Peppers are a fun and delicious addition to any garden. They don’t need a lot of space, so they’re perfect for small plots.
Before transplanting, pepper seedlings should be “hardened off” by gradually introducing them to outdoor conditions. This helps them adjust, which means bigger and more productive plants.
Peppers are a warm-weather crop, and they prefer a long growing season. So, you should sow your seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in your area. Then, harden off your seedlings for a week or two before you transplant them outdoors.
When you plant peppers, make sure your soil is moist and drains well, but not saturated. Moist soil can help keep plants healthy and prevent problems such as blossom drop, small fruit and blossom end rot.
Watering Frequency: Regular watering keeps peppers healthy and produces abundant fruits. Use drip irrigation or a soaker hose to ensure uniform moisture.
Soil Type: A sandy loam soil is best for peppers, with plenty of organic matter. In hot weather, a deep mulch will help to retain soil moisture and protect plants from excessive evaporation.
Peppers are light feeders and grow better if they receive some fertilization before planting and again in the fall. Add 5-10-10 fertilizer to the soil prior to transplanting, and side-dress once first fruits start to set.
Peppers can tolerate some cold weather, but they grow best in temperatures above 65 F during the day and above 55 F during the night. Temperatures below this range stunt seedling growth and interfere with fruit set in mature plants.
In cooler regions, start pepper seeds indoors about 7 to 10 weeks before you want to plant them outdoors. Germinate them in transplant trays filled with soilless germination medium and keep the medium moist but not soggy.
Sow the seeds about 1/4 inch deep in well-drained soil in shallow flats. Maintain a soil temperature of 80 to 85 degrees F for good germination.
The right soil is a key part of growing peppers successfully. Choose a deep, rich, and loamy soil that drains well. Amend it with aged compost, a ph-neutral fertilizer or a balanced potting mix.
Peppers thrive in a variety of growing conditions, including containers, raised beds and in-ground gardens. They do best in a sunny location that receives 6 to 8 hours of sun daily.
Once planted, water regularly with a garden hose or drip irrigation system. Avoid overwatering, which can lead to rotting of roots.
To prepare the ground for pepper planting, mix a nutrient-rich soil or potting mix with aged compost and rake it into the top of the soil. Then plant pepper seedlings or transplants after nighttime temperatures reach 65degF (18degC).
Keep in mind that most soil bags and mixtures contain materials like wood chips, which prevent airflow that is essential for successful pepper growing. Be sure to look for a potting mix that has all of these ingredients, along with a ph-neutral fertilizer and perlite to aid drainage.
Pepper plants that aren’t getting enough water can wilt. They may appear a little yellow and become delicate to the touch, so check their leaves often to see if they’re getting enough moisture.
The quickest way to tell when a plant needs water is to see if the top inch of soil is dry. This will let you know whether you should water again or not.
When watering, always aim for the base of the plant to avoid splashing the leaves. This is because beads of water sit on the surface of a leaf, which becomes a magnifying glass that can burn the leaves.
Watering during the day also can scald the leaves, so it’s best to do it early in the morning or after the sun has lowered at night. This will allow you to avoid causing damage to your pepper plants.