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 Peppers Planting: Easy Steps to a Bumper Crops

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Sandeep Sunstar

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PostSubject: How to Grow Sweet Peppers   Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:22 am

How to Grow Sweet Peppers
By Steve Albert On March 6, 2009 In Fruit Vegetables, How to Grow, Plant


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Sweet peppers are most easily grown from transplants. Start seed indoors 7 to 10 weeks before the date you intend to set peppers into the garden. Peppers can be seeded in the garden or transplanted out 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost in spring after the soil temperature has risen to at least 65°F. Sweet peppers mature in 60 to 95 days.

Description. Peppers are tender perennials that are grown as annuals. Peppers grow on compact erect bushes 1½ to 2 feet tall. The fruit follows a single flower growing in the angle between the leaf and the stem. Sweet peppers vary in shape and color and include the slender banana pepper; the short, round cherry pepper; the small bright-red, heart-shaped pimiento; the multi-colored Italian frying pepper; and the blocky green to yellow to orange to red bell pepper. Sweet peppers can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. Not all sweet pepper varieties are mild flavored; some can be spicy and hot.

Yield. Plant 2 to 3 sweet pepper plants per household member.

Site. Grow peppers in full sun in soil that is rich in organic matter, moisture retentive but well draining. Peppers prefer a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.8. Work aged garden compost into beds prior to planting. The optimal soil temperature for peppers is 65°F or warmer.

Planting time. Sweet peppers grow best in air temperatures 65° to 80°F. Peppers are most easily grown from transplants. Start seed indoors 7 to 10 weeks before the date you intend to set peppers into the garden. Peppers can be seeded in the garden or transplanted out 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost in spring after the soil temperature has risen to at least 65°F. In temperatures greater than 85°F, peppers may drop their blossoms although set fruit will ripen. The ideal temperature for sweet peppers is a daytime temperature around 75°F and a nighttime temperature around 62°F.

Planting and spacing. Sow sweet pepper seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep, 18 to 24 inches apart. Space rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Sow three seeds to each spot and thin to the two most successful seedlings. Peppers can be transplanted into the garden when they are 4 to 6 inches tall.

Water and feeding. Keep peppers evenly moist but not wet particularly when blossoms appear and fruit begin to form. Soil that goes too dry can result in flower drop. Add aged compost to planting beds before planting and again at midseason.

Companion plants. Beets, garlic, onions, parsnips, radishes.


Green bell pepper

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Care. Keep planting beds well weeded to avoid competition. Peppers are shallow-rooted, so cultivate around peppers with care. Mulch to keep soil temperature and moisture even.

Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers which will create large leafy plants with few or no fruits. High temperatures and wind can cause flowers to drop and plants not to set fruit.

Plastic mulch can improve pepper yields. Organic compost mulches will reduce weeding and watering, but not fruit yields.

Container growing. Peppers can be grown in a large container. An 8-inch pot will accommodate a single plant. In larger containers, set plants on 12 inch centers. Peppers can be grown indoors. Peppers started indoors before the last frost in spring will get a head start on the season. Extend the season in the fall by moving plants indoors if frost threatens or if temperatures warm to greater than 90°F. Bring outdoor started peppers inside for a few hours a day at first until they get used to the lower light available indoors.

Pests. Peppers can be attacked by aphids, cutworms, flea beetles, and hornworms. Discourage cutworms by placing a collar around each transplant at the time of planting; hand pick hornworms off of plants. Flea beetles and aphids can be partially controlled by hosing them off the plants and pinching out infested foliage.

Diseases. Peppers are susceptible to rot, blossom end rot, anthracnose, tobacco mosaic virus, bacterial spot, and mildew. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Keep the garden clean and free of weeds where pests and diseases can shelter. Remove infected plants before disease can spread. If you smoke, wash your hands before working with the plants to avoid spreading tobacco mosaic virus.

Harvest. Sweet peppers are ready for harvest in 60 to 95 days after sowing. Sweet peppers mature from green to red as the seeds inside mature. For sweet red peppers leave green peppers on the vine until they ripen and turn red. The color change does not alter the taste. Cut the peppers off the vine. Pulling a pepper away from the plant may cause the plant to come out of the soil.

Varieties.

• Blocky sweet pepper include: Ace (55 days); Bell Boy (75 days); Bell Captain (72 days); Big Bertha (72 days); Bull Nose (55-70 days); California Wonder (73 days); Camelot (74 days); Elisa (72 days); Emerald Giant (74 days); Jupiter Elite (66 days); King Arthur (72 days); Little Dipper (66 days); Midway (70 days); North Star (66 days); Secret (60 days); Yankee Bell (60 days); Yolo Wonder (73 days).

• Red Sweet Bells: Cardinal (70 days); Rampage (66 days); Redwing (72 days); Summer Sweet (76 days).

• Long Sweet Peppers: Banana Supreme (65 days); Hungarian Yellow Wax (65 days).

• Space Savers: Baby Bell (55 days); Jingle Bells (55 days); Park’s Pot (45 days).

• Yellow-Orange Sweet Bells: Canary (72 days); Gold Finch (72 days); Klondike Bell (72 days); Orobelle (70 days); Peppourri Orange (75 days); Summer Sweet (86 days).

• Heart Shaped Sweet Peppers: Pimento (65-80 days).

• Other Sweet Peppers: Blue Jay (73 days); Chocolate Beauty (58-86 days); Cubanelle (62 days); Purple Beauty (70 days).

Storing and preserving. Sweet peppers will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks or for two or three weeks in a cool, moist place. Blanched peppers can be stored in the freezer for 4 to 6 months. Sweet peppers can be dried, pickled whole or in pieces.
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Sandeep Sunstar

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PostSubject: Peppers Planting: Easy Steps to a Bumper Crops   Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:23 am

Peppers Planting: Easy Steps to a Bumper Crops
By Steve Albert On March 4, 2013 In Plant



To get a bumper crop from your pepper plants, you must dedicate yourself to helping the plants thrive. Pepper plants are more temperamental than tomatoes—they demand warm temperatures, even soil moisture, feeding, and support—literally.

Here are 10 steps that will all but guarantee sweet and hot pepper growing success. (But don’t turn your back peppers for more than a day or two, things can go wrong quickly.)

1. Seed Starting Time. Start pepper seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. (If you are not sure when the date of the average last frost is in your area, ask at a nearby garden center.) Sow three to four pepper seeds per pot then make sure the seeds stay warm; place your seed-starting containers on a seed heating mat or on top of the refrigerator. Make sure the indoor temperature averages 70°F during the day and 65°F at night. When seedlings have grown two set of true leaves; cut the weakest seedlings off at soil level with a pair or garden scissors leaving one strong seedling per pot. Don’t plan to transplant peppers into the garden until two weeks after the last frost.

2. Garden Soil. Peppers want organically rich, well-drained soil. Add plenty of aged compost to the planting bed in advance of planting. If you have clay or sandy soil, turn the compost under with the turn of a shovel. If rain or irrigation water sits for more than an hour on the surface of your garden, your soil is not well draining, and it will be better to plant your peppers in a raised bed. At transplanting time, add a shovelful of compost to the planting hole; you can also boost phosphorus in the soil (which is important for fruit formation) by adding a handful of bone meal to the hole as well.

3. Warm the Soil and Harden Off Plants. Peppers are highly susceptible to transplant shock. Two weeks before transplanting peppers into the garden, cover planting beds with black plastic to pre-warm the soil. One week before setting transplants into the garden begin to harden them off; set the plants outside in a warm, sheltered place for one, then two, then three, and more hours each day in the week before transplanting. Bring them indoors at night. This will give peppers a chance to prepare for their life outdoors.

4. Transplant to Garden. Transplant peppers into the garden only after the soil has warmed to 65°F or warmer. Pepper plants transplanted to the garden before the soil has sufficiently warmed will not grow well; they will never do as well as transplants set in the garden after the soil temperature has warmed to at least 65°F. As a general rule, transplant peppers into the garden two weeks after it’s safe to set tomatoes in the garden. Set transplants at the top of their root ball; do not bury the stem of peppers as you might a tomato plant; peppers can’t form roots along the stem like tomatoes.

5. Sun. Peppers require full sun and warm soil to grow well. Give peppers 8 hours of sun each day. Keep pepper plants sheltered from prevailing breezes.

6. Water. Keep the soil evenly moist as peppers grow for best yield. Do not let the soil dry more than inch below the surface; peppers are shallow rooted and cannot tap moisture reserves deep in the soil. Maintain even water from flowering until harvest. You can intensify flavor, by reducing—but not stopping—watering a week or two before harvest.

7. Feed. Pepper plants will almost always benefit from extra nutrients. Add fish meal to the soil at planting time (see instructions on the box). Side-dress with compost when the plant sets flowers—side-dress means spread aged compost around the base of the plant and water it in. When fruits form, drench the soil with fish emulsion or kelp meal every 3 to 4 weeks.

8. Support. Pepper plants greatly benefit from support. Pepper plant branches can be brittle unlike tomato plant branches. Branches can snap when fruit grows too heavy, so support the plant; use cages or stakes or string corrals. Put cages, stakes, of string corrals in place at transplant time; don’t wait until plant begin to lean sideways with fruit.

9. Protect. If the weather turns cool once peppers are in the garden, you must protect them. If nighttime temperatures dip below 60°F, protect pepper plants with medium-weight row covers or plant blankets. Be sure to remove covers when temperatures rise; temperatures higher than 90°F can cause blossoms to drop and fruit to sunburn.

10. Pepper Color. To increase the yield, pick peppers just before they are ripe—just before they turn their final color; this will allow the plant to re-direct nutrients and energy to new flower buds and smaller fruits still on the plant allowing them to mature. Let peppers picked before they fully change color ripen indoors.

Sweet bell peppers produce green fruit in 50 to 60 days from transplanting; they will be ripe and colorful—red, orange, yellow, purple, or chocolate brown—about 80 days from transplanting. Some hot peppers such as Habanero require 100 days to produce ripe fruit. Hot peppers like sweet peppers ripen to a specific color—check the seed packet or plant label for the color the pepper is supposed to be when it is ripe.
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