I hope you’re saving the date of August 22nd for this year's Iron ChileHead Beerfest! If you’ve attended in the past, you know this is an event you don't want to miss. The Bolzen Beer Band with their party punk polka, regional craft breweries and local food trucks competing for the coveted Iron Chile Head trophy, and an official stein hoisting competition all make this the most fun event we host every summer.  

Our chile season wouldn’t happen without my favorite fruit from the garden - chile peppers. I call peppers the ‘Legal Addiction’. If I'm being honest, I don’t miss too many meals without some type of chile. Jalapeño potato chips, roasted red pepper hummus - if it says pepper on the package I go for it. Chile Verde on eggs in the morning is a regular. Green chile in BBQ beans or pasta sauce brings a deeper flavor to the dish. Originally, I always went with hot peppers. The hotter the better, or so I thought. I have to admit, I was misinformed. Chiles do not need to be hot to be delicious.
By now, you probably know the story about Hatch Green Chile. They are green chiles that are grown in southern New Mexico (the Chile Capital of the World). This particular chile has thicker walls, a great taste and about any heat level you can handle is available.  

All this said, did you know you can grow fantastic peppers in your backyard? Peppers are one of the easiest and most reliable vegetables you can grow at home. Very few, if any, pests (insects or diseases) bother these sun loving plants. With plants producing until frost, you’ll enjoy months of fruit from the plants. I always plant a container or two of jalapeño peppers on the patio just to have a pepper ready whenever I like. Just like tomatoes, I plant a var iety of peppers to suit a var iety of taste preferences. Here are my go-to var ieties:

Mucho Nacho is a my favorite jalapeño type pepper. With up to 4" long fruits grown on vigorous plants, they are the heaviest producer I’ve found. 
Mexibell is a bell pepper with a kick! 
Tricked You or Fooled You has NO heat and all the flavor of a jalapeño.
Colorful bell peppers such as Purple or Chocolate Beauty, and Orange Blaze always make a colorful addition to any dish.
Big Jim is my favorite ‘Hatch’ type chile pepper for Kansas. 
Bell BoyCalifornia Wonder and Better Belle bell pepper var ieties always do well in my garden.

Jeremy mentioned Shishito peppers to me awhile back. It's a mild pepper that 1 in 10 has a bit of heat (less heat than a jalapeño). I found a bag of Shishitos last week at the grocery store; I had to try them. It turns out, they are so easy to prepare! I grilled mine with a bit of EVOO for about 10 minutes, turned them a couple of times and sprinkled them with salt. They were delicious! I did find a hot pepper or two, but none that made me grab a glass of milk to wash it down. I’m definitely going to plant a dozen or so for my garden.

My advice for great peppers is the same as last week for tomatoes. Make sure they get a lot of good sun, get the plants started with Fox Farm Tiger Bloom or ferti-lome Blooming and Rooting, and keep them fed with ferti-lome Gardener’s Special monthly. Give them a mulch with straw, and you’ll be good.

A lot of friends are asking me if it’s time to plant. I’m thinking now is a good time with no frost in the forecast. I’m going for it and planting all of my summer crops, tomatoes, peppers, vine crops, okra and eggplant.
Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson