenos have a very distinct taste that adds a tremendous amount of heat and flavor to any culinary creation.
Foliage, Origins, and Use of Jalapeno Pepper for Northeast Florida vegetable gardens:
Jalapeno is an Heirloom pepper selection that has been passed down from one generation of adoring fans to the next.
Make your own Hot pepper vinegar with green Jalapeno peppers fresh from your own garden’s harvest. Slice and add to salads or ‘stir fry’ to add a bit of heat and flavor to your dish! Jalapeno salsa is a classic Mexican condiment and great for a spicy treat. Jalapeno peppers are often roasted and peeled, sliced and pickled, and even stuffed battered and fried with a variety of stuffings. Their unique flavor makes them a very versatile pepper.
Planting Season for Jalapeno Peppers in Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida and the surrounding areas:
Jalapeno peppers can be planted as soon as the weather warms in spring. Late February to early March through April and again in July an August. Peppers are considered a warm season crop, they are frost sensitive and should only be planted in frost free months in Northeast Florida vegetable gardens, or placed on a porch or patio to keep the frost off during the winter season.
Start your peppers in February from seed and March from S & J Nursery transplants. Growing season for Jalapeno peppers in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden is February to July.
Sun Exposure for Growing Jalapeno Peppers in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens:
Jalapeno peppers can be planted into a full sun but I find they do best in sun with a bit of afternoon shade in the Northeast Florida, Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens.
Soil Preferences for Jalapeno Peppers in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida areas:
Jalapeno peppers will do best in the Northeast Florida garden when grown in soils that have been generously amended with compost.
Be sure to plant into well drained soils.
Care of Jalapeno Pepper Plants in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Watering Your Jalapeno Peppers:
Newly planted Jalapeno peppers will require watering daily for the first few days to a week after being planted from seed or transplanted from an S & J Nursery container.
Once the Jalapeno pepper plants are established and growing, be sure to keep the soil moist by watering at least once per week if rainfall is scarce, when plants are bearing fruits, start watering twice a week.
Mulching Your Jalapeno Pepper Plants:
For maximum growth potential, mulch plants generously, this will help conserve moisture.
Fertilizing Your Jalapeno Peppers:
Feed every two to three weeks with an all purpose fertilizer like 6-6-6.
Or for an organic approach, try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed (kelp) at one ounce each per gallon of water. Apply semi weekly as a foliar spray.
If your pepper plants look like they could use a boost, give them a good watering with homemade compost tea as soon as the top few inches of soil around your plant is dry to the touch!
Harvesting Your Jalapeno Peppers in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Jalapeno Peppers can be harvested when skins are still green or once they have ripened to the mature red peppers. Some say the red peppers develop more flavor, but I find them to be so much hotter I can’t tell if they have more flavor! Remember to wash your hands several times with water and soap to remove the oils from the pepper after handling, especially when cutting peppers open to harvest the seeds. Remember, these peppers are hot and handle them with care. Keep those hands away from you’re face and eyes!