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Growing NM Chiles in Santa Fe

We’re proud of our chiles in New Mexico! While you wait in anticipation for the roasters that set up in late summer (oh that smell!) you can actually start growing your own at home.

  • Chile is a warm season crop that requires a long season to mature fully. Because they do not thrive at temperatures below 60 F, you may want to consider starting them in hooped beds during the early season before June 1. Or you can buy healthy green chile plants directly from Newman’s Nursery, ready to plant. This will save you considerable time and assure an accelerated timeline for growing.
  • Plant in full sun. As mentioned, chiles like it hot. Water so that the soil remains moist a few inches down, but not waterlogged.
  • Green chiles will take 120 days to be ready to pick, so plan this into the frost schedule. If you want the chiles to mature into red, you will need about 165 days. Depending on the year, you may not have enough time to get a good red crop.
  • According to New Mexico State University (an excellent source for New Mexico plant knowledge, btw) chiles do best in well-drained, medium-textured sandy loam. If you have sand in your yard, you can use some of it in your chile bed along with loamy soil.
  • A light application of phosphorous-type fertilizers can help young seedlings grow and strengthen during the spring, but isn’t needed if you soil phosphorous levels are already good. Applying a nitrogen fertilizer while the plants are fruiting can improve yields.
  • Chiles can be susceptible to pests, so ask our experts which products are best to deter them.
  • When your chiles are ready to harvest, use a sharp knife or scissors to avoid pulling a branch off. You may consider wearing gloves to keep any of the hot oils off of your hands, too. It’s very unpleasant to wipe your eyes when you have chile residue on them.

And don’t forget flats of chile plants are on sale for $15 right now!