Peppers are a very-tender vegetable that grow best in warm weather.
Peppers take a long time to grow from seed to harvest. In most areas there is not enough time to grow pepers from seeds before the weather gets too cold in the fall. Start seeds indoors 7-8 weeks before the frost date (7 weeks for bell peppers, 8 weeks for hot peppers), or purchase transplants.
Transplants should have 6-9 true leaves. Harden off and transplant into the garden 2 weeks after the frost date.
Peppers require average night time temperatures of 55°F to set fruit, so even in areas without frost it is unlikely you can grow them during the winter.
Soil and Fertilizer
Peppers grow best in a soil that drains well; amend with lots of compost and fertilizer (chemical or organic) at planting and once during the season.
Fertilizer: Apply 16-16-8 at planting. Apply a fertilizer low in nitrogen up to every 4 weeks. I like to use this Fertilome Blooming and Rooting (9-59-8), it really seems to promote flowering and fruiting of the plant.
Organic boosts: Save egg shells and allow them to dry. Combine 1 dozen egg shells with 1 gallon of water, allow to steep for 24 hours. Water the pepper plants and discard the egg shells (or add to your compost pile). Repeat as often as you wish, up to every 3 weeks.
Combine 2 Tablespoons Epsom salts (purchase in the shampoo section of the store) with 1 gallon of water. Apply to leaves via a spray bottle and/or pour on the soil, about 2 cups per plant. Repeat as often as you wish, up to every 3 weeks.
Peppers don’t require support unless they grow very large, or if you live in a windy area. In this case, stake the peppers by planting a 3-4′ stake in the ground at the time of planting. Tie the stem of the pepper plant to the stake with a soft material like old pantyhose or garden velcro tape.
Harvest fruits as they ripen. Peppers can be harvested when green, or after they turn yellow, red, purple, etc.
- Pepper Reference Sheet (Utah Extension Service)
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