Bell peppers are vegetables which are very popular in home gardens. They grow easily and provide great tasting fruit in 70 days.
Steps and Tips in Planting Bell Peppers
- Bell peppers thrive in well drained soil that is rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Prepare your soil by raising it in beds. Mix it with compost, manure, and a general fertilizer.
- Pepper seeds are difficult to germinate, so most gardeners just buy seedlings of the varieties that they prefer from their garden store. Seedlings are grown indoors and transferred outside after the last chance of frost.
- Bell peppers will grow into small bushes. They need good air circulation. Transplant the seedlings 18-24 inches apart, in rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Use a starter fertilizer when transplanting.
- As the peppers develop, switch to a fertilizer higher in Phosphorous and Potassium. Avoid too much nitrogen because you will have a bushy plant with few fruits.
- Water your bell peppers regularly. Keep your soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Mulching retains the moisture and keeps down weeds. Using a soaker under black plastic mulch makes watering the plants easier.
- Observe the plants for aphids and spider mites that love bell pepper. Apply an organic pesticide if you see them in your plants. Treat fungal infections with fungal insecticide.
- You can harvest fruits depending on the size and color you desire. If you like them green, harvest fruits when they are immature. If you want your pepper red, orange, or purple, wait until they mature. Use garden shears and don’t pull off the fruits from the plant. Continual harvesting will produce more fruits, so pick your bell peppers regularly.
Bell peppers love the warm season. They are very sensitive to frost. In cold weather, growth is stunted and leaves turn yellow. Gardeners in cold climates use plastic mulches, row covers, and hoop houses to keep their vegetables warm.
The wide variety of colors of bell pepper that are available add color to your garden, and to your plate. Aside from the most common green bell pepper, you can have red, yellow, orange and even purple bell peppers. They also come in different shapes – bell shaped, long and slender, or round. There are also sweet and hot bell peppers.