Tips for growing sweet peppers or bell peppers in home vegetable gardens.
We give you easy steps for planting, maintaining, harvesting and storing sweet bell peppers in and from the garden.
Sweet peppers can be one of the greatest rewards in vegetable gardening.
The pepper plant is good for beginning and seasoned gardeners alike to grow because the plants will produce up until a frost arrives.
Yield is increased if plants are thinned to only a few fruits at the initial fruit setting stage.
Thinning to six peppers per plant results in highest early yields.
Thin to 4 peppers on each plant for greatest late harvest.
The average size of the produce also increases by producing a thinner crop.
When drawing your plans for the vegetable garden, leave enough space for these tasteful beauties!
• Sweet peppers generally spread two feet.
• Typically, the plants reach 15 to 36 inches high.
• The fibrous spreading roots of peppers are usually confined to the top 8 inches, but sometimes extend 4 feet deep.
• Pepper plants prefer a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0.
Plant in the spring, one to three weeks after the last expected frost.
Plants are very tender and cannot tolerate any frost.
If a frost occurs after your pepper plants are in the ground, cover them with plastic containers, straw, or newspaper hats to prevent frost damage.
• Planting depth for pepper seeds should be ¼ to ½ inch.
• Space rows from one to two feet apart.
• Spacing between pepper plants needs to be 12 to 15 inches.
• The ideal soil temperature for germination is 65 to 85 degrees F.
• Pepper seeds germinate in 8-20 days.
• If seed is sown indoors, weeks to transplanting are 6 to 8 weeks.
• Peppers do not grow well in greenhouses.
Sweet Bell peppers need at least six hours of sun daily for efficient growth.
The best soil temperature for growing sweet peppers ranges from 70 to 80 degrees F.
Pepper seedlings can be set out when the average nightly temperature is 55 degrees and the soil has reached 60 degrees F.
Days to maturity is 3 months for direct seeded; 50 to 75 days for transplants.
Space saver varieties of growing sweet peppers such as Gypsy Hybrid, Canape, or Italian Sweet are excellent choices for container gardens.
In short, their requirements include pots that are twelve inches deep, full sun, and plenty of water throughout the growing season and fruit set.
Ensure sweet peppers receive an inch of water each week from either rainfall or watering.It is very important the plants are provided with consistent moisture from flowering through to harvest.
• In the spring, apply a slow acting all purpose fertilizer and/or compost to sweet peppers.
• Give pepper plants light feeding supplements of foliar spray or side dressings each month during the growing season.
• Pepper plants particularly benefit from supplement feedings several weeks after initially being transplanted and again once the first fruits set.
• Spray plants with liquid seaweed extract two or three times during the growing season for additional production benefits.
The most common pests for growing sweet peppers are aphids, cutworm, flea beetle, leafminer, mite, and weevil. Common diseases are anthracnose and blossom end rot.
At harvest time, the skin of sweet peppers should be shiny and firm. A good rule of thumb is, the larger the fruit, the thicker the skin will be. Produce is green at its earliest stage and becomes yellow or red when fully ripened. Average yield for a 24 square foot bed is 15 to 20 pounds of sweet peppers.
Store sweet peppers in plastic bags inside the refrigerator. They will keep for one to two weeks.Blanch sweet peppers with boiling water, and freeze them in air-tight bags or containers for several months.Long term storage methods include canning, drying, or pickling. These techniques preserve the vegetables for up to a year.