Simple tips that will help you grow lots of peppers, keep your plants healthy and increase your yield.
Peppers are common in vegetable gardens. Peppers do not contain capsaicin, so they are not as spicy as some varieties of peppers. Peppers can be eaten raw but are usually used in other recipes.
Peppers are quite easy to grow, but there are some tricks to growing peppers that will give you a better yield.
With these tips, you’ll enjoy a bountiful harvest of sweet, crunchy peppers to feed your family this summer.
1) The different colors of peppers
When you go to your grocery store, you will see different colors of peppers, but red peppers and green peppers are the most commonly available.
Red peppers and green peppers are actually the same plant, the color in fact depends on the ripeness of the fruit. First they will be green then if left on the plant they will then turn red. Because red peppers are on the plant longer, they are richer in vitamin C and tend to be sweeter than green peppers.
There are varieties of purple, yellow, orange, brown or white peppers. They are different plants and you can plant more than one variety to get lots of color in your recipes.
2) Choose the right place to plant peppers
Peppers love the sun a lot, so choose a spot in your garden where they can enjoy the sun all day. Make sure they are not shaded by trees or other tall plants such as sunflowers or tomatoes.
Peppers like well-drained soil. They don’t like wading in water, so make sure the area is well drained. They prefer intermediate soils with sand and clay.
They like a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0. If you don’t know the pH of your soil, get a test kit and make the necessary adjustments.
Before planting peppers, add compost or fertilizer to the soil and work it. This will help improve drainage and provide nutrients to the peppers.
Don’t plant peppers where you recently planted tomatoes, eggplants or potatoes. These plants attract the same diseases that can be harmful to peppers. Viruses and fungi can live in the soil for a few years, so wait at least three years before planting in the same area.
3) When to plant peppers
Peppers love heat, so you don’t want to start them from seed in the garden. Plant them to start about 8-10 weeks before the last expected frost date or purchase seedlings from a greenhouse.
Peppers also take two to three months to mature, so planting them from seedlings gives them a head start on planting from seed.
Young peppers do not like cool temperatures. Get them used to being outdoors by placing them outdoors during the day and indoors at night so they don’t go out in the cold at night. After a few weeks they should be ready to be transplanted.
4) Plant pepper plants
Once the night temperature is at least 15°C, you can plant your peppers in the garden. You can warm the soil by covering it with black plastic for a week before planting your pepper plants.
When planting, plant them no deeper than they were in the pots. Peppers do not like to be planted deeply. Space them about 45-60 cm apart.
5) Choose the right pepper garden companions
Plant peppers near tomatoes. Tomatoes help keep away beetles and soil microbes to protect peppers.
Peppers can also be planted near cucumbers, carrots, eggplants and onions. If you have a beetle problem, plant geraniums or petunias near your peppers.
Basil grows well near peppers and keeps insects away. Parsley attracts pollinators and some types of wasps that repel aphids.
Avoid planting broccoli, cabbage or mustard plants near your peppers. You should also avoid planting peppers near fennel or green beans.
You don’t need to stake the peppers, but you can keep them off the ground. If your plants droop, they are more susceptible to pests and soil microbes.
7) Make good mulch
Peppers like to be kept warm and have well-drained soil, so mulching around the plants is essential. A dark mulch absorbs more heat from the sun to keep the soil warm.
Peppers also love mowed grass. Grass mulch helps prevent weeds from quickly entering your garden and damaging plant roots.
8) The right irrigation
Peppers need a lot of water, about 2-5 cm of water per week. Observe the quantity of water obtained by rain with a rain gauge and top up if necessary.
If you live in a warm climate or very hot days, you may need to water twice a day. If your peppers dry out too much, they may become bitter.
However, overwatering can damage the roots or rot the flowers.
9) Pruning pepper plants
Remove the first flowers from each plant. This forces the plant to use its energy to grow the entire plant and not just a fruit.
This can help the plant produce more peppers later and you will get a better harvest.
If you add fertilizer to your garden, wait until the peppers begin to form. Peppers don’t like a lot of nitrogen, so look for a fertilizer that doesn’t contain a lot of nitrogen. Too much nitrogen can cause the plant to produce more leaves instead of flowers and peppers.
Flea beetles and aphids love peppers. If you notice these pests on your peppers, use an organic insecticide that is safe for vegetable plants.
12) Harvesting peppers
Green peppers are ready to harvest approximately 60-90 days after planting. Harvest the peppers when they are the size and color you want. They will first be green and then turn red. The longer the pepper remains on the plant, the sweeter it will be and the more vitamin C it will contain.
To avoid damaging the plant, use a knife to cut the fruit, leaving about 2cm of the pepper stem on the plant.
With these tips, you will enjoy a bountiful harvest of peppers this year. Peppers are fairly easy to grow, but these simple tips will help you keep your plants healthy and increase your yield.