Happy Arbor Day: Learn the Art of Growing Serrano Peppers!

Arbor Day: A Brief History

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Would you have ever guessed that the first documented arbor plantation festival dates back to 1594? It was organized by the Mayor of the Mondoñedo, a small Spanish Village, where they planted lime and horse-chestnut trees.

The first American Arbor day came at the end of the century on April 10th, 1872 in Nebraska City. Julius Sterling Morton, Nebraska’s first state newspaper editor, proposed a day that would encourage all Nebraskans to plant trees in their community. He offered prizes and encouraged the crowds, ultimately leading the charge in the planting of approximately 1 million trees!

Nowadays, National Arbor Day is celebrated by planting trees for the benefit of future generation encouraging people to look forward instead of backward. However, while we certainly believe in the importance of planting trees, we also believe in the importance of planting, well just about anything. So, if you don’t have space in your garden to plant a new tree, we’ve got a spicy substitute for you: Serrano peppers!

The Art of Growing Serrano Peppers

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The serrano pepper originated in the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo and are second most used chili pepper in Mexican cuisine. With a Scoville rating between 10,000 and 25,000 they are slightly spicier than a mild jalapeño (not sure what the a Scoville rating is? click here). Typically eaten fresh, the peppers are commonly used in making pico de gallo and salsa, as the chili is particularly fleshy compared to others, making it ideal for such dishes.

Mature serrano pepper plants will generally reach a max height of between 1.5 to 5.0 ft tall, with plant can holding up to 50 pepper pods.

1) Prepare the growing conditions for your Serrano Peppers

Like most vegetables, serrano peppers prefer plenty of sunlight and rich soil with easy drainage. If your garden’s soil isn’t so rich, you can add about an inch of compost to the top six inches of soil. If you aren’t planting in a garden, we recommend a 16 inch container, with 5 gallons of soil — 50% compost, 50% potting. Serrano peppers do better in soils with a pH between 7.0 and 8.5 in warm temperatures above 75°F.

2) Planting your Serrano Peppers

If planting in your garden pace out the serrano pepper seedlings 14 – 18 inches apart. This will give each plant enough room to grow. Plant one serrrano pepper per container if you don’t have your own garden. Remember to water the seedlings thoroughly immediately after planting.

3) Care for your Serrano Peppers

You are going to want to fertilize the soil at least once a month as serrano peppers are heavy feeders. However, it’s important to avoid fertilizers that contain too much nitrogen. The ideal fertilizer will be rich in calcium, phosphorous, and potassium.

A deep watering of the peppers, once every four to fives days, is preferable to light watering daily. Make sure you regularly check  the soil to make sure it is is moist about an inch and a half down. If not, it’s time for another watering.

4) Harvest your Serrano Peppers

Make sure to pluck off any early, smaller fruits so that the plants can allocate its energy on growing larger fruits later in the season. The perfect time for harvesting is when the serrano peppers are still green in color but full-sized. If the peppers are red, yellow, or orange, then it is definitely time for harvesting. Be gentle when you are removing them as yanking them can do severe damage to the plant; potentially preventing it from producing the next round of peppers!

Plant your own Serrano Peppers this Arbor Day

Ready to make your Arbor Day contribution? Want to make the world a bit greener, a bit cleaner, and a bit spicier?  What’s that, you say? You don’t have any seedlings? Not to worry, Small Axe Peppers has got you covered. Buy our Serrano Pepper seedlings here! Now hurry up and get to planting!

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