June 23, 2017

My mom is in Florida visiting family and friends so I thought, while she is away, I’d share my harvest. This summer I decided to grow scotch bonnet peppers for the first time! Yesterday it was time to pick my peppers. I’m looking forward to using them in a recipe soon, and I’ll be sharing some with  my mother.


If you want to grow a “Jamaican garden” must-haves include scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, tomatoes, green onions and callaloo. What I mean by a Jamaican garden is one that includes ingredients used in a lot of Jamaican recipes and can be grown in most places, not just the tropics.


A handful of scotch bonnet peppers from my garden

Scotch bonnet peppers are easy to grow. I found they need little care or attention.  However, similar to tomatoes, they need a long, hot growing season. You can germinate seeds in spring, however, I “cheated” and bought seedlings.


I didn’t do anything special other than water my plants. Soon they were growing by leaps and bounds. First there were blossoms and then small peppers.  Initially the peppers were green but, as you can see in my photos, my peppers soon became a fiery orange and red. I didn’t have any bug problems, but you should know that slugs and snails are not put off by the fiery flavour of chillies.


My late harvest cherry tomatoes. Better late than never

I’ve been told that my plants will continue producing scotch bonnets into autumn, if kept in stable growing conditions. And, it’s not unusual to be picking the last few in November. I still have a lot of green peppers that haven’t hinted at turning red so I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll see a few more peppers before the year is out.



Growing up my mother taught me and my sisters how to cook and bake, but the Jamaican dishes were always her territory. So now, years later, Iike you I'm learning how to cook like a Jamaican! From time to time I also share my own recipes that feature modern twists on traditional Jamaican dishes and ingredients.



  • Reply
    October 7, 2012

    How and where do i get the seedlings to start? I live in an apartment and I’m sure I could do grow them in large flowering pots…. Help

    • Reply Cook Like A Jamaican
      October 13, 2012

      Hi Ashley, Thank you for your question. I bought the seedlings in my neighbourhood garden center, but I’m sure they grow beautifully from seed. I also think they’d be great to grow in pots. I might try that. Take care, Angela

  • Reply
    October 22, 2012

    Hi i’m Joy,

    British born, Jamaican parents ,schooled in Germany & England,
    and live the Netherlands that’s Holland!!!!
    I do Jamaican finger food catering on the Beach in summer ! and in winter i sell to Restaurants!
    Jamaican Patties, & jerk chicken bits!!! thy love it i’m fighting to expand hopefully next year summer,
    wish me luck!!! Well now you know everything about me, my question was can i also grow my own Jamaican garden here in Holland??? let me know so i can get started. Best Regards Joy.

  • Reply
    Barton A. Smith
    December 1, 2012

    Happy Birthday! Jamaicans need to be cooking those snails. Two billion Chinese can’t be wrong. The Cockpit Mt region is called “Snail Country’ by enthusiasts. There are over 500 types of vegetable snails. They are pure money (if you find the market abroad) and full of calcium and protein just like the other mollusks, i. e. conch. Found a few good recipes and from time-to-time I pick 20-30 and cook them up.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013

    Hi there. I am motivated by the bright and colorful display of peppers from your garden. You are bang on with the plants essential for a small Jamaican garden however I would also suggest mint of one type or other. There are many types of mint that grow commonly throughout backyards on the island. I’ve been back in Jamaica for a year and over that time have been building my own Jamaican garden after memories of my Fathers extensive garden in the countryside that still includes ackee, cashews, mangoes, pineapples, soursop (guanabana), sugar cane and more. So far I’ve struggled with my desire to have plants over my kitchen sink and the realization that its a death-trap to all plants due to the poor lighting. Just this afternoon my neighbor gifted me with a hot pepper sucker which he immediately planted beside my basil. (Thankfully plant exchange is very common in Jamaica) Hopefully I will have lovely peppers like yours but it will be a surprise since I don’t yet know the type. Keep up the good entries.

  • Reply
    January 1, 2014

    I would love to plant scotch bonnet pepper. But I cannot find the seed to buy. I live close to Home Depot and Lowes in Florida and they only habanero Plant instead. But I need the real thing. Do you know where I can get to purchase the seed or at least the plant.

    • Reply
      Sharon Sylvester
      April 20, 2014

      Habanero is scotch bonnet pepper.

      • Reply Fay & Angela
        Fay & Angela
        May 26, 2014

        Hi Sharon,
        The habanero and scotch bonnet pepper are cousins but not the same. The scotch bonnet is said to hotter. However, if you can’t find scotch bonnets we always recommend habaneros as a good substitute.

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