How to Grow Peppers
Peppers are annuals that love the heat of summer. We suggest starting your seed indoors about 8 weeks before last frost date. (or if you prefer, you can direct sow in the garden about 2-3 weeks after last frost when soil is warm) Seed Depth ¼ – ½” Plant Spacing: 18 – 24″ apart Row Spacing: 2 – 3′ apart Ideal soil temperatures for germination is 85°. Peppers prefer soil that is rich with plenty of compost. Plant in full sun and keep moist, but not wet. Add mulch to keep the weeds down and retain moisture. Allow 7 to 14 days for germination.
Peppers can be harvested at just about any time. You can pick them in the immature stage (green) or wait until they are fully ripe when they have reached their full color. Sweet peppers will get sweeter as you leave them on the vine and hot peppers will get hotter. So it’s really your taste preference that will decide. Be sure to cut the pepper from the plant. Don’t just pull it off. Store up to 2 weeks in cool temperatures.
Saving Pepper Seeds
Peppers need to be fully ripe. Cut open and allow the seeds to dry on a paper plate. Use a screen to help with the cleaning if necessary. Seeds will keep for 2-3 years if kept cool and dry.
- Tarnished Plant Bug
Yellow-green nymphs or, as adults, ¼” long oval bug, light green to brown in color, with top wings having a yellow triangle on each side. Keep weeds down and consider using row covers. Spraying with deterrents such as pyrethrin or neem oil can prove helpful.
- Bacterial Spot
Lesions on leaves turn brown to black and will eventually drop off. The fruit will also have a warty appearance with spots that turn brown to black. Practice good sanitation by keeping the garden clean of plant debris. Water plants at the roots and handle plants only when they are dry.