Peppers

There are a lot of variety in the pepper family and what you decide to grow may depend on your region. Some seed companies provide a map of all the regions and you will need to find yours in order to choose the best variety for you. Do you want peppers that are sweet? Like bells and bananas? or hot like jalapenos or habaneros? What ever you choose you may want to stick with the smaller varieties. It is generally recommended that the smaller fruits (hot or sweet) are easier to grow. If your summers ar unusually cool or extremely hot (or if you've just had trouble growing good peppers in the past), the smaller kind may be for you. The next thing is to consider how fast a variety will produce and ripen. If you have a short growing season like me, then a difference of 10 days to maturity will make a big difference. Rather than getting  them from the garden center, you may want to start your own so here is how you do it. Sow your pepper seeds a quarter of an inch deep in a moist seed starter mix (not saturated- peppers hate water logged soils at all stages of their growth). Then place your containers inside a plastic bag to keep them from drying out. Leave a little bit open for air circulation. Keep it warm! Peppers are tropical plants and love the temperature around 80 degrees. Try to keep the temperature even until the seeds germinate as uneven temperatures will cause uneven germination. Once they have germinated you will need to give them a bright sunny window. At this point the temperature can be lowered to 70 degrees. When your seedlings have a few leaves carefully move them to larger containers as peppers don't like cramped roots. When they have 4 true leaves I give them home brewed compost tea. This is simply steeping some compost in hot water, filtering it through some cheese cloth and letting it cool. Or you can use an old pillow case full of compost just like a huge tea bag. When you get ready to plant the seedlings make sure your site is well drained. Peppers don't like wet feet, remember? Dig in lots of compost because peppers need more fertile soil than most vegetables. Also peppers should not be planted in the same spot in the garden that they were last year. Try to make sure you don't use too much nitrogen like manure, blood meal, fish meal,etc. You'll grow lots of leaves and hardly any peppers. What peppers need is phosphorus. Use rock phosphate or bone meal in the planting hole just before you transplant. They also need calcium, so add some crushed up egg shells. Dolomite lime or gypsum will adjust your soil pH. Don't forget to harden them off before transplanting in the garden. Start by giving them just a few hours of outside time a day, and slowly increase that. You may want to warm the soil where they are to go, by placing clear plastic over the soil, or even large flat rocks to retain the heat from the sun. Plant the peppers about 18 inches apart and unless you live in the south, at the same depth they are growing at in the pot. I read somewhere that if you live in a hot climate or have really spindly plants your plants would benefit from a deeper planting. But otherwise don't bother. If your plants have any blossoms, the you need to pinch them off at this point to allow your plants to put all their energy into growing bigger roots. Keep your plants warm by covering with plastic or spun polyester row cover, called Remay. If your daytime temperatures are around 95 degrees then uncover them during the day. Like most vegetables, peppers need about one inch of water per week. Apply a thick layer of straw or grass clippings after the ground has warmed, to conserve water and keep the weeds down. If you have dug in a good supply of compost and bone meal you should only need to fertilize once more, when the fruit has set.

Peppers are perennials! If you sow them in pots and bring them indoors during the cold months, they will continue to produce for you. The best way to store peppers is to freeze them or dehydrate. When freezing. Put them on a cookie sheet or large plate until frozen and then put them in a bag. This  will keep them from sticking together and you can then just take what you need for a recipe.

                                                                                            *************************************************

Use ground cayenne pepper, mixed with water and a little dish soap, sprayed on plants will deter aphids and some caterpillars. May also help with squirrels and raccoons.

                                                                                                    *********************************

Companion Planting Tip:

Parsley mixed with carrot seed helps to repel carrot flies by masking the aroma. Planted with tomatoes or asparagus it will add vigor to both. It also attracts beneficial insects like parasitic wasps that help destroy caterpillars.

                                                                                                           *********************

Brandie

"The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies."

 

 

 

 
Make a Free Website with Yola.