Garden Lifestyle

Chiming in on Mini Bell Peppers

Short growing seasons mean gardeners have to get creative if they want to have some sweet success.

A container of Red Mini Bell peppers is a sweet addition to small space gardening.
Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey

I guess you could say peppers are one of my gardening passions. Every year I plant as many kinds of hot peppers as the container garden can hold. However, sweet peppers are a different story.

I’ve just never had good luck growing full-size bell peppers. Sometimes I blamed my lack of success on a short growing season. Other times, I thought it was because the weather was too hot. Sometimes I gave up before the season was over.

But this year I decided on a different strategy. Instead of trying to grow large-size bell peppers, I chose a small variety called Red Mini Bell from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for my container garden.

Ah, sweet pepper success!

I grew several of these plants from seed and I’m delighted at the results. Each plant grew several feet tall in containers on my patio and took only 2 months to start producing peppers. Each one is just several inches round, but the flesh is tender and quite flavorful.

I had to resist picking the first green ones because I wanted to watch them ripen to a bright red. It’s fun to pick a few to slice for salads at lunch or to hollow out and fill with a creamy dip for a light snack. I’m sure they could also be chopped and frozen to use in recipes over the winter.

As much as I’m enjoying the peppers now, I have to admit I wasn’t sure I’d have any sweet peppers at all. I started the seeds indoors a little later than usual. Then the weather didn’t warm enough until mid-June to transplant them outside. Rollercoaster temperatures throughout the summer didn’t create ideal growing conditions.

But this time I didn’t give up. I made sure the pepper pots got plenty of sun, water, and fertilizer. I don’t think this small success will make me want to try growing large bell peppers in the future. I think it’s just a reminder that bigger isn’t always better. 

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