Many people have ornamental gardens. And that’s great, but I would really love to see more people growing edible crops.
That’s why I get so excited when I come across edible plants that are very ornamental. Because if people don’t grow food because they think food plants are ugly, these ornamental edibles might change their mind. They might even grow edibles just because of how pretty they are!
Jigsaw pepper is one of those plants that can change minds.
A Stunning Plant
The Jigsaw pepper plant is tricolour variegated, meaning the leaves have three colours. It has a gorgeous combination of dark green, purple, and white. Each leaf is splotched with colour, and I think that this is one of the prettiest plants I’ve ever grown. Every time I dig out my camera to go and get pictures of the garden, I find myself taking endless photos of this beautiful foliage.
The plants stay quite compact (only about one foot tall and wide), and are loaded with tiny peppers.
The peppers are showy too: They start off dark purple, changing colour as they ripen, turning from green, to pale yellow, to orange, and finally red.
In the Kitchen
This is a spicy pepper! I would recommend adding a bit to dishes for heat, or turning it into a preserve such as a pepper jelly.
Make sure to let the beautiful colours of this pepper shine in your cooking!
Grow Your Own
This pepper is grown like any other. Start indoors in late winter. Transplant it outdoors when there is no more risk of frost.
In the garden, peppers benefit from some extra heat, so think about using black plastic mulch. I grow most of my peppers on my garage rooftop because they thrive with the extra heat up there.
Where to Get it
Jigsaw pepper is available from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. [https://www.rareseeds.com/store/vegetables/new-items-2020/jigsaw-pepper]
Emma Biggs is a 13-year-old gardener and garden communicator. Emma raised over 130 tomato varieties in her Toronto garden in 2018—gardening in containers, in straw bales on a driveway, in a neighbour’s yard, in wicking beds under a walnut tree, and on the garage roof. Her garden is the source of many of her stories—and the source of produce that she sells in her neighborhood. In 2015, at the age of nine, Emma co-authored of Grow Gardeners, Kid-Tested Gardening with Children with her father and started helping him at garden talks and workshops. For the past couple of years, Emma has been giving her own talks at libraries, seed exchanges, garden clubs, and garden shows. Emma is the co-host of The Garage Gardeners Radio Show. She hosts kids gardening videos on the From Dirt to Dishes gardening channel on YouTube. Her latest book, Gardening with Emma, helps kids find the fun in gardening (and helps adults remember how much fun gardening is!)