These foodie delights are wonderfully easy to grow in the UK. Here’s a brief guide to get you going – you should get a fabulous crop for several weeks in late summer/early autumn…
Padron Peppers are best grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel. If you want to grow them outside, choose a sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind – up against a south-facing wall would be good as this will reflect warmth back at the plants.
They will do best with plenty of compost added before planting. Leave 30-40cm between plants and push a 60cm bamboo cane in alongside them when planting. As they grow, tie the stems in to the bamboo cane.
Keep them well watered – a thorough watering 2-3 times a week if growing in a greenhouse is a good starting point. Once flowers start to appear, give plants a liquid feed every fortnight. You may see dark patches at the junction between stem and branches – this is very normal for padrons and nothing to worry about.
Harvest frequently from late summer, picking peppers that have reached about 5-6cm long. We tend to find that the bigger they get, the hotter they get, so leave them to get larger at your peril!
Peppers will store in the fridge for several days although they are at their best cooked fresh. The classic way to enjoy them is to stir-fry in olive oil until the skin blisters and season with sea salt.
Problems & Pests:
Aphids – watch out for colonies of these tiny little bugs appearing. A sharp blast from the hose will wash them off, and it is worth putting something yellow and sticky (like a yellow bucket smeared in vaseline) to stop them from re-colonising. Try planting up marigolds and tagetes with your peppers too.
No fruits appearing – this is likely to be either poor pollination (try planting some companion plants like marigolds to encourage bees, and make sure there are open windows to greenhouses) or too cool conditions – if growing outside you could try making a mini polytunnel for your peppers (bamboo stakes topped with upside down jars make a good support for a polythene or fleece cover.)