Are you interested in growing pepper plants? Both sweet and hot peppers grow similarly, needing nearly identical care. Peppers are easy to grow, but there are a few considerations to take in order to ensure a successful harvest.
10 Tips on Successfully Growing Peppers
Consider what type of peppers you will be growing. Both hot and sweet peppers have benefits. I love jalapenos because they are so useful in the kitchen. Hot cayenne peppers are also great for dehydrating and adding to foods for an extra bite. While sweet bell peppers are wonderful for snacking and a great option for kids.
Start Your Peppers Indoors
Pepper seeds are the perfect prospect for starting indoors. Because peppers like the heat, growing outside during the spring can leave them to struggle with germination. By starting your plants indoors, it gives them the best start to a successful and thriving season.
Start your seeds 8-10 weeks before the last frost is over. Germination can take anywhere from 7-10 days with soil heat at 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plant Peppers in Full Sun Location
Pepper plants need 8-10 hours of direct sunlight a day. Plant your seedlings in the sun to ensure that your plants thrive. Peppers do not mature unless given direct sunlight.
Even though pepper plants love the heat, once temperatures rise into the 90's, it can be hard for pepper plants to bare fruit. If you live in an area with extreme heat, afternoon shade may be helpful for your peppers.
Plant Peppers in Rich Soil
Peppers love rich, loamy, well drained soil. These plants prefer a pH of 6.0-6.5. Be sure nitrogen levels are not too high though as that will prevent the peppers from producing fruit.
Plant them 18-24 inches apart in order to allow enough room for growth and air for circulation.
Water Pepper Plants Daily
Even though peppers love the heat, these plants need water. Peppers need about 2 inches of water a day in order to thrive. If the weather is extremely hot, they may need up to a gallon of water. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely, water frequently and at the base of the plant to prevent sunburn.
Mulch Your Plants
Mulch is instrumental is growing healthy pepper plants. Adding about an inch of mulch to your pepper plants helps retain moisture in the soil. Because pepper plants need to be watered frequently, the mulch protects the soil and retains the water, even in direct sunlight.
Support Your Peppers
Pepper plants can get large and fall over quickly, especially with the weight of any peppers. Providing a stake or cage for the plant keeps your peppers standing upright, allowing the plant to thrive and the peppers to mature. To get the most out of your plants, be sure to add support.
Harvest Peppers Properly
Your growing pepper plants can be delicate and break easily. When harvesting, be sure to use scissors or shears to remove the peppers gently from the plant. Pulling off the peppers can lead to breaking you plants.
Also, if you are harvesting hot peppers, be sure to use gloves as the oils from the plant can transfer to your skin. Believe me, there is nothing worse then accidentally rubbing you eye after getting hot pepper oil on your hands!
Plant Near Companions
Companion planting with peppers is a great way to ensure a healthy and thriving garden. Believe it or not, peppers do well planted near most vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Peppers benefit most from tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and most herbs. Corn can also do well with peppers, and beans and peas keep nitrogen levels low so peppers can produce lots of fruit.
Do not plant bassicas (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), near apricot trees or next to fennel.
Prune Your Pepper Plants Properly
Be sure to keep the lower branches of the pepper plant trimmed. This allows to plant to focus its resources on the production of peppers.
When your pepper plant is just beginning to bloom, remove blooms to allow full growth and maturity of the plant. This will encourage a more mature plant and a larger production of peppers a little later in the season.
Peppers are great for beginner gardeners because they grow quickly and easily.With the proper care, these plants will produce tons of peppers. Using these easy growing tips for peppers will help guide you through the growing process, making peppers the perfect addition to your garden.
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