Skip to main content

Peppers and Herbs in Fall … What’s to be Done ?

Pepper Harvest: Image Credit Matthew Orwat : UF / IFAS Extension Washington County

Pepper Harvest: Image Credit Matthew Orwat : UF / IFAS Extension Washington County

By Matthew Orwat and Judy Corbus

As fall begins we often begin to think about the successes and failures of our vegetable gardens. Two of my successes this past summer have been pepper and basil.

A variety of peppers work great as transplants in mid to late spring. This spring a large variety of peppers were planted including Cayenne, Bell, Cubanelle, Habanero, Poblano, Anaheim, Cajun Belle, Havasau, Serrano, Jalapeno, and Banana.  A loose, rich media was used containing coconut coir and well-rotted organic humus to provide an excellent well-drained location which also retained moisture. Finding this delicate balance is difficult but can be achieved by using coconut coir and organic matter based garden soil mixtures.  After the peppers were planted, they were side-dressed twice with a standard bagged 8-8-8 fertilizer blend containing micronutrients and once with an organic fertilizer. During the heat of the summer it was important to water the peppers at least every other day. Need for watering decreased as the fall weather approached, but was still necessary.

Pepper Plant, Mid Summer . Image Credit Matthew Orwat, UF / IFAS Extension Washington County

Pepper Plant, Mid Summer . Image Credit Matthew Orwat, UF / IFAS Extension Washington County

In fall, many gardeners think it might be a good time to remove their peppers plants, but they can be encouraged to produce peppers until frost and maybe a little later with protection.  Oftentimes it is more practical to start or transplant new pepper plants the following spring, but it is possible to pot up and overwinter peppers in a sheltered area or greenhouse.

Sage and Basil in the garden, ready for preservation ! Image Credit Matthew Orwat, UF / IFAS Extension Washington County

Sage and Basil in the garden, ready for preservation ! Image Credit Matthew Orwat, UF / IFAS Extension Washington County

In addition to peppers, basil was especially bountiful this year. To save my basil bounty for the winter I have options to dry, blanch or make pesto. This should be done before the first frost, since basil is very sensitive to freezing temperatures.  Other herbs that will usually overwinter well in the garden include thyme, chives and rosemary. They will need little to no protection. Additionally, sage might come back the following year if it is in a protected area.  Herbs such as cilantro and parsley will thrive in our North Florida winters and should be planted now.

 

Pepper

Credit : National Center for Home Food Preservation

To preserve the bounty of your harvest for later use, you may can, pickle, or freeze peppers. Follow these USDA-approved guidelines from the National Center for Home Food Preservation:

Canning:  https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_04/peppers.html

Pickling:

Freezing:

 

 

One Comment on “Peppers and Herbs in Fall … What’s to be Done ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *