How to Grow Pepper Plants
Peppers have always been one of the most popular vegetables in the home garden.
Growing pepper plants is easy. Sweet bell peppers, and many hot peppers,
are native to Central and North America. A wide range of hot pepper varieties
are also native to Asia, most notably Thailand and China.
It used to be that any grower who liked peppers, would plant several sweet
green bell pepper plants in their garden. Several weeks later, they would
harvest some great tasting fruit. There were no difficult decisions about
Today's gardeners have the opportunity to select between a tremendous array
of choices. You can pick sweet or hot. When it comes to hot, there are varying
degrees of heat. The debates rage, as to which variety is the hottest pepper.
Varieties from Mexico, China and Thailand are the hottest to be found.
You also get to select color. There are a wide variety of colors to choose
from, versus the "plain old green" ones, which were the only choices your
parents and grandparents had to choose from. There are a number of yellow,
red, and orange colors. There is even a variety with a striking purple color.
After you are done selecting hot versus sweet, and color, don't forget shape.
There are traditional "bell pepper" shapes, long and slender, and of course
round or "cherry peppers".
Whatever your preference, seed catalogs and garden stores cater to the high
demand and wide variety of peppers.
Did you know?: A sweet green pepper is a pepper that is not yet ripe.
Let it grow, and it will turn red. The texture will change markedly, and
the flavor will change as well.
Garden Humor: A soldier who survived mustard gas and peper spray,
is a seasoned veteran.
Varieties of Pepper Seeds:
Types of Peppers - An extensive list of peppers,
hot and sweet, along with a description of them.
Learn more about Hot Peppers
Did you know? Paprika is a pepper!
Sowing Pepper Seeds:
Pepper seeds require 14-21 days to germinate. Seedlings grow slowly,
at first. Start pepper plants indoors, eight to ten weeks or more before
the last frost date for your area. Pepper seeds can be a difficult seed
germinate.We recommend using a seed germination mat, to shorten the germination
time and increase the germination rate.
Many growers simply visit their local garden store for seedling to transplant.
Avid garden hobbiests find pleasure in a new challenge, and start their own
pepper plants indoors.
Tip: Provide bottom heat or heat lamps to raise the soil temperature
to 80 degrees. This will promote better and quicker germination.
Days to Maturity:
70 to 90 days or more, depending upon the variety. The seed packet will display
the days to maturity for the variety that you have decided to grow.
How to Grow Peppers:
Select a location in your garden that receives full sun. Prepare the garden,
adding plenty of compost, manure, and a general fertilizer.
All varieties of pepper plants grow best in warm to hot weather. Do not
transplant seedlings outdoors until all danger of frost has past, and the
soil begins to warm. If the weather is still cool in your area, delay
transplanting a few days, if possible.Tender, young seedlings do well in
hot kaps and cold frames.
Space 18-24 inches apart, in rows 24 to 36 inches apart. This spacing varies
a little for each variety.
Pepper plants prefer moist soil. However, avoid wet soil. Water regularly
in the hot, dry summer months.
Add mulch around the peppers to keep down weeds, and to retain moisture.
As the peppers develop, switch over to a fertilizer higher in Phosphorous
and Potassium. Gardeners often make the mistake of providing too much nitrogen.
The result is a great looking bushy, green plant, and few fruit.
Tip: Peppers are self pollinators. Occasionally, they cross pollinate
from pollen carried by bees or other insects. To minimize this possibility,
don't plant hot and sweet peppers too close. This year's cross will not affect
the fruit of this year's crop. The cross will show up in the genetics of
the seeds, if you save them.
Peppers can be picked as soon as they reach a size which is edible. Most
of us just can't wait for that very first fruit to fully mature.
Insects and Pests:
Insects can be a problem, affecting both plants and fruit. Spider mites and
aphids are the most common, with an occasional insect borer. In many areas,
it is infrequent.
Try using an organic insecticide or dust.
Viruses and diseases of Peppers, is infrequent.
Fungal infections can be treated with fungicides. Apply treatment as soon
as you see it.
More on Plant Problem
Diseases and Problems
Frost will stunt or kill the plants. Cold weather can cause the plant to
slow down or stunt it as well. In the In the spring, use hot kaps to protect
tender, young seedlings. In the Fall, cover the plants, if frost is expected.
Tip: Use five gallon buckets for a quick cover-up on cold fall nights.They
are the perfect size, and can be quickly placed over the plant.
A little bit about Hot Peppers:
The ingredient in peppers that puts the heat into hot peppers is Capsaicin.
A sweet green pepper is devoid of this chemical. The hotter the pepper, the
more the level of Capsaicin. It is measured in parts per million (ppm).
More on Capsaicin.
All about Hot Peppers
Do you know your Hot Peppers? Check out the varieties
of hot peppers.
to Grow Peppers
How to Grow Hot Peppers
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