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Pepper, Sweet, California Wonder

Short Description

HEIRLOOM. The standard bell pepper.

Full Description

HEIRLOOM. The standard bell pepper for many decades, this 1928 introduction is still the largest open-pollinated, heirloom bell you can grow. A perfect stuffing pepper-blocky 4" x 3 1/2", thick-walled, tender and flavorful. Certified Organic Seed.
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Item#: 60816A
Order: 1 Pkt. (300 seeds)
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$4.95
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Item#: 22051
Order: 3 Plants
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$16.95
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Product properties

Days To Maturity null

75 days

Fruit Size null

4 inches

Sun null

Full Sun

Spread null

12 inches

Height null

18-24 inches

Sow Method null

Indoor Sow

Planting Time null

Spring

Sow Time null

8-12 weeks BLF

Thin null

24 inches

Life Cycle null

Annual

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  • How to Sow and Plant

    • Only home gardeners who enjoy long growing seasons in the Deep South should attempt to sow pepper seeds directly in the vegetable garden. Most of us must start our own pepper plants indoors about 8-10 weeks before transplanting, which should be done 2-3 weeks after the expected last frost.
    • Sow seeds ¼ inch deep in seed-starting formula
    • Keep the soil moist at 75 degrees F
    • Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days
    • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
    • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
    • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
    • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

    Planting in the Garden:

    • To get an early start with your pepper plants, particularly in the North, cover the prepared bed with a dark colored polyethylene mulch at least a week before transplanting. This will heat the soil beneath and provide a better growing condition for young pepper plants. The mulch will also help the soil retain moisture throughout the season as the pepper plants grow.
    • Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil. Make sure you did not grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes in the bed the previous year to avoid disease problems.
    • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
    • Peppers should be set 18 inches apart in a row with the rows spaced 2-3 feet inches apart.
    • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball. 
    • Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development. 
    • Fill the planting hole with soil to the top and press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water. 
    • Use the plant tag as a location marker. This is particularly important if you are trying different varieties. It is very difficult to tell which variety is which from the foliage.  
    • Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.
    • Peppers may also be planted in containers. Use a container at least 18-24 inches wide and deep and use a commercial potting mix rather than garden soil.

    How to Grow

    • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. 
    • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. This is especially important for peppers as their roots may be easily damaged when weeding, and this can lead to blossom end rot.
    • Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2" of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
    • Note that hot peppers tend to be hotter when they have less water and fertilizer. If they receive plenty of water and fertilizer they may be more mild than expected.
    • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
    • Try planting pepper plants near tomatoes, parsley, basil, and carrots in your home vegetable garden. Don't plant them near fennel or kohlrabi. Peppers are very colorful when in full fruit and combine well with green herbs, okra, beans and cucumber fences in the garden bed.

    Harvesting and Preserving Tips

    • Like cucumbers and summer squash, peppers are usually harvested at an immature stage. The traditional bell pepper, for example, is harvested green, even though most varieties will mature red, orange, or yellow. Peppers may be harvested at any stage, but their flavor doesn’t fully develop until maturity. Fully ripe peppers in multi-colors are delightful in the garden as well as in salads.
    • Cut the fruit from the plant with a sharp knife or pruners leaving a small part of the stem attached.
    • Sweet bell, pimento and cherry peppers are delicious eaten green but are sweeter and higher in vitamins if allowed to turn bright red before harvest. Some varieties are yellow at maturity or may mature from green through yellow and red.
    • Hot peppers may be harvested at any stage. Anaheim is usually picked green and cayenne types red.
    • Bell peppers may be chopped and quick frozen for use in many recipes; sweet cherry and banana peppers and hot cherry peppers are perfect for pickling.
    • A popular and trouble-free way to store hot peppers is to dry them. String mature red peppers by piercing the stem with a needle and heavy thread. Hang the string in a warm, dry, airy place (not in the sun!) to dry. They can make a colorful kitchen accent. Pull a pepper from the string when you need one. Hot peppers remain hot even after they are dried. Remember that in recipes a little hot pepper can go a long way.
    • Please note that hot peppers can burn sensitive skin on contact and fumes from grinding or cooking them can irritate the lungs and eyes. When working with hot peppers use rubber gloves and wash your hands before touching your face or eyes.
  • Days To Maturity
    75 days
    Fruit Size
    4 inches
    Sun
    Full Sun
    Spread
    12 inches
    Height
    18-24 inches
    Sow Method
    Indoor Sow
    Planting Time
    Spring
    Sow Time
    8-12 weeks BLF
    Thin
    24 inches
    Life Cycle
    Annual
  • Pepper, Sweet, California Wonder is rated 4.2667 out of 5 by 15.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from California wonder Although it takes a lot of heat to get these to germinate indoors, I would say that they are worth growing, this is my third year with them. I often forget to check them so I always have a ton of peppers on my plants, and that's always a nice surprise. I plant them alongside my tomatoes, they tend to get shaded out by mid summer, but still do well. I'm growing some this year to give to my aunt. They won't be in my garden this year because I want to make room for other things, but they are a nice plant and are nice to look at as well. YouTube also has a lot of gardeners who grow California wonder peppers and there are a lot of tips and tricks to growing them to their best potential. For instance, you can pot these up to their bottom leaves and they'll grow roots from their stems like tomatoes. I tried it this year and have the biggest indoor pepper starts I've ever had.
    Date published: 2015-05-04
    Rated 1 out of 5 by from No Yield I bought 3 plants and planted them in the garden at the end of May. They were very slow to get started but are now 2-3 feet high and well set with leaves. (October) There is one problem, I have only gotten 2 peppers total off 3 plants and I see no more buds. I cannot recommend this variety.
    Date published: 2013-10-08
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not bad or great I grew these peppers for the first time this year. The plants have been healthy just not as productive or large as my other pepper varieties. I have friends that swear by these and grow them every year. I am going to try a couple more next year, but it wont be my big pepper crop. I am also going to keep this years plants overwinter and re-plant (peppers are perennial when overwintered) maybe they'll take off next year. Peppers have thick, sweet skin with a nice crunch, also good for juicing- that's why I am not giving up!
    Date published: 2013-09-01
    Rated 1 out of 5 by from I think my peppers starts came w/ bacterial spot I ordered pepper sparts. I'm growing them in (brand new) containers w/ 3:1 miracle grow potting mix to perlite. Within ~ 1 week, one of the peppers started to have yellow spots w/ brown centers. I thought it might have been a little sun burn from being moved outside and didn't do anything. Now all 3 plants are clearly distressed at ~ 3 weeks of transplanting,. Spots are primarily at the center and base of the leaves not on the edges like fertilizer burn. Are these peppers certified disease free? What is their resistance level? Is it from my soil? Tomatoes planted w/ the same soil at the same time are currently thriving. Could it be something else?
    Date published: 2013-06-15
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Producer - Perfect Size Started these indoors, then transplanted outside in loose soil with a little sulfer in decent soil. Had more peppers than knew what to do with. Good stuffing size. They produced for a couple months before the frost. No fertilizer needed - just water.
    Date published: 2013-03-18
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good plants, but no peppers! Germination rates were excellent. Produced beautiful and bushy plants. Yet for some reason hasn’t been producing any peppers. But I know I have got this variety from the nursery in previous years and had pretty good luck with them then. I will have to try growing these from seed again next year and see if I get any peppers.
    Date published: 2012-08-18
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good pepper Grew great had some stuffed peppers the other day. Awesome Pepper!!!!!!!
    Date published: 2012-07-07
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Bell Pepper Experience I bought California Wonder seeds in January 2011. I planted 18 seeds in a Burpee seed starting tray indoors. All of the seeds germinated within 21 days and grew in the seed starting tray for 2 months or until each plant had developed two sets of leaves. Then I transplanted them into 16 oz Solo Cups, where they grew for another six weeks while waiting for overnight temperatures above 50 degrees. Finally, I transplanted them into 2 quart plastic containers. All the plants are growing vigorously and have started flowering and producing peppers. I expect to start harvesting in about 4 weeks. It is pretty amazing to not have a single failure. I will definately plant these seeds again next year. I am a container gardener on my 3rd floor apartment balcony.
    Date published: 2011-07-06
    • 2016-02-09T06:23CST
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