Tips on Growing Jalapeno Peppers in a Backyard Garden

How to grow Jalapeno Peppers in a backyard vegetable garden. Jalapeno Peppers are an excellent crop to grow in a backyard vegetable garden. They do well in a range of soil conditions and tolerate the summer heat fairly well.

Fertilizer For Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers do best with a well balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers such as 21-0-0, or even 16-6-12. When taken care of Jalapeno Peppers will produce through the summer months and into fall. Unless killed by a winter frost, the plants may survive through the winter and into the following spring.

Pepper plants sitting on the tailgate of a truck

Because Jalapeno Peppers have such a long growing season, they benefit from a slow release fertilizer, such as manure.

We are going to start off with tilling the garden rows with a garden tiller. Then, mix in some well balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13, and some kind of manure or compost. Till the fertilizer, compost, and / or manure into the rows. Remove clumps of soil, rocks, or tree roots.

The 13-13-13 fertilizer will provide the Jalapeno Peppers with plant food to get started, then the manure / compost will provide a slow release fertilizer to help the plant thrive over the course of several months.

This should be enough to help the plant produce through the summer months.

Planting Jalapeno Peppers

When given the room, good soil, fertilizer, and plenty of water, Jalapeno Pepper plants can grow quit large. Plant the pepper plants around 24 inches apart and where they can receive plenty of sunlight.

Garden tiller in a backyard vegetable garden

Space the rows up to 24 – 36 inches apart. Typically, I like to plant my rows far enough apart that a lawn mower can be ran between the rows. This means my Jalapeno Pepper plant rows are around 48 inches apart.

Plant the Jalapeno Pepper plants after any chance of frost has passed. Here in the southern part of the United States, a lot of people plant around Easter. Some of the old timers will not plant until the week after Easter Sunday. Personally, I typically start planting after the Ides of March.

Rather than planting the peppers in soil, some people opt to grow them in containers.  If Jalapeno Peppers are grown in containers, use at least a two cubic foot pot.  From my personal experience, anything less than two cubic feet will result in the plant getting root bound.

Some pepper plants can become so large, they may fall over.  During the summer of 2018, a couple of my pepper plants fell over and I had to put cages on them.

If unsure, play it safe and put some cages on the plants shortly after planting.

Jalapeno Pepper Production

Given proper care the pepper plants should start producing Jalapeno Peppers around 60 days after being planted. If planted in March, the plants should start bearing towards the end of May.

Bunch of Jalapeno Peppers on a pepper plant

While Jalapeno Peppers tolerate hot weather rather well, they have a high water requirement. Allowing the plants to wilt is not advised. Most garden plants will wilt while in direct sunlight. However, if the pepper plants are wilted when not in direct sunlight, chances are they need water.

Commercial fertilizer will help the plant get established, while the manure and/or compost will provide slow release nutrients.

Harvest the Jalapeno Peppers when they are around 2 1/2 – 3 inches long. Depending on soil quality, fertilizer, water and other factors, peppers may vary in size.

Old timers say the more you pick something like peppers, they more the plant will produce.  I do not know if that is true, but it seems logical.  The purpose of the pepper it so grow seeds.

Does harvesting impact production?  That would be a good topic for the 2019 vegetable garden.