CAPSICUM annuum 'Garden Salsa'( Longum Group)
Plant Common Name
Chile Pepper, Garden Salsa Pepper
The large, abundantly produced, relatively mild-flavored fruits of 'Garden Salsa' are excellent in salsas and sauces. This virus-resistant F1 hybrid was introduced in 1993 by Petoseed, Saticoy, California. Like many hot peppers, it is a member of the Longum group, which encompasses poblanos, serranos, jalapenos, cayenne peppers and various other chilis. These annual vegetables descend from varieties that were grown and selected by Native Americans for thousands of years.
The bushy, knee-high plants bear thin, oval, dark green leaves on stiff brittle stems. Inconspicuous white flowers appear in warm weather, followed by long, pendent, narrowly conical fruits with thick, moderately pungent, dark green flesh that ripens to red. The hollow, chambered interior is divided by spongy ribbing that holds many small, flattened, rounded seeds, which are hotter than the fruit's flesh. Fruits may be harvested green or allowed to mature to full color and pungency.
This pepper grows easily in favorable garden conditions, and makes an ornamental and flavorful addition to container plantings. Full sun, warmth, ample spacing, and fertile well-drained soil are required for good growth and fruit production. Harvest of green 'Garden Salsa' peppers begins about 70 days after seedlings are planted, with fruits ripening to red about 15 days later. Harvest continues until hard frost, or into winter in frost-free conditions. Vascular wilts and fungal diseases can be a problem in subpar conditions. This variety is resistant to pepper mild mottle virus and potato yellowing virus.
Pinch off early flower buds to encourage stronger branching and roots. Heavily fruiting plants may break apart under the weight if not staked for support. Harvest ripe fruit daily to encourage new blossoms to form.
Hot peppers get their heat from the compound capsaicin – the higher its concentration, the hotter the pepper. Capsaicin concentration is measured and expressed in Scoville units. The Scoville rating of 'Garden Salsa' is 2500 to 3500 units, comparable to a mild jalapeno. For more information about the Scoville Scale see http://www.chilliworld.com/FactFile/Scoville_Scale.asp