The first Pimento de Padron harvest around here is anticipated nearly as much as the first tomato and, thankfully, we don't have to wait as long for the Padrons as for the tomatoes. Generally, the first Padron harvest comes well before the first green tomato has even shown it's face (and likely a catfaced one at that...).
Here's four of my Padron plants in the tomato/pepper bed.
A couple more are in pots near the house, along with some Shishito and Fushimi peppers. These are some of the plants that the rats were keeping trimmed for me until I covered the plants with light weight row cover and started setting traps in the area. A number of the pesky rodents that have wandered into the area have been eliminated from the local population now and I've been taking my chances with keeping the plants uncovered for the last few days. No new pruning by rodents so far...
I'm taking few chances with Padron production this year since last year was absolutely dismal. The plants were not happy where they were growing and never produced much. So, this year I've got four plants in the garden bed, two in pots near the house, and six more in pots out in the garden. Some of the plants have got to produce!
Pictured below is a pepper that is ready to pick. Padron peppers are eaten very young before they have the slightest chance to ripen and not much of a chance to get spicy, although every once in a while one of them will take your tongue by surprise - pepper roulette! But I've found that the odds of getting a mild pepper remain in your favor if the plants lead relatively stress free lives by keeping them well fed and well watered.
If the plants are happy and you don't let any peppers ripen then you can pick crop after crop until the end of the season. These are a great pepper to grow in a mild climate like mine where it can be difficult to get large sweet peppers to mature in a timely manner. The other two peppers that I mentioned before, Shishito and Fushimi, are also varieties that are best harvested as babies.
I'm sure that a lot of you are thinking "yuck, green peppers, I don't like green peppers" and I am in total agreement with you if you're referring to green bell peppers - yucky tasting to begin with and they seem to keep coming back at you for hours afterward, if you get my meaning. But wait, you've never had a fried green Padron! I've converted every green pepper hater that has dared to try a Padron into a Padron addict. Best of all, they are so easy to prepare, just toss them in a hot pan with some olive oil and saute them until they start to blister and get brown spots, then serve them hot out of the pan with a dash of good coarse sea salt. Don't turn your back on the serving bowl for long or you may not get your fair share.
Look, here they are, the first 11 peppers - 5 for you honey and 5 for me - we'll have to arm wrestle for the last one...