IF YOU LOVE SPICY, TRY THE SERRANO PEPPER!
At Gardenprue we are very fond of growing chili peppers and, of course, eating them. Many varieties of great heat have passed through us (including habaneros of various categories) and they only increase our appetite and taste for them. Today we are talking about a different one, the serrano chili , a well-known variety of chili that you can also grow (as an ornamental, if you want) in your garden. Let’s go there!
HOW IS THE CHILE SERRANO?
Well, it is practically not necessary to describe it since from the photos we already see the shape, size and color it has. It has the appearance of the typical chilli or chili.
To know its itchiness, recognized through the Scoville scale (take a look, it is a very curious classification), it is between 10,000 and 23,000 Scoville units. If, for example, we compare it with other types of chili such as jalapeño (one of the best known worldwide), the serrano pepper would be around 2 to 4 times more spicy. Interesting, right?
This type of chili or chilli is well known and consumed in Mexico, one of the countries with the most custom and tradition for spicy.
Among the peculiarities it has is that it is harvested when it is green and with a smooth skin (practically like a green pepper). Once it matures, it follows the same physiological system as the pepper, it turns red and its flavor “sweetens.”
The serrano chili is usually consumed fresh, although it can also be part of dishes. We particularly chop it up with the knife and add it to dishes that are heavy, meat stews and very protein (then be careful with touching the eye or wearing contact lenses, it has already happened to us!).
SERRANO PEPPER CULTIVATION
You don’t have to go out of your way (as they say in the native country of this chilli) to grow it. Starting from logic, we will follow the same cultivation schemes for peppers or other chili peppers, since all these varieties belong to the Capsicum genus .
The good thing about these types of chilies, if they do not grow much, is that they can be had in pots at home. We are giving watering care, good substrate and lighting (remember that it is a nightshade) and we are taking the chillies directly from the plant as we need them. Selfservice with a super fresh product. What more could you want?
Although the serrano pepper becomes quite large (it can exceed one meter in height), it can be given a chance to have it in the patio or at home. They are very grateful plants and do not usually have excessive problems.
We want to develop a chilli with a good spicy content (capsaicin), crunchy and with a good thickness of meat. Ok, let’s start by selecting a good type of substrate.
Regardless of whether it is grown in the open field or in a pot, said soil or substrate must be light, with good drainage (this is achieved with a good mixture of soil, compost and sand).
We are not going to fall short with the incorporation of compost or any other type of organic matter, but we will never have to apply fertilizers continuously, and less if they have a high percentage of nitrogen.
HOW, HOW MUCH AND WHEN TO WATER
Solanaceae, due to their size, their vegetation, the climate and the time in which they are grown, need high doses of irrigation. Although the amount should not be excessive, the frequency should be more important. Always playing with the drainage capacity of the substrate.
You already know that it is not worth watering until the water stays on the edge of the pot and then seeps into the plate, remaining stagnant for days. That will only suffocate the roots.
The plant will turn yellow and we will think that it lacks water, which will aggravate the problem when we try to solve it.
Pieces of ceramic or tile as a separation between plate and pot are always ideal to avoid puddled waters. We saw it in the article on water and irrigation. You can have a look.
There is no specific calendar for when to water. This depends on the substrate , its retention and filtration capacity. In addition, the weather also counts. Often the surface part of the earth will dry up (and we will think that it is necessary to add water) when the interior is still wet and there will be no need to water.
Very simple: experiment, see, check and act.
GERMINATING THE SERRANO PEPPER
There is a huge movement in the chili fan network. They look for new varieties, try things they haven’t tasted yet, exchange seeds, etc. This gives us the opportunity to acquire, at a very low cost, envelopes with a large quantity of chili and chilli seeds . They are usually very small so they can fit many per envelope.
The way to proceed when sowing the serrano pepper is in sheltered pots or in warm beds. Follow the bell pepper calendar .
We will need a good temperature so that the seed can germinate. Temperatures above 20 ºC will be enough to see the plant in a matter of weeks. It has a germination power so there will not be excessive problems when obtaining your plant “from scratch”.
VARIETIES OF SERRANO PEPPER
From original serrano peppers , hybrids have emerged that give it new properties. Perhaps spicier, longer shelf life, greater resistance to pests and diseases, more meat, etc.
- Tampiqueño 74
However, the list is more extensive.
SOME PESTS AND DISEASES
It may present us with some inconveniences. Nothing unusual, they are usually the same problems that accompany most crops of this nature ( Solanaceae ).
Among the pests may be:
- White fly
- Leaf miners
- Red spider (very typical of peppers)
Among the diseases we can find:
- Phytophthora spp (causa el llamado Dumping off)
- Moho blanco (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum)
- Gray rot (Botrytis cinerea )
We hope to see the followers of chillies and spicy in general commenting and with activity on social networks 😉 We will be preparing more articles on chili peppers. We love! All the best. .