Hot Portugal Pepper (Heirloom 65-75 Days)
Heirloom 1920’s. According to the 1935 Harris Seed catalog “If you want a large hot pepper you should try the new Hot Portugal Pepper. The best hot pepper we know.” Early maturing variety. Fruits are thin, can grow to a length of 6” and are plenty hot. Yields are remarkably heavy.
Germination: 10-14 days
Germination Temperature: Optimum soil temperatures 75-85ºF. Cooler soil temperatures slow germination time.
Seed Sowing Depth: ¼” deep
Starting Indoors: 8-10 weeks before the last frost. Sow in flats/cells/pots. Provide 75-85ºF soil temperatures. Fertilize the seedlings every 7-10 days with a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer (diluted to ¼ of suggested measurement). Transplant seedlings 18-24” apart after the last frost.
Sowing Outdoors: Not recommended, especially in northern areas
How much does a packet plant: 20-25 foot single row
Harvest: Use a sharp instrument to cut the peppers from the plant. Pick the first fruits when they reach usable size, this helps accelerate the growth of the other peppers on the plant. Leave some peppers on the plant to mature so they can change color and sweeten up.
Tips: Pinch-off early flowers or tiny fruit on any seedlings before placing them in the ground. The Hot Portugal Pepper should be planted in fertile soil and amended with compost if needed. It helps to use row cover early in the season, giving the plants extra warmth, especially in the north. Side dress when flowers begin to form.