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How to Grow Peppers


By Prev Info - November 08, 2022

 How to Grow Peppers

Instructions

Whether sweet or hot, peppers give the gardener an easy-to-grow plant (in most environments) that yields beautiful fruit over most of the growing season. Even when the heat bakes most other plants, peppers continue to thrive. Only in the cool northernmost tier of states will peppers fail to thrive. Here are a few tips to get the biggest plants and highest yields.

How to Grow Peppers

  • While you can buy pepper plants, you will have a much better choice of varieties and save money if you start your own plants from seed. You want to put your peppers into the garden once all danger of frost is past in the Spring. The seedlings need 8 to 10 weeks to grow large enough to transplant, so work backwards from your last frost date to see when to start your seeds. For example, in my garden we hardly ever get a frost after tax day, April 15. So, I start my peppers around the first of February. It’s a welcome garden chore when the weather is cold and the snow is blowing.
How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Peppers
  • After the plants get two sets of true leaves, transplant them from the germination tray to 3" by 3" nursery flats. If you're starting a garden full of tomatoes and peppers, it is worth the trouble to find flats. If you're only starting a few, you can use plastic drink cups with holes poked in the bottom for drainage.
  • Personally, I find peppers one of the most attractive vegetable plants. The foliage is lush and vibrant, even when they're little. These plants really take the edge off looking out the window at snow banks.
  • After all danger of frost has past, plant the peppers in the garden. Peppers like to "hold hands", so you can plant them closer together than tomatoes. I find 2 feet apart to be ideal. Most references say one foot, but if you grow in raised beds, you'll get huge plants, and they'll be crowded on one foot spacing. After a few weeks, drive a stake right by the stem and put a cable tie around the plant and the stake.
How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Peppers
  • The stake will support the young plant when the stem is weak and the branches and foliage are growing rapidly. A few weeks later, you'll have a different problem. The stems will be much stronger, but the wide reaching branches are very fragile. I drive concrete reinforcing bar into the corners of my raised beds and cable tie scrap wood strips into a web of support for the plants.
  • Raised beds grow huge pepper plants because peppers thrive on warm soil temperatures, loose well-aerated soil and good drainage. This Chile de Arbol plant is over 5 feet tall and loaded with peppers and more blossoms open every day. One on the other side of the garden, planted in the ground is stunted and near death, despite more aggressive watering.
How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Peppers
  • This is a sweet pepper named "Corno di Toro". It comes from Italy and is delicious fried, but just as nice fresh on a relish tray.
  • Here's my favorite green pepper. It is Emerald Giant and lives up to the name. Huge peppers with great flavor.
  • Here's my second favorite green pepper, California Wonder bell. Nice, but the Emerald Giant outshines it, unless you want the classic bell form.
How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Peppers
  • Ancho peppers bridge the gap between sweet and hot peppers. They're not really either, but they have features of both. This chocolate ancho is great either color. The green ones turn brown as they ripen.
  • We've had a horribly hot and miserably dry year so far. The plant closest to the camera is a chiltepin pepper that seems to still be growing a couple inches per day when everything else has stalled. It is loaded with tiny peppers that are about the size of a bird's eye. It's my first year for this one. Lot's of fruit, but they're taking forever to ripen. I'll grow it again, just for the beauty of the plant.
  • This serrano pepper is loaded with peppers. It is another where they're harvested both green and red.
How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Peppers
  • You can grow and dry your own cayenne pepper. The plants bear hundreds of peppers. Just string them up with a needle and thread and crush them after they're all dry.
  • Fully ripe jalapenos that have been smoked are called chipotles. They're becoming more and more popular in Gringo adaptations of Mexican dishes. Here's a grill full where the smoke is just starting to roll.
  • You can eat your peppers fresh, pickled, fried, dried, roasted or stuffed. They range from sweet and mild to blazing hot. What they have in common, though, is that they are relatively easy to grow for even the novice gardener. Give them a try next growing season.





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