If you have good soil, the right temperatures, and a little dedication, growing peppers is a simple and enjoyable gardening project, even if it’s your first garden. All you ought to do is learn the basics of growing peppers, and you can experience the garden-to-table delicacies that homegrown peppers have to offer.
How to choose the varieties of peppers
The first thing you think of sweet peppers may be the standard supermarket peppers. These large, shiny, green bell peppers are stapled foods, and the shiny, red bell peppers are close behind. But when you then grow your own peppers, then the menu expands to hundreds of varieties, but not all, then start out green and then change color and sweetness as they mature.
Bell pepper varieties range from deep purple and chocolate color to creamy white, vivid yellow, or deep orange. Color is not the only option to consider for home growing. The sizes of the plants and peppers also vary. Favorite garden crops, such as the common bell pepper plant, grow 2 to 3 feet (0.60 m to 0.91 m) tall and yield broad block-shaped peppers about 4 inches (10.16 cm) with thick walls of green to red colors.
Compare those bell peppers to the 1 to 2-inch (2.54 cm to 5.08 cm) cupid mini red bell peppers or Sweet Golden Baby Belle mini gold bell peppers. These compact plants are perfect for planting in pots or small urban spaces because they are less than 2 feet (0.60 m) tall and 1 foot (0.30 m) wide.
Start pepper crops right.
Bell peppers are treated like annual vegetables in most gardens, but they are actually tender perennial fruits, as their close relatives, tomatoes and then eggplants. These native tropical crops prefer hot temperatures and fertile soils. Plant them in well-drained soil with full and direct access to sunlight for at least six to eight hours a day, and you will have healthy plants and abundant fruit.
Peppers are very sensitive to cold, so if you take them out early in the spring, you will be sorry. In all but the most warm climates, you will need to sow seeds indoors six to eight weeks old before the last predicted spring frost in your region or purchase seedlings to transplant. Wait until all the dangers of frost are over and overnight temperatures remain constant near 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16ºC) before removing pepper plants.
When choosing a spot for your peppers, limit yourself to places in the garden where tomatoes, eggplants, and other peppers or potatoes haven’t been grown for at least three years. These plants in the same family are vulnerable to the same diseases, many of which can live on land. If growing in planters or pots, replace the soil every year if disease occurs.
How to grow peppers in the yard
Like most home garden crops, bell peppers generally need additional nutrients. Phosphorous and calcium are essential for the abundant growth of peppers. Soil tests measure the pH level of your soil (5.8-6.5 is great for your peppers 1) and provide recommendations for nourishing and modifying the soil. If necessary, modifications such as lime increase the pH of the soil, and aljez or gypsum keep the pH constant but provide calcium, which is very important to avoid blossom end rot.
Avoid fertilizers with high nitrogen levels, as nitrogen encourages leaf growth rather than feeding the fruit to be sweeter. Products designed for tomatoes, including vegetables, such as Lilly Miller ® MORCROP 5-10-10 Tomato and Vegetable Nutrient, provide a higher relative quantity of phosphorus and potassium at the nutritional balance that peppers prefer. Water the peppers well, but never leave the soil soaked.
Water the soil to moisten it about 6 inches (15.24 cm) deep, and then let it dry out a bit. Watering the plants is especially important during the fruit period when the small peppers replace the flowers and when the peppers begin to ripen. Constant humidity helps keep peppers strong and healthy.
Control of pests and diseases
It is very important to nourish and water pepper plants well to prevent opportunistic diseases and insect pests, which can damage pepper crops quickly and seriously. Pepper pests may vary by region, ranging from common cutworms and alticinos to pepper weevils and snails and slugs, among other pests.
Proven pesticides such as the Sevin brand, trusted by gardeners for over 50 years, are a key element of a comprehensive and effective pest control program for pepper crops. Sevin pesticides provide powerful protection against a wide range of pests on peppers. Always follow directions on the product label carefully for any garden product, including the time required between application and harvest, known as the pre-harvest interval, or PHI.
Enjoy your harvest of peppers.
Depending on the varieties you have chosen, bell peppers mature in two to three months from the time you transplanted them outside the house. If you want green bell peppers, let them reach full size, shape, and firmness before harvesting. For ripe and colored peppers, allow them to reach full color and ripeness on the stems whenever possible. Then cut them in time to stimulate more pepper fruit to sprout.
If cold weather shortens your season, pick the peppers ahead of time. Keep them inside a warm and humid place – between 68 ° F (20 ℃) and 77 ° F (25 ° C) and 95 percent or more humidity – so they can reach their maximum coloration. However, they will generally not be sweeter. The peppers begin to lose water the moment they are cut, so a very humid place is important.
If you require to store them for a while, refrigerate them at 45 ° F (7 ° C) with a humidity of 95 percent. Peppers fresh from the garden should stay firm and tasty for three to five weeks under these conditions. It doesn’t matter if your pepper farm has the classic green and red peppers or a rainbow of colors because you will discover how simple and satisfying it is to grow your own sweet peppers.
GardenTech and the GardenTech family of brands are there to help you be successful and enjoy an abundance of delicacies and nutrients from your home garden crops.