I highly recommend growing peppers in the garden. They are really no fuss crop. With little disease, no pests, and produce high yields of fruit…Who wouldn’t want to grow a veggie like that! Not to mention peppers can be costly at the grocery store compared to other vegetables. So it is a veggie I make sure to grow every year!
Bell peppers are delicious in a number of things but one of my favorite ways to each them is raw! If you’re looking for some new recipes to use those peppers from the garden in check out some of the links below!
Peppers require full sun to produce, so plant your peppers where it will get 6 hours of sun plus. Peppers are a summer crop and are sensitive to cold weather. Here in NC my peppers grow until about the end of October due to the warm weather we are still getting. Peppers take from seed to harvest about 19 weeks, so it is recommended to start your seeds indoors about 7 weeks before the last frost. It is recommended to wait until at least two weeks after the last frost to transplant outdoors. Of course if you are not going to start from seed your local farmer’s market or home and garden store will carry plants you can purchase to transplant into your garden. You can plant one pepper per square foot in your garden
It is important to water peppers at the base of the plant avoiding getting water on the leaves. This will help in keeping the pepper plant healthy. Getting the leaves wet increase your chances of fungal and wilt infections. Once the plant has reached about 1 foot tall, place a tomato cage around the plant for support. It will continue to grow right through the cage. The cage will help support the fragile branches of the pepper plant.
TIP: I like to stalk my transplants when I first transplant them in the spring, with a wooden bbq skewer and a zip tie. This is to prevent my peppers from breaking while in such a fragile state.
Peppers are ready to be harvested when they are glossy and firm. If you notice they are dulling in color that is a good indication that they have reached their maximum size and need to be picked soon .Unless you are wanting a red pepper than you leave them on the stem and wait for it to turn red. Always use clippers to harvest your peppers cutting the stem from the rest of plant.
TIPS: Peppers just like anything you plant in your square foot garden doesn’t require fertilizer. The soil provides the correct nutrients already but I get more into that in my series Square Foot Gardening 101.
However, I have found in the past that spraying my peppers foliage with three cups of water and a tablespoon of Epsom salt helps to produce more fruit on my pepper plants. It also helps to give your plant larger and greener foliage
Grow it. Pick it. Cook it. Eat it.