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Fish Pepper

If you love shellfish and seafood, Fish Pepper belongs in your garden.

An African-American heirloom that predates the 1870s, Fish Pepper was widely grown around the Chesapeake Bay when it was famous for its crab and oyster houses. As they were displaced by Washington D.C., this wonderful pepper almost disappeared.

The fruits are plenty hot, about 3 on a scale of 5, and are still considered by many to be the best chile for cooking fish and shellfish. Its bold flavor is perfect with seafood and it's also showy enough to be grown just for its looks.

Variegated foliage is rare in chiles, but Fish Pepper's leaves are splashed with white, and its long pointed fruit are striped. They start out green and lime, then ripen to a rainbow of orange, purple, and red. The 2' bushy plants make spectacular ornamentals and they grow well in pots. 75 days.


Thoroughly moisten your seed-starting mix, and then fill your pots/containers to within 1/2" of the top.

Place two or three seeds into each small container or each cell of a seed starter. Cover the seed with about 1/4" of soil.

Water to ensure good seed-to-mix contact. You can use a plant mister or just dribble a stream of water over the top. You don't need to soak the soil, just moisten the top layer.
(You don't want to heavily water and "push" seeds to deep that they can't germinate.)

Keep the mix moist but not soaking wet. Lay some plastic kitchen wrap and a rubber band over pots to keep in heat and moisture.

Place the pots in a warm, sunny spot or on top of a heat mat. (Seeds won't germinate until the soil itself is 75-80 degrees.)

Check pots daily. As soon as you see sprouts, remove the covering and place the pots in a sunny window or under grow lights, keeping the lights just an inch or two above the tops of the plants.

15 seeds

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