The Q&A Archives: Why Peppers Lack Flavor

Question: Only certain varieties of sweet red peppers develop good flavor in my garden. 'Gypsy', 'Northstar', and 'Peto' are examples of consistently flavorful, sweet ones. Almost all others taste watery and less sweet than they should be. My soil has had organic matter added every year for ten years. I get an annual nutrient analysis and pH test by the cooperative extension and fertilize accordingly. There are some fifteen year old trees near my garden that shade it about twenty percent ofthe time. Can you suggest why my peppers lack flavor?

Answer: It sounds to me like you've got a good average! According to the authors of "The Pepper Garden", (Dave DeWitt & Paul W. Bosland; Ten Speed Press, Berkeley CA), some varieties do well in a given area while others do not. It could be that 'Gypsy', 'Northstar' and 'Peto' just naturally perform well in your climate and soil. The other varieties may take exception to that bit of shade your garden gets. Also, not all peppers are created equal. Some varieties are bred more for uniform yields or disease resistance than flavor. Incidentally, "The Pepper Garden" recommends 'Gypsy' as one of the best bells!

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