Choosing a Bell Pepper Variety for the Home Garden
By Nate Dalman, Horticulture Researcher II
One experiment we had at WCROC this year was trialing four common bell pepper varieties against each other to determine which, if any, variety would have the best production for the home gardener. The varieties used were Ace, Archimedes, Currier and Lady Bell. These varieties were chosen because of their differences in being resistant to a root rot and a leaf spot disease. Ace and Lady Bell are not resistant while Archimedes and Currier are. The plants were grown in the soil, not containers, and the data we collected was based on the four harvests we had over the growing season. The following are our findings.
In terms of marketable yield in pounds, over the whole season, each variety produced about the same amount. However, Ace produced little during the beginning and middle of the growing season but then began producing heavily late in the season. Archimedes and Currier produced steadily all season long while Lady Bell started off slow, peaked mid season and then dropped off again.
The number of peppers produced showed some big differences. Archimedes and Currier produced similar amounts, Lady Bell produced about a third more and Ace had the highest production with about two thirds more than Archimedes and Currier. Since they all had similar yields, this means that Ace produced more but smaller peppers, Archimedes and Currier produced the least but the largest peppers and Lady Bell was in the middle.
Based on our findings, Archimedes and Currier are our recommendation for steady season long production of large peppers. If quantity is more important to you than the size of the fruit or the steady production, then Ace would be a good option for your garden. Finally, if you’re looking for a medium sized pepper with a peak production during mid season, Lady Bell will work well for you. This data also indicates that no matter what variety you choose, a disease resistant variety will produce larger peppers at a steady pace.