Pepper - Hot - Portugal Pepper

Avg seeds/pkt 25

Hot Portugal pepper plants are early, long-term producers that make other peppers seem fussy. In my book they have the perfect flavor and heat for the always-useful pepper flakes, and I’ve heard they make an excellent pickle.

Start indoors 8 weeks before your average last frost. Sow seeds 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep in a well-drained seed-starting mix. Keep moist and warm—around 80°F. Plants emerge in 10 to 14 days.

When outdoor temperatures average 65°F or higher, harden off for a week and transplant into well-drained garden soil that has been amended with plenty of aged compost and a granular, low-nitrogen fertilizer. Arrange plants 10 inches apart in groups of 3 to provide shade for roots and fruit in the hot afternoon sun, while the upper leaves receive all of the light needed for proper growth. I find a tomato cage is helpful to support a trio planted around it’s perimeter. Provide consistent water so that soil stays moist below the surface. Side-dress with a granular, low-nitrogen fertilizer after flowers set fruit.

Cut rather than pull the milder, green peppers in 50 days and the hotter, red peppers after 65 days.

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