Anaheim peppers, also known as New Mexican chili, was first grown in Hatch Valley in New Mexico, California. It is a mild type of chili pepper that scores in between 500 – 2,500 in the Scoville heat rating. The thick walled pepper can add both sweet and spicy taste to your dishes. It is a tradition for the New
Mexicans to string together dried Anaheim peppers to make chili ornaments.
Growing Anaheim pepper starts with sowing the seeds indoor in a seedling tray with shallow potting medium. Each seed is to be sown ¼ inch deep in the potting medium. To create an ideal condition, you can place the tray near the window where there is some sunlight and use a heat mat to keep it warm.
After 2 – 3 weeks, you can transplant the pepper plant to a sunny area in the garden. During transplanting, the soil temperature must be above 55 degree Fahrenheit and the day time temperature must be above 65 degree Fahrenheit. Anaheim pepper requires light and well drained soil. If your soil is heavy like clay soil, you can add compost or sand to make it lighter. Compost can also be added to fertilize the soil.
Prior to transplanting, you can perform a soil test to check the soil pH. The ideal soil pH for growing Anaheim pepper is in between 5.5 – 7. If the soil has low pH, you can raise it by adding limestone. Adding sulfur can reduce the pH of the soil. If you live in a cool region, it is recommended that you use black plastic to mulch the soil so as to keep the young plants warm. Mulching also helps to prevent weeds from growing.
The seed should be planted in rows that are at least 1 feet apart and each seed should be spaced at least 2 feet apart. If you are growing in a raised bed, the seeds should be planted about 14 inches apart. It is important to water the plant consistently. You must take care not to water it too much as it can cause the plant and fruit to rot.
Healthy Anaheim pepper plant can reach up to 18 – 24 inches tall. You must wait for at least 74 – 80 days to harvest the fruits. When the first fruit appear, you can fertilizer it with a 5-10-10 fertilizer. As a rule of thumb, you should avoid using too much nitrogen as it can reduce the fruit growth.
Each pepper can grow up to 7.5 inches long. When unripe, it is light green in color but it will turn into deep red color when fully mature. It will be laden with heavy fruit in the summer if the temperature at night is not higher than 90 degrees.