Choosing what peppers to grow
When growing pepper plants, firstly, decide what type of pepper plants will be grown. Check if they do well in your climate and also their optimal growing conditions, so that any effort to plant and grow them is not wasted. If you are unsure what homework you need to do to determine what strain of peppers to grow, our post on optimal growing conditions may be a good starting point. With research done and a decision on the type of pepper seeds you want to grow. Peppers seeds of that type will be required. Be mindful that peppers already have multiple seeds inside them so you may not have to run out and purchase any seeds, but rather open a pepper that’s in the kitchen and use the seeds inside of it. We currently do this often and have brilliant success rates, with red sweet pointed red peppers.
Propagating pepper seeds
Pepper seeds do well being propagated/germinated before planting into soil. Generally, placing the seeds in water for 2 weeks or until the roots have emerged. Completely cover the seeds with water and place in a sunny window while waiting for roots. The water will evaporate into the air, so be sure to top up the water every 3-5 days and do refresh the water if it becomes cloudy. When the roots have reach approximately 1 inch long, is the best time to plant the seeds into soil. The roots are delicate and any damage when transferring the seeds to soil can stunt its growth. When ready to pot the seeds, plant 18 – 24 inches apart in quality, soil with good drainage, and nutrient rich, or mix compost into the soil when planting, alternatively.
Planting Pepper Seeds
Peppers seeds can be planted in the ground, raised beds or spacious containers if you do not wish to repot frequently, in the early stages of growth. They may also be planted in small pots or plant trays (with multiple sections), until the roots fill the small pots. Then repot into much larger pots. Peppers plants grow best in soil with a pH between 6.2 and 7.0 but can also tolerate slightly alkaline conditions closer to a pH of 7.5. For optimal growth and particularly for pepper plants planted in the ground, mix a 3-5 inch layer of compost in with the ground soil or slightly much less into each plant pot. Using a generous amount of organic matter helps the soil retain moisture. Moist soil is crucial for quality production of peppers. It can take upto 6 months for some peppers to grow, from seed, depending on the variety of pepper planted. If seeds are shop bought, check the information on the pack to know how long it may take for those particular peppers to grow and mature.
Growing pepper plants care tips:
- If you are planting peppers plants near other green companions tomatoes, parsley, basil, and carrots are ideal. Don’t plant peppers near fennel or kohlrabi.
- Peppers plants are prone to pests, lookout for frail and stringy stems and peppers, as these may be infested with aphids and/or other small insects.
- If the plants get thirsty for prolonged periods they may be troubled by root-knot nematodes.
- Protect the plant from frost with covering or mini greenhouse in colder weathers. Peppers commonly take a while to change from their initial green to the final color, of the variety planted. Whether you planted red, orange, yellow, or purple peppers, be patient.
- Use pruning shears to cut peppers from their plants, leaving a short stub of stem attached. Pulling peppers by hand may cause entire branches to break off.
- Be careful when handling hot varieties of peppers, use disposable gloves when touching or washing the peppers and be sure not to allow the peppers or used gloves to touch skin.