The Ultimate Guide to Growing Peppers
If you are new to gardening, or even if you’re a seasoned pro, peppers are an excellent crop to add to your garden because they are fairly easy to grow, there are many varieties to choose from, and they can be used for a wide range of recipes. To help you get started, we created this handy step-by-step guide to growing peppers...
A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Peppers
Ready to add peppers to your garden? Follow these steps:
- Give your pepper plants the best chance at survival by starting the growing process indoors. Fill a seed tray with seed starting or potting soil and place one to three seeds in each section. Keep the tray between 70 to 90 degrees F. The warmer you can keep it, the better.
- Once your pepper plants are a few inches tall, transfer them to small pots. Add fertilizer and set them outside for a few hours each day.
- When it is consistently warm outside and your plants have reached about 8 inches tall, transfer them to your garden.
- Before you plant the peppers, prep your garden. They will do best in a sunny, well-drained location with soil that has a pH of 6.5 or 7.
- Place your plants about 18 to 24 inches apart in your garden.
- Water them well and then provide them with at least an inch of water per week.
- Once peppers have grown to about 3 to 4 inches in length, and they feel firm, it is time to harvest your crops. This is usually in the late summertime.
Quick Tips for Growing Peppers
Now that we’ve gone over the steps to growing your peppers, here are some quick tips to keep in mind to make sure your plants have the best chance at yielding lots of fruit:
- Wait to plant your peppers outside until there is no chance of another frost and nighttime temperatures are consistently over 60 degrees F.
- Hot peppers generally take longer to germinate.
- Some seeds will take about a week to germinate, and others may take up to three weeks, even if they are of the same variety.
- To save time and/or if you start later in the season, start with seedlings instead of seeds.
- Choose a spot in your garden that receives full sun for 6-8 hours per day.
- Plant your peppers on a cloudy day to avoid stressing them.
- Set the plants deeper into the ground than they were in their pots. They will grow more roots from the buried portion of the stem.
- Stake or cage the taller varieties of peppers so that they do not break due to strong winds or a heavy fruit load.
- During especially hot summer days, each pepper plant will need a gallon of water per day.
- Add a thick layer of mulch on top of the soil to help the plants retain moisture.
- Pinch off the first blossoms that grow on your plants. This will encourage a higher overall yield.
- Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers take longer to mature than green bell peppers.
- Cut the peppers off the plants with hand pruners. Pulling them off by hand may damage your plants.
- Once you harvest your peppers, fertilize the plants again to encourage another crop.
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