Pepper seeds might just be the second most popular seed crop next to tomatoes! This diverse plant group enchants growers with its wide range of shapes, colors, and heat intensities amongst different varieties. Part of the Solanaceae family, peppers enjoy many of the same cultural planting methods as tomatoes and should be a staple in your warm-season garden. The level of spiciness or heat in a pepper is defined in units of Scoville. Wilbur Scoville pioneered this standardized method of measuring heat in 1912, which has been in use ever since. Peppers with 0–100 units of Scoville can be categorized as sweet peppers, while habanero peppers range from 100,000–300,000 units! Pepper seeds are best planted in starter pots and transplanted out. In cold climates, pepper seeds benefit from a heating mat for the best germination. Grow pepper plants in the warm season in full sun for the most productive plants. Peppers are a prolific crop that can give you more peppers than you’ll know what to do with! Plant an array of varieties and have a medley of peppers to choose from for all your culinary needs! For those in a frost region, peppers can be started indoors 5–6 weeks before the last frost. Protect pepper plants from frost and harvest often for the most bountiful production. In hot climates like those of Zones 9 and 10, shade cloth is used in the extreme heat of the summer to protect peppers from sunscald. Use 40% shade cloth to prevent sunburn and crop loss.  


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