Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

In my new Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog, I noticed the Lipstick sweet pepper. It's early bearing, 2" x 4", "thick, juicy, and sweet", and the catalog says it may be the most delicious sweet pepper of all. Those would be a real nice size for stuffing and roasting, too.

PlantFiles only has basic info on this pepper. It's not a hybrid, it's been around since 1987, and it's resistant to tobacco mosaic virus. That sounds pretty good and I'm thinking of trying it - has anyone here grown "Lipstick"?

Helena, MT

Well my pepper friend, I haven't received my 2010 Johnny's catalog, but I'm interested in this one as well. Hope you get some responses here. I do have a question to ask you Sam, hope you don't mind my using this thread... I recently read something in a seed catalog about growing hot peppers which I have not seen before and would like your take on this comment. "Hot peppers should be planted close enough that the leaves touch, not more than 12" apart."
Man that just surprises the heck out me...No reason given either.


Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

No sense in waiting for the catalog.
Here's Lipstick peppers.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

"would like your take on this comment. "Hot peppers should be planted close enough that the leaves touch, not more than 12" apart."

Yes, I think that's right. Peppers like to be crowded with other peppers, but maybe not with other veggies.

I planted a long row of sweet peppers this year with the plants only 18" apart and ran a soaker hose along it. The plants got to be 4 feet tall, so they were all intergrown with each other - and they loved it. I got a very heavy yield off every plant.

When it comes to hot peppers, I only grow Maui Purple Peppers in one 18" pot that I've kept going for about 13 or 14 years now. Those provide plenty of "heat" for my salsa, and there are always peppers in some stage on the plants. We bring the pot inside for the winter and it's out on our patio during the warm months.

The original Maui Purple Pepper plant died years ago - individual plants seem to live for only 2 or 3 years and when one dies I pull it out. But they constantly re-seed themselves from peppers dropping onto the soil, and there are about 12 plants growing at any time in that one pot. They get about 2' tall, and that's real crowding. I give 'em a little MiracleGro about twice a year, the plants stay healthy, happy, and they've been bearing heavily for years that way.

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

I agree with peppers liking to be crowded and have no explanation. I grew some away from the main congregation by just filling in between other kinds of plants. They weren't nearly as productive although the other cultural matters were identical.

They also love water. The second half of 2009 made one of the wettest years on record here, plus I grow them in pots sitting in a couple inches of water at all times. Just incredible production up til frost.

Virginia Beach, VA(Zone 7b)

I ordered Lipstick from Johnny's. They shipped my seeds
super fast. This is first time I will be trying these. They sound
pretty good. Interested in anybody's feedback also.

Helena, MT

Received Johnny's catalog yesterday and the picture looks good enough to eat. I tried bringing some potted pepper plants indoors and got a barage of green aphids. At least I assumed they were apids. Someone once posted a comment in DG that aphids don't fly, however these did. Couldn't get rid of these nasty little pests so I abandoned the plants. I might try again using a bit of isopropy alcohol in a soapy water spray instead of just the soapy water. Your recommendation Sam that Pyrethrin was safe to use aslo sounds good. I saw in Johnny's catalog that they have a concentrated Rotenone-Pyrethrin concentrate. I'm not sure what the benefits of Rotenone are on aphid control but I have used it in the past for other purposes. It too is a root deritive and considered non-toxic.

I'm excited to hear your comments about crowding peppers and I have worked out an idea for next season which can triple the number of plants in the same amount of area. We made a few jars of fantastic picante or taco sauce last season and if things go right next season we plan to make a whole lot more.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

We plant ours in double rows on plastic. Each row, each plant is 2 ft from the next. Rows are 12" apart. So it gets them plenty close. We did it to save space, not knowing it increased production. After we had all picked that we needed, when I went to chop up the plants, there were still thousands of peppers on the plants.

Picture is a little far away, but maybe you can see what our pepper patch looks like.

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Wow, CountryGardens, that's a big and good-looking pepper patch.

I agree that peppers do best with a lot of water, and I've found that crowding them together and giving them a whole bunch of water really causes high production. I've got enough of the "regular" wire tomato cages (the ones that aren't really big enough for tomatoes) to put a cage around every other pepper seedling in the row. Then I run a cord the whole length of the row, attaching the cages together.

Pepper plants don't take as much support and tying up as tomatoes, but they need some. Mine always bear so heavy the weight of peppers breaks off side branches, so I try to tie those up before they break.

I'm going to order Lipstick pepper seeds from Johnny's, as well as the General Lee cucumbers I got from there and tried for the first time in my 2009 garden. I think I finally found the perfect cucumber with those, they're great. The Delectible sweet corn from Johnny's is a real good one, too. Strangely enough, I don't think Johnny's offers Gypsy pepper seeds, so I'll have to get those somewhere else. I won't grow a garden without Gypsy, that's for sure.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

We've never supported pepper plants & never had them go down. As you can see, our garden is in the wide open spaces & gets some terrific winds at times.
The plants you see in the picture are "Fat n' Sassy". Most companies sell them, although I get them from Totally Tomatoes.
Here's what they look like. Any red or green you see. The yellow are Super Heavyweight.

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Helena, MT

CountryGardens, the way you have your garden, or I should say farm, terraced there it looks like you are flood irigating??? What method(s) do you use to cultivate or till that much area, and how do you manage to raise peppers like those exposed in a 4a zone?

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

There should be a place to have people learn about zones. Zone has nothing to do with growing season, only overwintering of perennial plants.
Our last frost date is mid May. Our first frost in fall is October 1.
This gives us plenty of time to grow.Like you in Montana, we get 16 hrs of sunlight in mid summer. Many days in the 90's & 100's. Rain is usually adequate.
We put down the plastic mulch with T-Tape under it. If we need to water the crops, we turn it on. It is hooked to our well. Takes about4 hours to water a section.
The strips you see are to keep the soil from washing bdown the hillside & offer feed & protection to wildlife.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

"We've never supported pepper plants & never had them go down."

CountryGardens - When I grow bell peppers, they don't bear heavily enough to break the plants down. The last few years, though, I've switched to non-bell sweet pepper hybrids like Gypsy. Those have so many peppers they break the plants to pieces without support.

I like to let them ripen before picking, the peppers are sweeter that way. But we still have a lot of green and half-ripe peppers to eat during the season because in spite of all my tying up I find broken-off branches full of peppers most every day. I pick and use all the peppers on those broken branches before they get soft.

Without support, I think Gypsy and maybe Carmen would break the whole plant off at ground level, just from the weight of all the peppers.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

It don't pay for us to plant anything but bells. People will not by the other sweet peppers. I suppose it's because that's all they get in the super markets here. We do sell a lot ob banana peppers. We use Bounty for them.
I'll have to look up Gypsy.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

I grew Bounty in 2008. It's a good pepper, but Gypsy starts bearing earlier, is a lot more productive, has thicker walls and more "meat", and it's blockier than Bounty - shaped better for stuffing.

I understand, though, that people are set on bells because that's what they're used to. Too bad, because I think Gypsy is as good or better than bell peppers, and it's so much more productive for the grower.

You might even find it difficult to offer Gypsy instead of Bounty as a "banana pepper". Bounty is yellow turning to orange-red, and Gypsy is green turning to deep red. If you can find a market though, Gypsy would make you extra money on the same amount of land. You might try planting a few of them and see how they sell. Gypsy is so good customers might try it and come back for more.

Helena, MT

T-Tape - That is a new term to me..I will check it out. I am presuming it would aide in securing the plastic mulch from wind as well as erosion???

Unfortunately I have never had the problem of growing peppers to the extent the fruits break their branches. Possibly that is another reason for close planting.

"Zone has nothing to do with growing season, only overwintering of perennial plants." This comment too caught me by surprise. It will probably take some time to get my head around that one. We typically have frost free days in the low 60s, and as you say CountryGardens, long days with a week or more in the 100 plus F degree range. Not very well suited to the raising of peppers, especially the hot ones. However, that is about to change!

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