While the snow blizzards are still raging outside the window and the fierce frosts are trying to freeze the soul, the soul is already singing in anticipation of spring, and for gardeners and gardeners the hottest time is slowly coming - to choose and sow seeds of the most important vegetable crops on seedlings, without which the site will be lonely and lonely - tomatoes and peppers. If we are talking about February, then the time has not yet come for sowing the seeds of most tomatoes, but it is time to sow many peppers. But first, you need to choose the variety that is most suitable for your site and for your growing conditions.
But this is a very difficult task, because in any seed store, the colorful pictures on the bags start to get dizzy and the choice is incredibly difficult to make. Only 30-40 years ago, in the 70-80s, the choice of sweet pepper seeds for planting was limited to only three or four names: Gift of Moldova, Swallow, Californian miracle and Tenderness. And after all, these old varieties, having survived all the most difficult times, are still popular with gardeners and are successfully grown in the vastness of our entire giant country. Probably, this is no accident, and something valuable and reliable should be in them. Therefore, in this article we will focus on a rather old, but nevertheless not forgotten variety of sweet or bell peppers - Tenderness, the description and characteristics of which will be presented to your attention. As a result, you will be able to conclude whether this variety of pepper is suitable for your conditions or not.
Description of the variety
Back in 1982, breeders of the Institute of Plant Genetic Resources. Vavilov, located in St. Petersburg, brought out a new variety of sweet pepper and named it Tenderness. Perhaps because in those years the song of the same name by A. Pakhmutova was at the peak of popularity, and, possibly, because of the delicate properties of the peel and pulp of pepper fruits. One way or another, but in 1986 the pepper of the Tenderness variety was officially entered into the State Register of Russia and began to spread throughout the country. At present, pepper seeds of this variety are mainly supplied by the production and trading company "Euro-seeds", which is also one of the originators.
In those days, the cultivation of sweet peppers in the open field was common only in the southern regions of the country. There were no polycarbonate greenhouses yet, and glass ones were too expensive. In the middle lane, and even more so in the north or in Siberia, some single enthusiasts tried to grow sweet bell peppers in film tunnels or homemade greenhouses, which, judging by the reviews, they were quite successful. Indeed, Tenderness pepper was recommended for growing indoors even in the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions, as well as on Sakhalin, Kamchatka and in the Primorsky Territory. And in those days, words were not thrown into the wind. It turns out that this variety can tolerate some shading, and grows well under the condition of long daylight hours. Also, the variety of pepper Tenderness is quite adapted to short-term drops in temperature, as well as to rather strong temperature extremes.
All these properties still allow it to be widely used in the so-called zones of risky farming.
It is interesting that the southern regions of modern Russia were not indicated in the recommendations for cultivation, because at that time there were interesting varieties for them: Gift of Moldova, California miracle. And the Tenderness pepper was bred specifically in order to satisfy the needs of northern gardeners for growing bell peppers on their plots.
Bushes of the Tenderness variety, although they are standard and limited in growth, can reach a height of 120-140 cm. These powerful plants with a thick central stem have strong, outstretched, well-branching stems with medium-sized leaves.
Due to the peculiarities of growth, they require special pruning and shaping, which will be discussed in more detail later.
The variety Tenderness is usually referred to as mid-early peppers, that is, on average, the period from the emergence of seedlings to the technical maturity of the fruits is 105-115 days, but under especially favorable conditions, ripening can begin even after 90-95 days from the moment of full germination.
The yield of the Tenderness variety strongly depends on how conscientiously you can treat the procedure for forming a bush. If you do not find the time or energy to carry out this care procedure, then from one bush you can get only about 1-1.5 kg of peppers. With proper formation, the yield can be increased several times and the pepper will ripen much faster than without pruning.
Pepper's resistance to diseases and pests. Tenderness is average, but again, correct pruning will help improve ventilation of the bushes and prevent the penetration and spread of infection and villains-pests.
But, as already discussed above, the Tenderness variety has increased endurance and resistance to weather conditions that are unfavorable for the development of peppers.
Pepper fruits of the Tenderness variety are characterized by the following characteristics:
- The shape of the peppers is standard - conical, but often takes the form of a truncated cone. Although they are supposed to droop by the standard for sweet peppers, peppers of this variety often grow and hold their tops up for quite a long time before bending under their weight. This form of growth is a bit like how hot peppers usually grow.
- The fruits are medium in size, reach 15 cm in length, the weight of one pepper ranges from 100 to 150 grams.
- At the stage of technical maturity, the color of the peppers is light green, as it ripens, it first becomes orange and then bright red.
- The skin is tender and thin, and the flesh is also quite juicy.
- The average wall thickness is 6-7 mm. For the old variety, these numbers are quite significant.
- The taste characteristics of the fruit are excellent. The peppers are sweet, with a subtle mustard aftertaste, and aromatic.
- In terms of application, the fruits of this variety can be called universal. According to the reviews of housewives, they are most often used for stuffing.
Pepper seeds Tenderness can be sown for seedlings at home from the second half of February to mid-March. Usually pepper seeds germinate for a long time - 2-3 weeks.
Advice! If you want to speed up the emergence of seedlings, it is recommended to soak the seeds before planting for a day in one of the growth stimulant solutions or at least in warm melt water.
Pepper shoots appear most quickly at a temperature of + 25 ° + 27 ° C. But after the emergence of seedlings, it is advisable to place the sprouts in a well-lit and cooler place with normal room temperature so that the seedlings do not stretch out and develop harmoniously. A pick or transplant in separate cups is carried out when two true leaves are formed in plants.
A couple of weeks after transplanting, pepper seedlings can be fed for the first time with a humate solution (for 10 liters of water, 20-25 ml of humate). As soon as the young pepper plants reach 15-20 cm and start branching, shrub formation can begin.
Shaping and trimming
For tall varieties of pepper, which include Tenderness, shaping and pruning are necessary, since they allow you to solve several problems at once:
- Removing the excess vegetative mass, which takes nutrients from the fruit, allows the peppers to reduce the ripening time, increase the yield and grow larger fruits.
- Thinning the aboveground mass improves the illumination of the remaining parts of the bush and allows air currents to circulate freely inside the bushes, preventing pests and infections from multiplying.
Correct formation is usually carried out in several stages and begins at the stage of growing seedlings.
After the first branch is formed on the seedlings, the first bud usually begins to form in its fork. Sometimes there are several of them. Botanists call this bud a crown one and it is customary to remove it (or them) so that later the branching of peppers and the laying of buds take place in an optimal way.
Important! If you need to collect your seeds from the Tenderness pepper, then the crown bud is left on one or two bushes, since it is in its fruit that the healthiest seeds are formed, which are best allowed for further propagation.
When planting seedlings of Tenderness pepper in the ground in a permanent place, no more than 3-4 plants are left per square meter.
The first branches that grow from branching are called skeletal, or first-order shoots - they will form the main skeleton of the pepper bush in the future. They, in turn, will also start branching. Each time in the process of formation of two new shoots, only one of them is left for growth - the strongest. The other is carefully removed, leaving the leaf and ovary below.
This method of formation is called two-stem guidance, and it is the most optimal for growing tall peppers in greenhouses in northern latitudes.
Each week, it is also necessary to gradually remove one or two leaves from the lower part of the trunk, so that, in the end, only one bare trunk remains below the first fork of the stems.
Attention! Pruning and leaf removal should be done gradually. Do not remove too many shoots and leaves from the pepper at a time.
During development, additional leaves and shoots will again begin to form on the stems below the ramifications. They also need to be removed very gradually, especially those that obscure the resulting fruit.
The shaping procedure also includes tying tall bushes to supports or trellises and removing yellow and dry leaves.
To form decent yields, Tenderness pepper will also require regular watering and feeding.
Reviews of gardeners
Many gardeners grow Tenderness pepper, because their mothers and grandmothers grew it, for others, this particular variety can not only survive, but also bear fruit in difficult northern conditions. The reviews of everyone who came across this variety of pepper are mostly positive.
Maria, 29 years old, Kostroma
I heard about Tenderness pepper from my grandmother - she hardly recognizes modern varieties and hybrids at all. I found and ordered seeds via the Internet. On the site we have two greenhouses - in one of them I planted the seedlings of Tenderness. It developed normally, without any special complaints, in terms of demand, it was no different, in my opinion, from tomatoes. Quite a lot of buds were formed, but they developed slowly, even despite watering and feeding. But still, by August, about a dozen peppers had formed on the bush. Some of them even managed to blush. I quite liked the variety.
Raisa, 53 years old, Kirov region
I have a long experience of gardening, I have tried many varieties in my life. Of the peppers in our northern conditions, little grows. I settled on three varieties - Bogatyr, Health and Tenderness. They are guaranteed to produce a harvest every year, grow not very large in height, and the fruits have time to ripen. If you plant seeds for seedlings around the middle of February, then from the middle of July you can harvest already ripe peppers. And they bear fruit until the very cold. I grow them on a raised, warm bed under the arcs, on which I stretch the spunbond, if that.
Victor, 47 years old, Ulyanovsk
We grew Tenderness pepper last season. Such an interesting variety - if an ordinary pepper hangs with its heads down, then this one seems to be standing up. It ripens well, it is very convenient to collect it, because the stalk is short and breaks off easily. And the whole family liked it for the taste - really softer than many other varieties.
Pepper Tenderness, being a really old proven variety, is unlikely to let you down even in the most difficult growing conditions. Its external and taste qualities are not much inferior to modern varieties, therefore, for growing in greenhouses in the northern regions, it is the most suitable option.