How to Grow Padron Peppers
Padron peppers are named after the Galicia village in northwestern Spain where monks started growing the peppers in the 16th century. Padron peppers are originally from South America, and are a source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, P, and calcium, iron and protein. In general, Padron peppers have a mild flavor, but every crop also produces several hot peppers indistinguishable from the sweet ones until you bite into them. The pepper seedlings need 85 days of frost-free weather to produce a crop.
Break the soil surface in a site that receives a minimum of six hours of sun daily. Use a shovel and pickax, or rent a rototiller. Incorporate 2 to 3 inches of manure 6 inches deep. Rake the planting bed to smooth it out.
Harden off the Pardon pepper seedlings for transplant when the temperature begins to hold at a minimum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and night. Take the plants outside for longer periods of time daily until they are spending 24 hours outdoors. At first, place the nursery flats in the shade. Gradually, expose them to more sunlight.
Dig holes 1 1/2 feet apart. Make them as wide and deep as the seedlings' root systems.
Take the young pepper plants out of the flat gently. Place them in the individual holes. Backfill the holes with topsoil. Transplant the seedlings on a cloudy day or early in the evening so they can adjust to the new site before the sun shines on them at full strength.
Irrigate the seedlings to the root zone at planting. Continue to water them regularly to keep the soil moist through the growing season.
Fertilize the Padron pepper plants after they start growing. Apply a balanced plant food, a formula that contains equal percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Feed the plants a second time before they set fruit. Follow the rates listed on the product label.
Hoe and pull weeds by hand as they sprout next to the Padron peppers. Padrons do not compete well with foreign vegetation. Build a 2-inch-deep mulch layer around the base of each plant to suppress weeds as well as slow water evaporation. Use wood chips, shredded bark, or compost as mulch.
Clip the stems with a pair of hand shears to harvest Padron peppers before they grow longer than 2 inches. Each plant produces 5 to 6 pounds of fruit.
- To start your own seedlings, sow the seeds indoors 10 weeks before the last spring frost. Plant them 1/4 inch deep in seed-starter mix, and keep them at 75 F.
- Balanced fertilizer
- Hand shears
- Rototiller (optional)