I’m sure you have seen the prices of peppers in the store lately. They can be very expensive and most stores have a limited selection. You can save money by growing your own peppers. Then you can dice and freeze the extra peppers and enjoy them during the winter.
Peppers may be sweet or so hot they will make you cry, so know which verities you want to eat before planting or if you are brave, experiment a little with some new pepper plants you’ve never had before. Habanera is a great one if you like really hot food but is a poor choice if you can’t handle anything spicy. If you can handle a habanera then you may like the world’s hottest pepper from India called Jolokia Chili Pepper which will grow in the United States as long as it’s planted during summer. Sweet bell peppers aren’t spicy and come in green, red, orange and yellow and are great for stir frying.
Tips for Growing Pepper Plants
Peppers make a great patio vegetable because the plant does not get that big, so they don’t take up a lot of space. You can grow them in practically anything and they are also an easy vegetable to grow for the beginner gardener but I caution you that they do have needs; you can’t simply plant and leave them alone.
Pepper plants can be grown by seed or seedling, however, which way to do it will depend on how late in the season you are. If the season is just starting then starting seeds is an ideal thing to do but if the season is already to a good start you may want to stop by your nursery and pick up pepper starts because by the time the seeds sprout and begin to get a good amount of growth on them the season will be over. If you live in an area that has a short growing season, you can start start seeds inside and then transfer them outside after all danger of frost has passed.
Peppers like warmth, they will not grow in a cool climate. You need to plant these guys in early summer so they acclimate to the high heat. As the weather improves you will see them really take off, the foliage will get larger and you will see flowers form and then the flowers will turn to the fruit which is the pepper part. If you notice your peppers getting flowers too early and the plant is still relatively small just pinch off the flowers as they form, this will prevent the plants resources from being used solely on creating fruit and will actually force growth.
You can fertilize peppers just like you fertilize tomato plants. Soil amended with organic matter will make peppers grow larger. Use natural insecticides and fungicide to treat common infestations as soon as you see them. Pinch off leaves that appear moldy.
Harvest peppers when they appear to be mature. You will have to judge this on their appearance compared to what they look like on packaging materials. Be careful when harvesting them, use gloves and clippers when harvesting and immediately wash hands with hot soapy water so you don’t get pepper oils in your eyes or mouth.
More Vegetable Growing Tips:
More Gardening Tips:
- How to Get Started with Composting
- 3 Ways to Start Composting
- How to Start Square Foot Gardening
- Top 10 Organic Fertilizers
- How to Make a Straw Bale Garden
- How to Start a Plot Garden
- Companion Plant Gardening
- Vegetable Container Gardening
- Tips for Attracting Bees to your Garden
Emily is passionate about growing her own food, crafts, sewing, developmental disabilities and blogging. She holds a bachelors degree in psychology with a secondary in human development from Washington State University. She also holds an associates degree in horticulture from Clark College. You can often find her blogging over at Emily’s Frugal Tips, a frugal blog dedicated to teaching families how to live with more for less money.