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How to Grow Chile Peppers

How to Grow Chile Peppers from seed to harvest. Chile peppers can be used in a variety of dishes and are fairly easy to grow.

How to grow peppers

Growing Chili Peppers.  I think the chili peppers are The Hardworking Husband’s favorite thing that we grow in the garden. Last year we ended up with a lot of jalapeños and Anaheims. I canned them, smoked and ground them into chipotle powder. Chili Peppers are fairly easy to grow and each plant produces quite a few.  

Selecting Variety:

If you are wanting to plant non-GMO chili peppers, the varieties to pick from are limited compared to tomatoes.  If you are planting hybrids or other GMO’s, the selection of varieties is wide. Let’s first be clear. Bell peppers and chili peppers are different and shouldn’t be planted near each other. Chile peppers are hot. You will pick the variety according to the spiciness you want. I steer clear of the habaneros. 


Chile peppers can be grown in the ground, raised beds, or containers. The plants will get to be about 12″ – 24″ high. They don’t need to be supported.

Starting seeding inside: Starting seeds early is recommended. Start 8 to 10 weeks before the average last frost. Plant 1 or 2 seeds, 1/4″ deep. If you planted 2 seeds, thin when they are about 2″ tall. Transplant outside when day time temps are in the 70’s and 2 to 4 weeks past last average frost.  Plant with 24″ between each plant.  Space between rows should be 3′. 

Sowing seeds outside: While starting seeds inside is recommended, you can plant the seeds directly in the ground. You will want to plant them when you would be planting the seedlings – daytime temps in the 70’s and 2 to 4 weeks past last average frost. Plant 1 or 2 seeds 24″ apart. Thin when they are 2′ tall if planting 2 seeds.

Water consistently. Plants do well in full sun.


Harvest peppers when they have reached the size according to their variety. For Jalapeños, they will be about 3″ and you can harvest them when they are green or red.  Red jalapeños are hotter. Habaneros are ready to be harvested when they begin to turn orange-red. Anaheims are ready when they have reached about 8″ long and you can pick them when they are red or green. Red anaheims are sweeter. Read your seed packet to know when your variety is ready for harvest.

When harvesting, be careful not to break the pepper. The capsaicin from the interior of the pepper can burn your skin and eyes. When preparing peppers while cooking, I highly recommend using gloves.

Cooking with chile peppers:


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How to grow peppers

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