Grow your own sweet bell peppers

Grow your own sweet bell peppers

Grow your own sweet bell peppers

Peppers are a tender, warm-season crop.   They resist most pests and offer something for everyone.   They come in a variety of colours namely , green , yellow, orange and red.
Planting
Start planting your seeds indoors about 8 to 10weeks before Spring.
The temperature must be at least 70 degrees F for seed germination,   so keep them in a warm area for the best and fastest results.   Plant seeds three to a pot.    Thin out the weakest seedlings.   Let the remaining two pepper plants spend their entire lives together as one plant.   The leaves of two plants help protect peppers against sunscald, and the yield is often twice as good   . A week before transplanting, introduce fertilizer or aged compost to your garden soil.
After the danger of frost has passed,   transplant seedlings outdoors, 18 to 24 inches apart (but keep paired plants close to touching.)   Soil should be at least 65 degrees F, as peppers will not survive transplanting at temps any colder. Gardeners can warm up the soil by covering it with black plastic.   Put two or three match sticks in the hole with each plant, along with about a teaspoon of fertilizer.   This gives the plants a bit of sulfur, which they like.
Care
Soil should be well-drained, but maintain adequate moisture either with mulch or plastic covering.   Water one to two inches per week,  but remember peppers are extremely heat sensitive.    If you live in a warm or desert climate, watering everyday may be necessary.  Fertilize after the first fruit set.   Weed carefully around plants.   If necessary, support plants with cages or stakes to prevent bending.   Try commercially available cone-shaped wire tomato cages.   These are just the thing for peppers.   For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of epsom salts to one gallon of water.   This is to be done once when it begins to bloom,  and once again ten days later.
Pests and diseases
Look out for Aphids, Flea Beetles and Cucumber mosaic virus.
Look out too,  for blossom end rot,  which appears as a soft, sunken area which turns darker in colour.   Pollination can be reduced in temperatures below 60F and above 90F.
Too much nitrogen will reduce fruit from setting.
Harvest and storage
Harvest as soon as peppers reach desired size.   The longer bell peppers stay on the plant,  the more sweet they become and the greater their vitamin C content.    Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut peppers clean off the plant, for the least damage. Peppers can be refrigerated in plastic bags for up to 10 days after harvesting.   Bell peppers can also be dried.  A conventional oven is recommended for the task.   Wash, core, and seed the peppers.   Cut into one-half-inch strips. Steam for about ten minutes, then spread on a baking sheet.   Dry in the oven at 140 degrees F (or the lowest possible temperature) until brittle, stirring occasionally and switching tray positions.  When the peppers are cool, put them in bags or storage containers.   Enjoy your sweet peppers.

MyAlberton

 

Grow your own sweet bell peppers

 

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