For a new twist on peppers, try growing the Polish ‘Etiuda' sweet bell pepper.
The 'Etiuda' orange bell pepper is properly named “Study”. If you studied all the appropriate qualities of a bell pepper, this pepper would be the result. I have rarely tasted a sweet bell pepper that was actually sweet in flavor! This delightful pepper hails from the Polish seed house PNOS Ozarow Mazowiecki.
'Etiuda' is an open-pollinated heirloom type of Capsicum annuum. The bright orange color is an inviting aspect of this pepper. When I saw this pepper for the first time, I was intrigued. After I tasted the sweet, crunchy goodness, I was hooked!
The seeds are easy enough to start. Sow in seed flats or cell trays at 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I use thermostatically controlled heat mats to supply the temperature that peppers enjoy. After the shoots break soil, drop the temperature to 70 degrees. The lower temperature will keep the plants short and stocky. Make sure you supply the proper amount of light to keep your seedlings from stretching. A good south window or artificial lights kept one inch from the foliage will help develop strong plants. Correct temperature and adequate light is the key for success in growing plants in the nightshade family.
From seed to transplant takes 50 to 60 days. I usually start my seedlings by the middle of March for my area (Missouri, Ozarks). The plants are ready to go into the ground by the end of May when the soil begins to warm (60 degrees). Red or black plastic or black weed cloth will hasten the soil warming process, plus cut down on pernicious weeds! Another 45 days will produce green peppers. Waiting 20 more days will yield those bright orange sweet delights.
I trialed 'Etiuda' in my hoop house this past summer and fall. I never would have believed a sweet pepper could take 120 degree temperatures! I expect tolerance from hot peppers but was amazed that 'Etuida' could thrive in that much heat! It turns out, the seed company PNOS Ozarow Mazowiecki, recommends this variety to be grown in unheated grow tunnels for optimum production. As an example, two plants were dug up from outside the hoop house and planted inside. These two plants immediately surged ahead of those grown outside.
Typically, this variety grows a 2 to 2-1/2 foot plant (which should be staked). The spacing is 15 to 20 inches in rows 2 to 3 feet apart or 18 inches apart in raised beds. The plants will produce medium to large peppers that weigh 4 to 6-1/2 ounces. The fruit is thick walled and juicy with a distinctive sweet flavor. The 4 to 5 lobed fruit has a slight corrugated texture. The seed cavity is generous with few seeds. 'Etiuda freezes' and dries well plus makes a wonderful addition to salads and other culinary wonders.
All of the traits of 'Etiud'a have made this pepper a permanent choice in my garden. Why don’t you give it a try! You will not be disappointed!
Art Davidson has been a horticulturist for 40 years. His education and additional certifications include ornamental horticulture, agronomy, ISA Certified Arborist, Integrated Pest Management, and Master Gardener. His experience includes growing vegetable, herb and flower transplants, hanging baskets, holiday crops, ornamentals, tropicals, field crops, woody ornamentals and trees. He started gardening as a child and he still gets excited when seeds break soil and start to grow!
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