Banana pepper is a yellow pepper with waxy skin from the chili pepper family. It is thus named because its color and shape looks like the tropical fruit banana. Most of the time, the fruits it yield are deep yellow color when fully mature but they can also be red or orange color sometimes.
There are many varieties of banana peppers including mild and hot varieties. Mild banana pepper varieties can be harvested faster than the hot banana pepper varieties. Regardless of whether it has a mild or hot flavor, it tastes delicious when used in salad, sandwiches or other recipes.
You can germinate banana pepper plants indoor during the spring or summer when the temperature is warm. The young plant is ready for transplant when it has outgrown the seedling tray. It should be spaced about 18cm – 24 cm apart and each row should be about 24 cm apart.
The temperature should be above 60 degree Fahrenheit when you transplant them. It should be transplanted to an area of your garden that is not exposed to too much wind and receives full sun. In order for it to grow healthily, it needs a minimum of 6 hours of sunshine daily.
If your soil is not fertile, you can mix in compost and manure fertilizer to increase the nutrients. Nitrogen fertilizer should not be used as it only cause more leaves to grow without the increase yielding of fruits. If your soil lack of magnesium, you can spray some Epsom salt on it. It is encouraged to use mulch to reduce weeds and maintain the soil moisture level.
The banana pepper plant will become thirsty quickly so you must regularly water it. When watering, just water enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Lack of watering can cause the fruit to taste bitter. Heavy watering can cause the soil to become waterlogged which can eventually destroy the roots. Watering the plant is during the evening can prevent diseases.
If the plant grows too tall and become lanky, you can set up a trellis or wooden sticks to provide support for it. Peppers do best when the temperature is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature reaches beyond 90 degree Fahrenheit, the blossoms can wither away. To protect your plant from the scorching sun, you can set up a shelter to provide some shade.
You can harvest the banana peppers when they reach full size and the skin is thick and firm. As soon as they become yellow color, you can harvest them. You can also wait for it to turn red or orange color to harvest them. When harvesting, use a pair of scissor to nip it off rather than pulling it off the plant with hand. Banana peppers is best used to make pickles when they you are not able to use them within a week.