Pepper Flavor

Question: This year I grew ‘Ace’ pepper plants, which produced many, many fruits. Unfortunately the peppers were bitter, and I threw them all on the compost pile. Is it the soil?

Oakland, ME

Answer: ‘Ace’, a very popular deep bell pepper hybrid, produces well and relatively early. Bitterness of the fruit is a cultural problem. There may have been insufficient moisture, improper soil pH (6.5 is optimum; it should never be lower than 5.8 or higher than 6.9), or a soil-nutrient deficiency or imbalance.

If watering was equivalent to one inch of rainfall a week (two inches if the soil is very sandy), call your cooperative-extension soil-testing laboratory. Ask for directions on submitting a soil sample for a pH reading, a complete nutrient analysis, and recommendations for making the necessary adjustments for growing peppers.

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