Most of us are raised "meat and potatoes" people. If we see something green on our…
If you’re looking for some delicious variety in your vegetable garden, it’s time to grow jalapenos. Homegrown jalapenos for old-fashioned pickles and other recipes are so much more satisfying than buying store-bought jalapenos. Growing jalapenos isn’t tricky at all. As long as you provide it with healthy soil, plenty of sunlight, and sufficient water, your jalapeno plant will thrive, giving lots of hot, plump jalapenos for harvest!
Though growing jalapenos doesn’t involve many technicalities, there are some things you should know before getting started. Continue reading, and you’ll learn how to grow jalapenos in your garden.
How Long Do Jalapenos Take To Grow
Now, there are two ways you can grow jalapenos. You can either start them from seeds or purchase seedlings from the nursery. Seeds are much cheaper than transplants but require additional time to germinate and develop as seedlings before they are ready to be planted in the garden. Jalapeno seeds take 10 to 14 days to germinate. You can save time by purchasing young plants from the nursery and planting them in the garden directly.
When grown from transplants, jalapenos typically take between 2 to 3 months to start bearing fruits. The fruits continue to ripen until frost kills the plants. If you grow them from seeds, you’ll have to wait around 80 to 100 days before harvesting jalapenos.
How To Grow Jalapenos Indoors
Expert gardeners recommend starting jalapenos indoors. This will give them a headstart on the season when the outdoor conditions are still not ideal for planting jalapenos. Not only that, but growing them in seedling trays indoors gives seeds the perfect atmosphere to germinate and grow into healthy seedlings, well protected from the outdoor elements.
Jalapeno seeds are typically sown indoors in seedling trays 8 to 10 weeks before the last expected spring frost. Fill the tray with light, rich, moistened potting mix or seed starting mix before planting the seeds. Place one or two seeds above the soil in the center of each unit on the tray and lightly cover with soil.
Growing Jalapenos Temperature
Temperature is critical for the germination of jalapeno seeds. They won’t sprout if it’s not warm enough. Place the tray over a heat mat or in a warm location and ensure that the soil temperature is between 70°F and 80°F.
Spray the soil with water frequently and lightly to ensure optimal moisture throughout the germination phase. Once the seeds sprout into seedlings, you’ll need to relocate the tray where there’s ample lighting. You can either place it next to a sunny window where they receive at least 8 hours of sunlight each day. If they’re not getting enough outdoor sunlight, you may have to supplement with artificial lighting to prevent spindly growth. Plenty of light is essential for developing healthy jalapeno plants. Replant jalapenos into larger pots once they are around 2 inches tall.
If the conditions are optimal indoors and you don’t have outdoor growing space, you can continue growing jalapenos indoors. However, you’ll need to transplant them into bigger pots as they grow larger. A sunny balcony is also a good spot for growing jalapenos indoors. Ideally, though, it’s best to transplant seedlings into the outdoor garden once all dangers of frost have passed. When transplanted outdoors after the last spring frost, jalapenos receive the ideal sunlight and temperatures to produce a good harvest.
How To Plant Jalapenos Outdoors
Once all dangers of frost have passed, and nighttime temperatures are at least 60°F, jalapenos are ready to be transplanted into the garden. The planting site should be prepared well in advance before transplanting jalapenos in the garden. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Amend the soil with compost a week before transplanting. Start to harden off the plants at least 10 days before you plan on transplanting them into the garden.
Plant the seedlings in the garden bed, spaced at least 14 inches apart. Water deeply right after planting. Alternatively, you can also grow jalapenos in containers. Grow a single jalapeno plant in a 5-gallon bucket. Fill the bucket with high-quality potting mix and moisten it before planting. Place the pot somewhere the plant can receive at least 8 hours of full sunlight.
How To Care For Jalapeno Plants
Besides planting, jalapeno plants also require some maintenance during the growing season to produce well. Here are some things you need to take care of to produce a hefty harvest:
Watering Jalapeno Plants
Jalapenos need regular watering, especially during hot, dry spells. At the same time, be careful not to overwater. Allow the top one or two inches of soil to dry out before offering water.
Jalapenos grow best in warm conditions and need a temperature between 65°F and 80°F to produce well. If the temperatures rise above 90°F, the plants will start dropping flowers, and you won’t get an abundant harvest.
Sidedress the plants with compost or well-rotted manure as soon as the plants start flowering. You can also offer fish fertilizer.
Certain varieties will grow large and heavy and will require support to keep them from drooping. Install a stake in the ground next to each plant at the time of planting. Tomato cages also work well for supporting jalapenos.
Keep the area well weeded, so the jalapeno plants have ample nutrients and moisture without any competition. Pick the weeds carefully, taking care not to disturb the roots of jalapeno plants. Mulching the soil around the plants will also keep the weeds down. Organic mulches like shredded leaves and grass clippings also give additional benefits of conserving soil moisture and enriching the soil with nutrients over time.
When To Harvest Jalapenos
Once the fruit turns dark green, smooth, and shiny, they’re ready to be picked. Darkened portions of the fruit are also an indication that the fruit is ripe. It will start turning red if left longer on the vine. You can let them turn red before picking the fruits or harvest them green. Green jalapenos keep for longer and are no less hot than red ones.
Other than an exciting taste, jalapenos are also rich in nutrients. They are low on calories and packed with vitamins, fibers, antioxidants, and important minerals. The vegetable is especially high in Vitamin C and Vitamin B6, both vital nutrients for your body.
Vitamin C keeps your skin healthy, manages high blood pressure, and improves the body’s defenses against chronic diseases. At the same time, Vitamin B6 improves your brain health, reduces risks of heart diseases, and supports your immune system. Since jalapenos boost your metabolism, it’s also a good addition to your diet if you’re looking for weight loss.
Jalapeno Recipes – Jalapeno Poppers
Once you have an abundant harvest of fresh, homegrown jalapenos, there are a lot of interesting ideas you can try. Pickled jalapenos may be the first thing that comes to mind. You can prepare jars of pickled jalapenos and use them for burgers, pizzas, and nachos for a spicy burst to your weekend dinners.
If you want to try out something different, bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers won’t fail to impress you!
- Jalapeno Popper – Recipe
They make an excellent party snack and are super easy to make! You won’t require too many ingredients – jalapenos, of course, being the star of the dish.
- 12 medium-sized jalapenos (3 to 4 inches long each)
- 12 bacon slices
- 18 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- ½ tsp salt
- a ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp onion powder
- Cooking oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Layer a baking tray with aluminum foil and brush the surface with oil.
- Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, and onion powder in a bowl to prepare the filling for jalapenos.
- Slice jalapenos in half and remove the seeds and ribs from them.
- Fill the jalapenos with cream cheese filling.
- Cut the bacon slices in half and wrap the half bacon slices around the jalapeno halves. Secure them in place using a toothpick.
- Set the jalapenos out on the baking tray.
- Put the tray in the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes or until bacon is nicely crisped.
- Serve right away with your favorite dipping sauce!
How to Grow Jalapenos Plants – Conclusion
Now that you know how to grow jalapenos don’t miss the planting dates. Depending on your growing zone, find out the date on which your last spring frost occurs and plant jalapenos accordingly. As long as they get the ideal climate and some care, you can have lots of beautiful, tangy jalapenos to add a burst of flavors to your recipes. Now that you have your harvest, watch this for a simple pickling trick.