Frequent harvesting encourages the plant to produce more peppers.

How to Grow Pepperoncini

by Jenny Harrington

Pepperoncinis spice up your garden with lime-green peppers that are perfect for pickling. These hot yet slightly sweet Italian peppers grow up to 6 inches long. They thrive in the frost-free days of summer and produce the first harvest in as few as 75 days after transplanting. Pepperoncinis harvested at their green stage are used fresh or pickled, while those left to mature until red have a bit more kick. Grow pepperoncinis in a well-drained, full-sun location.

1 Loosen the soil in the bed to a 6-inch depth with a spade. Spread 2 inches of compost and 5 ounces of 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 fertilizer over every 10 square feet of soil. Work the compost and fertilizer into the top 6 inches of loosened soil. Wear gloves when working with the soil and amendments.

2 Plant the pepperoncini seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart in rows set 24 inches apart. Plant the seedlings at the same depth as they were growing in their nursery containers.

3 Water the seedlings immediately after planting until the soil is moist to a 6-inch depth and settled around the plant roots. Spread a 2-inch--thick layer of straw mulch over the top of the soil to prevent weeds and retain soil moisture.

4 Irrigate pepperoncinis about once weekly, supplying 1 to 2 inches of moisture from rain or irrigation per week.

5 Feed the peppers with a 10-10-10 fertiler when they begin to form fruit. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the fertilizer around each pepper plant, 6 inches from the stem. Water following application so the fertilizer seeps into the soil.

6 Pick the pepperoncinis when the peppers reach at least 5 inches long and the fruits are firm. Select only peppers that develop a bright green or red color. Cut through the pepper stem with shears. Avoid pulling the pepper because pulling can damage the plant.

Items you will need

  • Spade
  • Compost
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Straw mulch
  • Shears

Tips

  • Monitor pepper plants for aphids, which can damage foliage and spread disease. Spray the small, pear-shaped insects with a ready-to-use insecticidal soap every three days for a total of five applications to destroy the pests.
  • Get a head start on the growing season by starting pepperoncini seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last expected frost in your area.

Warning

  • Pepperoncinis contain capsicum oil, which can irritate the skin, mouth and eyes. Wear gloves when handling the peppers.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images