To pick or not to pick?

Weather forecast predicts possible frost next night. The Hourly looks like this:

I have a full load of green peppers that I can either pick tonight and have them green or risk leaving on the bush and let them benefit from the warm weather next week after possible frost. I know they will survive if the temp will not drop to freezing point, but what about if it will for an hour or so? Will at least fruit survive?

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I think an hour at freezing will kill the plants, but the fruit might make it. It’s a tough call. I can see why you want to leave the plants out if possible.

If it’s that close it might be worth it to throw even a very light row cover over them if that’s doable, but I imagine you already thought of that!


I always just throw an old blanket over them just in case. They do fine with cold but not hard frost. If there’s going to be extended frost I pull the whole plant and hang them in the root cellar. If there’s any color at all they will usually continue to ripen, but the green ones will be good for quite a while, too. Sue


I used to protect peppers from frost with a tarp but these days I grow enough that I don’t bother with the tarp. One thing you can do is wake up BEFORE SUNRISE and spray everything really good with the garden hose. I’ve been doing that for the past several years and it does save the plants. There’s usually spots I miss with the hose. I’ll water the peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and maybe the bitter gourd that’s way in the other garden.

I’m going to pick bigger things tonight and try to stretch the rest out. There’s usually enough sunlight after the first frost that you will get some more. The extended forecast shows 60s, and some 70s, and sunny here in CT.


i have jalepenos ,hot bananas, habaneros and itallian sweets, in pots, around the outside of my greenhouse. they have been hit with 3 frost down to 28f. they have a little top leaf damage but are still alive and ripening peppers. the greenhouse probably gave them some protection. I’m surprised as i always thought peppers we sensitive to cold like that. the temps. your showing, i wouldn’t worry too much.


Thank you all guys! So my plan is to pick what turns color and let the rest to be. I can’t really protect them - they are 5’ tall :grinning:. But they are inside the 8’ mosquito net house, I bet it should give at least some protection. And I can probably throw tarp on top, I have no tarp big enough to cover whole thing. @moose71, it is very good news, they can survive some frost!

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out of all of them, the habaneros showed the most damage.

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Wow, you have tall peppers! I grow a short early variety so it’ss easy to cover. Those temps you show won’t be a problem but a tarp over the top seems good insurance. So much depends on how soon the skies clear and for how long. We’re due to get our first frost tonight, but just a short one. Sue

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Not all of my peppers are that high, but I have two varieties - Yellow bison and Red bison, I brought seeds from Russia. I would call them Yellow Giraffe and Red Giraffe instead - both, plants and fruit, extremely long. The are conic type, and plant could grow up to 6’ (if you have them supported, otherwise they still grow, but fold down). The largest fruit could be close to a foot in length. I found they are irreplaceable when you need them baked and skinned - skin comes out like a sock, in one peace, no efforts.


I think it will be fine without any protection at that temp.


are they sweet peppers? i have a sweet italian pepper that gets about 6in. long and 3in wide. they are great for stuffed peppers and sweet enough to eat raw.

yes, sweet, these are not the largest, consider that late in the season and cold…


With tonight’s expected frost on my mind, I went ahead and ordered $110 worth of garlic and vegetable seeds from Territorial and Baker Creek. Well, mostly vegetable. Got to get that OrangeGlo. The off-season begins…

Do you have issues growing peppers where you (lack of heat?) are or do you use a greenhouse? I didn’t grow any this year because i’m dumb…but next year i’ll be back. I use to grow them (mostly mild peppers…not into the hot stuff) in 5 gallon buckets and they produced like crazy…

i started mine indoors in march. up potted them in early june into 5gal fabric pots then put them in the greenhouse. without it , i doubt i would have got much for peppers at all. not saying it can’t be done. my father grew peppers of all types in the garden. just need to wait until you’re seeing consistent 70’s or better during the day and at least 50f or higher at night before putting them outside. thats from my limited experience. i was surprised i got any habaneros and they bore the most. numex suave habaneros have almost no heat.

Rob, I grow a hardy very early short season non-bell yellow-red sweet pepper variety than usually does well for me here. This is the first year in many ages that I didn’t get much since they got a late start in the greenhouse (a mouse got in and ate my first planting - mowed it right down - didn’t eat anything else), and the record rainfall in September caused them to all rot instead of ripening. But normally most seasons I get red ripe peppers. Plants are small. It’s an heirloom from a Seed Savers Exchange member many eons ago called Red Belgium. I’ve tried just about all the commercial early varieties but this is the only one I can regularly get to ripen. Be glad to send you some seed if you want to try it. Sue

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I get plenty of heat here but the spring rain…then fall rain pattern we are in is brutal. Tomatoes this year were a huge flop…still had plenty but 7 inches of rain in Sept split everything…August was dry which helped but everything was so late…i ripped all mine out over a week ago. I really need to move things under plastic.

Do you use a high tunnel sort of greenhouse? Not sure i remember how you did it there. I bought the tube bender and bent all my tubes a year ago (used galvanized top rail fencing)… i just never put the plastic on (i also have a huge roll of greenhouse plastic).

i have a 10’ by 20’ portable greenhouse i got on amazon but a high tunnel will do just as good. we also get a lot of spring/ fall rain but don’t get the heat you guys seem to get in the summer. i agree for tomatoes and peppers you need to control moisture. i add a lot of floor dry from napa per Drews recommendation. helps with drainage but also helps keep moisture for the plants to use. only water every other day in mid summer. this is the coarse D.E. they have 2. the other is clay based that you don’t want. id also keep a rotating fan going in there on the top of the foliage to help with air circulation. it also strengthens the plants. a tip i got from my medical marijuana growing buddy. :wink:

I still have seed from over 10 years ago i’m still working thru :slight_smile: I have sweet chocolate, jimmy nardello, cubanelle… i grew them years ago but then just switched to growing normal green peppers (i bought a pack that claimed to be worlds biggest or something…i didn’t see any worlds biggest when i grew them!) I’ll just try a few plants of each again.

Can i save pepper seed from say one of the above…do they stay true to seed or will they be mutants?

if they were raised near other varieties the seeds will be a cross. the podpiper traded me a ton of pepper seeds. enough that i won’t need to buy any for awhile. i had some huge itlalian sweets this year. were so good you can eat them raw.