Growing Peppers

Can you take the heat?

A member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, peppers originate from the Americas and do best in temperatures between 21 and 29 centigrade – so in Scotland take care to choose a sunny, sheltered spot.

How to grow your Peppers

In this section we consider how to get best results when growing peppers (Capsicums) in Scotland.

Difficulty         Fairly easy
Grow in            Pots, growbags, baskets, grow-tables or directly into the ground
Why bother?  Great taste, and you produce chemical free food for the family!

The most difficult part of growing peppers in Scotland is in ensuring sufficiently warm, well-lit, growing conditions. Peppers can tolerate lower temperatures (down to 12 centigrade) but grow best in temperatures between 15 and 20 centigrade.  Although it’s possible to grow them in a warm, sheltered spot outdoors, their requirement for warmth and plenty light means that you will get best results if you can grow them with some protection, such as in a greenhouse or a conservatory. 

Choose your variety

There’s a huge variety of pepper seeds available and many of the packs will have an indicator on them so you can see the heat you’ll get. We’ve included a small selection of the varieities we stock at the foot of this page, and with such a wide range available, getting the variety that’s right for you is key to success!

Seeds or plants?
Seeds should be sown between February and April, although many gardeners choose to begin with a small plant – these are normally available at reputable garden centres from the end of March until late April/early May.
What about colour?

A green pepper is generally an unripe pepper and will eventually turn red when ripe.
You can pick and eat them green, or pick them and let them to ripen off the plant. Alternatively, you can leave them and allow them to ripen on the plant.
The sooner you pick them, the more fruit you will get from the plant, but fruits ripened on the plant (in my opinion!) have a more pleasant taste.
With our relatively short warm summer season in Scotland it’s a bit of a trade-off, depending on your personal taste!

What else do I need?
A good compost is an important starting point. There are good bespoke vegetable composts available, but if you don’t think you’ll use a whole bag of vegetable compost, choose a good-quality multi-purpose compost that you can keep and use for other things.
After flowering, you’ll need to feed regularly and we recommend a good liquid fertiliser such as Miracle-gro or Tomorite.

When are they ready to eat?

Ordinarily you’ll be able to pick your peppers between July and October. Outdoor fruits will tend to be smaller and later.

Too many peppers?
If you’re fortunate enough to have more peppers than you can use, they can be dried, pickled or made into a jam so you can continue to enjoy the benefits of your vegetables during the winter. Some varieties can even be frozen whole.
Did you know?

I can never resist sharing interesting facts, so here’s some things you may not know about peppers:

  • Global production of peppers is over 30million tonnes
  • China is the biggest producer of peppers
  • A pepper has more Vitamin C than an orange
  • Peppers are rich in Vitamin B6
  • Capsicum peppers contain Capsiacin in varying amounts – this is the ingredient that gives the heat
  • The pungency of a pepper is measured on the Scoville Scale
  • Sweet peppers have negligible Capsiacin
  • Jalapeno peppers have 10,000- 100,000 units of heat
  • The hottest peppers are measured to be in excess of 3 million units of heat!
  • Capsiacin is used in modern medicine, as an insecticide and in self-defence pepper spray

Buy your veg here

If you can’t manage in to visit us at Merryhatton, we’re very happy to post out your seeds to you.  Click below to begin shopping.