~ SWEET PEPPER Seeds ~
To grow peppers in the UK, you need really early varieties. After searching for extra-early sweet peppers for many years, we are pleased to offer a range that are unusually early, productive, and tasty.
The very earliest ones tend to have slightly smaller fruit, while the others come a little later but crop more heavily.
How to choose? Well, you can't really go wrong. All are 'early' and good - the main differences are that some make a few peppers very early, while the others make lots but later.
We always grow a mix, so we get a few right at the start of the season and then the heavier bearing ones for our maincrop.
All our peppers do really well in an unheated polytunnel, and many are worth a try outside in a sunny spot if you're in a milder part of the country.
Please order your seeds in time. You really need to plant them by the middle of March
at the very latest to have any chance of a decent crop.
TIP: An electric propagator is ideal for starting pepper seed, but if you don't have one, you can still get excellent results by improvising with a warm airing cupboard, a radiator shelf or anywhere that is around 25-30C for at least a few hours in each day. (But beware that sunlight on a propagator can increase temperatures greatly, much hotter would cook your seeds!)
Once germinated, the seedlings will grow on at lower temperatures. We find we can grow excellent plants when our propagator is full by starting seed on the counter next to our Rayburn & then growing on in a sunny windowsill.
Here is an great old favourite which we were pleased to offer again after a long absence from the catalogue. We last had seed of this in 2004, and it was immensely popular at the time.
Lipstick is an ultra-early sweet pepper bred specifically for northern market gardeners and it does very well in the UK. We have now reselected the original strain for bigger meatier peppers, and that is the seed we are now offering you - it's really good!
The small plants quickly set lots of 4" pointy green fruit which ripen to a truly lipstick-red colour.
Pointy, good thick flesh, early to fruit.
Order SPLi - 14 seed £
This is an amazing, chocolate-brown sweet bell pepper. The only early chocolate pepper there is, it was bred by the late Prof. Elwyn Meader specifically for home gardeners in cooler climates.
The incredible colour comes from a purple skin overlaying a sweet brick-red flesh. It looks amazing sliced in salads, but is also excellent cooked. We love it roasted, which really brings out the delicious sweet flavour.
Famous for its earliness and sweetness even in cool climates (I think the chocolate-coloured skin helps it absorb whatever sunlight there is available) this performs really well for us.
Beautiful and delicious.
Order SPSC - 18 seed £
This was our new release in 2009, and we think it is still the best-flavoured, meatiest pepper that we've got.
It is from the Antonov family farm in central Bulgaria where it has been grown for generations. The original seed was given to us by Mitko Antonov - from his seed we selected several lines, and from those we have bred this new variety.
It's great - the plants are very quickly covered in medium-sized juicy red bells, with very thick crisp flesh, and a particularly satisfying flavour. They are also excellent used green earlier in the season.
Order SPKR - 18 seed £
Another great pepper. As you can see, we've been working hard on our pepper trials recently.
We've been looking for a good orange pepper for several years. Most orange peppers are either too late for the UK, or not tasty enough. But at last, success!
This rare variety does really well in this country. It's a truly vigorous orange pepper, really early & so good for cooler areas. It was bred by Alex Heklar in 1989, and we think it is the best orange bell pepper for the UK climate.
Apart from earliness and heavy setting, the best thing about this is the particularly sweet flesh. The plants grow very quickly, and make lots of large orange peppers which are nice and sweet both cooked and raw. They fry up nicely to a rich sweet sauce for pasta.
The fruits really are huge and the plants make several in each clump.
Order SPOB - 18 seed £
'King of the North' sweet green bell
Our best cold-summer-adapted, big green bell pepper. This thick-fleshed pepper was bred specifically for home gardeners in short-summer areas. The plants grow very fast and soon set a good crop of large green bells.
If you leave them, they will of course turn red later, but they are excellent eaten green.
Order SPKN - 18 seed £
'Amy' Sweet Hungarian Wax Pepper (Pale Yellow)
This is a sweet type of what is known as a Hungarian Wax pepper. It is an early variety, making lots of pale yellow-white sweet peppers. This type of pepper is traditionally grown in central Europe.
You do find seeds for this type of pepper offered sometimes in the UK, but usually a hot version, called Hot Hungarian Wax. This sweet version we have here is really great but hard to find, and we are really happy to be able to offer it again.
The beautiful fruit have a wide, pointed cone shape and are extremely tasty. Very productive (you may need to stake the plants or the weight of fruit can pull them over!) and good fresh in salads or used in cooked dishes, with a distinctive flavour.
Sweet and productive, pick when pale yellowy-white
Order SPAy - at least 20 seed £
'Hebar' Sweet Green Pepper
This variety one from Bulgaria has been chosen for being very early bearing and having particularly sweet and tasty fruits.
We were really impressed with Hebar in our last round of pepper trials - the plants were covered in fruit very early on, and they tasted really good both green and red. Definitely a great addition to our collection of early UK-suitable peppers.
Large numbers of long pointy pale-green fruit which then ripen to a dark red colour. Fab!
Order SPHr - 18 seed £
This is a giant bell pepper that grows to 4" wide by 6" long - or more! It's quite early, and the peppers turn bright sunshine yellow as they ripen.
It has a particularly good flavour when it gets to the yellow stage.
Really long peppers - perfect for stuffing, or just munching on.
Order SPYM - 20 seed £
Purple peppers are great, but we had to search high and low to find a really early variety
This variety is great - very early, and it makes sweet blocky bells that really are such a deep purple they appear almost black.
When you slice them open there's an amazing contrast with the bright flesh inside. Delicious both raw and cooked, ideal for pepper sticks served with dips.
Great both cooked or raw , truly purple, and early.
Order SPPB - 20 seed £
This was a chance discovery in our pepper trials. The story behind this fine pepper is that in Czechoslovakia there was once a breeding program aiming to improve on the traditional chilli 'Palivec', and it actually generated a pair of new pepper varieties - one hot, the other sweet.
This one, Semaroh, is the sweet one - early and productive, with lots of long sweet peppers with a goats-horn shape.
Order SPSe- 20 seed £
Stock:NOTE: We also have its evil twin, a very similar but outrageously hot pepper called Ohnivec, over on the chillies page.
'Napia' Early Pointy Red Pepper
This is another incredibly early red pepper, with pointy red fruit and spirally curled-up tips like a turkish slipper.
It has really good thick, crunchy sweet flesh, & we like it best raw rather than cooked.
It was given to us by a Bulgarian student many years ago. It has always done very well in our trials, coming ready in the very first group of peppers, and we're pleased to have quite a few packets available for you to try, grown for us by the folks at Brithdir Mawr in Wales.
Order SPNA - 20 seed £
We're really pleased with this amazing big early yellow pepper from Bulgaria - it was one of the best in our recent trials.
The fruits are really big, very attractive, heavy and glowing with pleasantly thick flesh. They start out yellow, which is when they are meant to be eaten. They later ripen first to a pale cream and finally to a deep sweet red if you can resist the urge to munch them before that!
The fruits hang together in the middle of the plants, which are stocky rather than tall (about 40-50 cm). We think this is a fantastic early pepper for the UK.
Just a few packets this year, seed produced for us by Anne Bartlett.
Order SPAd - 18 seed £
~ A MORE UNUSUAL SWEET PEPPER ~
'Dedo de Mocha' Sweet Ají
A hot pepper without the heat! Given to us by pepper expert Jeff Nekola. Ají are a different species: Capsicum baccatum. This is one of the largest-fruited of our Ají peppers, the beautiful fruit are shiny, almost waxy in appearance and glow a deep red when ripe.
Incredibly productive, & a favourite every year, we like it grilled and served with olive oil. Without the heat, subtle undertones of Ají flavour come out, with distinct smokey tastes being the most obvious.
One of the easier of our unusual / rare peppers to grow, though you do need a polytunnel or greenhouse. If you want a challenge - it can be overwintered if you keep it frost-free - we did have one plant that made it to 3 years old and in its last year it made over 270 peppers!
We have had a couple of reports last year of stressed plants making some heat near the seeds. But in normal conditions this should be classed as a sweet pepper.
Very rare, pretty easy to grow. Gently smokey Aji. Not hot - mostly: the occasional pepper is warm, especially towards the end of the season, or with plants in their second or third year.
Seed produced for us by our grower Anne Bartlett.
Order SPDM - 18 seed £
PS: The name of this traditional variety translates
roughly as 'Amputated Fingers' ,
which is fair enough given the shape and colour, but seems to be in dubious taste!
Luckily the peppers themselves taste good though.
Saving Sweet Pepper Seed:
Peppers (both hot and sweet) do cross very easily,
so if you want to save seed you need to either grow only one variety,
or keep the insects out. Either use a net cage, or even easier, bag individual flowers.
You really do need to do this!
Any crosses between the sweet peppers and chillies will be hot the first year, then all mixed up thereafter . . .
However, if the plants were isolated, the seed-saving
bit is really pretty easy.
Let the pepper get to its final ripe colour (which may not be what you expect!),
cut it open, and flick out the seeds.
Leave them to air dry, and then dry them properly so they don't die in storage. That's it!
There are more detailed home-seed saving guides (printable) over to the left of this page,
in the box titled 'SeedSaving', with sheets on drying and storing your seed too.
And of course, seed-saving is only possible because these are all real, non-hybrid varieties.