Pepper 'Esmeralda' F1 Hybrid
 
 

Pepper 'Esmeralda' F1 Hybrid - Seed

Capsicum annuum 'Esmeralda F1'  

Delicious taste even when green!

Pepper 'Esmeralda' (Capsicum annuum) is rapid growing and produces enormous fruits with a length of approximately 14 cm! You can pick the fruits when they are still green - 'Esmerelda' peppers ripen early and then turn red. Ultimate height 70 cm. Also ideal for greenhouse cultivation.
 

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Sweet pepper seeds need no prior treatment but steeping them in lukewarm water overnight will encourage germination.

Sowing

Sweet peppers love heat and can be sown indoors from the beginning of March in the greenhouse or mini greenhouse with small pots... or just a simple seed tray.
The mini greenhouse, pots or tray is really the simplest way. Most ideal if you arrange some soil warming. Use a pot filled with fine potting compost and plant only 1 seed per pot. Cover to a max. of 0.5 cm, then sprinkle with water and stand in a sunny windowsill. Depending on temperature, germination will occur within 10 days. Gradually reduce humidity by opening the vents on the mini greenhouse, or pricking holes in the plastic film held in place over the seed tray by bamboo skewers.
Acclimatise the seedlings once they reach 10 cm - remove the lid or plastic for one hour longer each day for 5 days. Then you can pot them up into larger pots.

In warm climates sweet peppers can be sown outdoors, but in areas with less sunshine they should really be sown under glass. If they are to be grown outside choose the warmest and most sheltered spot on your patio or decking.
Sweet peppers are biologically from the same family as Capsicum - they are both different breeds of the same parent species.

Use

You can store sweet peppers in the fridge for a couple of weeks. They also freeze well if first lightly cooked, then cooled and packed in suitable quantities for one meal at a time.
These exotic fruits are very popular in haute cuisine, partly of course to their beautiful colours. Sweet peppers are tastiest when crunchy and a wok is useful for cooking them. Great combined with chopped onions and mushrooms. The coloured peppers are delicious eaten raw in salads and are full of vitamins and minerals! Green ones are nice raw too but they have a stronger taste. Easiest way to prepare them is to cut in half and remove the seeds, then rinse off and slice and or dice.

When there is no longer the risk of frost and night temps are above 12°C, your sweet pepper plants can be planted outdoors but it is advisable to harden them off first to acclimatise them. To do this stand your seedlings in a shady spot for one hour longer every day for a week, they will then be ready to pot up - 3 plants to a large pot. Then either stand the pots in full sun or plant them in the garden in a sunny and sheltered spot. The pepper plants can be planted in a row at 35 cm apart from each other. When the first flower and lateral shoots appear remove them to stimulate the formation of fruit quality. The sweet peppers that are grown outdoors need all their energy into growing upper branches and forming flowers.
These plants generally pollinate themselves but (bumble) bees will help too. The fruits will easily form. Sweet pepper plants thrive with the use of pot plant and flower fertiliser. Those grown in the greenhouse will grow taller and need firm support - a cane will do, or some garden twine or wire attached vertically.
Water well in periods of dry periods and keep the beds weed free to encourage good plant growth.

Harvesting

Once your peppers are forming on the plant, you will see a kind of dark sheen come over the green peppers. This is the start of the colouring and ripening process. You could also harvest them now to encourage new fruit to set and grow. Just cut off with a sharp knife. If you allow them to hang on the plant during good summer weather, the sweet peppers will turn red (or whatever other colour you have). By harvesting the first green peppers you will increase the yield. Expect 3-5 large fruits from outdoor plants. Those grown in the greenhouse can produce as much as 2 or 3 times more.


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