Easy, breezy, and slightly spicy: growing bell peppers is a delicious walk in the park. However, there are some tips and tricks you should know to get the best bell pepper bounty. Read our guide on growing delicious peppers so you can have a hearty harvest this year.
Identifying Types of Peppers
There are many peppers that you can plant in your garden, depending on your space and taste! Bell peppers are among the easiest varieties to start with but don’t forget varieties like jalapeno, cayenne, hot peppers, wax peppers, and sweet peppers. Each one provides a different flavor profile and can be used in many different ways, from salads, jams, preserves, salsas, and more. Always check the growing information to make sure you have the environment your peppers need.
Getting Started With Peppers
If you’re starting peppers from seed, they’ll need plenty of time to mature before transplanting. Sweet peppers will take 60-90 days, while most hot peppers can take up to 150 days to mature. If you’re hoping to get your peppers in the ground in time, you should be starting your seeds indoors in January or February. You have to factor in the 8-10 weeks between sowing and transplanting, so make sure you start early! Peppers do not fare well in frosty weather, so don't transplant until nighttime temperatures range from 55-60 F. If you’re looking to buy pepper plants in Allentown, check our website or contact us to see what we have available.
Where to Plant Pepper Plants
Find a sunny location to plant your peppers. Peppers need plenty of sunlight to thrive. They also need some room to breathe. Depending on what pepper varieties you choose, space them about 12-18 inches apart. Plant them at about the same depth as a tomato plant since they put down extra roots. You can try growing bell peppers in pots, garden beds, or right into the soil. However, if you live in a climate that fluctuates, you may be wise to plant them in pots that can be brought inside during the risk of cooler temperatures.
Caring for your Pepper Plants
Growing bell peppers requires a lot of sun and water, but there is a bit of an art to watering pepper plants. They are very thirsty plants but won’t enjoy being waterlogged. Make sure you plant peppers in well-draining soil to avoid rotting roots and limp plants. Adding mulch to your pepper plant’s soil will help moderate the amount of water the plant is getting.
While it may seem counterintuitive, you should pinch off the first few flowers that grow during the season. New flowers will eventually grow into a tasty pepper, but during the early growing season, these peppers will likely be a bit pitiful. Growing bell peppers requires a bit of patience, so pluck off the flowers and let the plant redirect that energy into a stronger plant that will bear larger veggies later in the season. It will be worth the wait!
Other Pepper Tips
There are a few more things to keep in mind when growing bell peppers.
Don’t over-fertilize: Fertilizing pepper plants should be done in moderation. You can add a 5-10-10 fertilizer before transplanting and when blooms begin to appear. Too much fertilizing will cause the plant to create large, lush leaves, but at the expense of growing the tasty edible part of the plant.
Stake your plants: Pepper plants may need a bit of support. As the peppers grow and get heavier, the plant itself may suffer and become damaged. Don’t use twine or other rope to stake your pepper plants, but instead, use old nylons or a material that has some “give.” Using something too restricting can choke or snap the stems.
Try companion planting: If you’re growing bell peppers in the ground or a large container, you can try planting them alongside companion plants like parsley, basil, tomatoes, or carrots. Avoid kohlrabi or fennel, which peppers won’t get along with.
If you have more questions about growing bell peppers in Allentown, come visit us or give us a call. We’re more than happy to guide you as you grow!