Image by Lisa Yarost
By Kathee Mierzejewski
You are starting your garden for the summer and you know you want to plant peppers. Peppers are great in all sorts of things and can even be frozen at year end so you have them throughout the winter. It is not difficult growing bell peppers. Temperature is the main thing to watch. Let’s look at how to grow peppers.
How Do I Grow Peppers?
Growing bell peppers should be done in the warm season. This usually means you don’t put them outside until sometime near Memorial Day. When thinking about how to grow peppers, remember that they prefer higher temperatures, and when you plant peppers you need to be sure that the chance of frost is long gone. A frost will either kill the plants altogether, or inhibit pepper growth so you have bare plants.
Pepper plants should be placed 18 to 24 inches apart in a row. They do well if planted near your tomatoes. The soil should be well drained and fertilized before you put them into the ground. You can fertilize once more after you pick the first crop of peppers. This helps to form another crop. Healthy pepper plants should produce peppers most of late summer.
How to Start Growing Peppers
If you are wondering how to start growing peppers, remember that you should always start seeds indoors. When growing bell peppers from seed, the plants get a great start inside where it is warm. Keep them watered yet drained well. Once the plants are about eight inches tall, they should be hardy enough to go outside, though it helps to harden them first.
When you move to plant peppers outside, your plants will do better once temperatures are staying above 55 degrees F. at night. Before that, they will grow quite slow. Starting pepper plants indoors is best because growing bell peppers require this higher nighttime temperature. This way it gives the climate time to warm up.
When your peppers are ready to harvest is easy to determine. You can start harvesting peppers once they are three to four inches long. Make sure the fruit is firm and green. These peppers are ripe enough for harvesting. If they feel somewhat thin, they are not yet ripe. If they feel somewhat soggy, they have been left on the plant too long.
Sometimes, you might prefer red, yellow or orange varieties. These varieties are just left on the vine longer to color. They start out green, but you will notice they have a thinner feel to the meat of the pepper. Once they color, this thickens and you can go ahead and pick them.