Lessons Learned from the 2022 Pepper Season

November 16, 2022 | Article Topics:

I’m a little behind schedule with this year’s lessons, but much like the past few seasons, there is always something new to experience when growing peppers. This is the sixth installment of the Lessons Learned series and we’ve got a couple here – one I’ve encountered in the past and one that sort of breaks my heart.

Climate Zone Redux

Just like the 2021 season, my climate, I think has finally solidified a theory I had last year. With the exception of the Mini Olive Rocoto I grew in a pot two years ago, my region just is not conducive to growing these varieties. For the second season in a row I have had excellent looking plants that were healthy, large and packed full of beautiful purple blossoms all year long – ultimately though, the Brown Rocoto plants never produced a single viable pod.

I’m going to assume that the Virginia daytime heat is just too much for the varieties to move much beyond blossoming. I was hoping that, given my garden zone, the cooler evenings and nights would have helped out some, but no such luck. Does that mean I’m giving up on Rocotos? Of course not! I actually have a few on my preliminary list for 2023. There’s always hope that one will produce.

harvested peppers

Chocolate Pods

I’m finding, more and more, that I am increasingly drawn to chocolate peppers. Not only are they striking on the plant amongst the typical reds, yellows and oranges, but I’m finding their flavor is typically more in line with what I personally want – and you can’t beat the searing burn they usually provide as well.

They are evening becoming the varieties I grab first from the freezer in order to make a hot sauce or quick powder blend. I still love the flavor and burn of most peppers I grow, but the chocolate pods are currently demanding more of my attention lately. We’ll see if that persists in the next few seasons.

It’s Over When Mother Nature Says It Is

Try as hard as we might to nurture, feed and protect our pepper plants, there is always an end to the season. This year, Mother Nature saw it fit to close down shop almost a month early. Back in mid-October, my area was hit with an untimely cold snap that included two frosts and a season-busting hard freeze. In years past, I’ve been lucky enough to harvest ripe peppers well into November. Not this year, however as that streak of early cold put an end to that.

And that’s a wrap on this years Lessons Learned. I still have a handful of reviews to publish and the requisite plans for next season on the horizon so be on the lookout.