Written by – Kaitlynn from MIgardener
Peppers are easy to grow, but until you’ve grown them successfully, you won't know how easy it can be because of the handful of small, easy to fix things that can go wrong. Hopefully, this post will give you the tips you need to have a successful pepper harvest in 2020.
Let’s get started.
The germination time for pepper seeds is far too long for them to direct sow well in warm soil. Some peppers can take up to a month to germinate, so it’s best to plant starters that you’ve grown indoors or buy them from a local greenhouse for the best results in the garden.
55°F- 65°F - warmer soil is best for peppers. Starting them in cold soil (35-40s) would stunt the plant and result in a shorter plant that produced less fruit. 5-8 hours of full sunlight maximum. Too much sun and heat will make the flowers drop, which means less fruit production.
Fill your garden beds with a compost blend (topsoil, sand, and compost) to create a loose, airy, fluffy mixture. Pepper plants can spread their roots up to a square foot around, so this soil mix will allow the spindly roots to establish well.
Peppers require a fertilizer with a balance between nitrogen and phosphorous. Leaves should be a light lime green color, not a forest green; this indicates too much nitrogen. Too much nitrogen will make the plant grow green more than produce fruit. Too much phosphorus will create quick fruit growth, but the plant won’t be strong enough to hold it up. A serving of Trifecta+ is a good source of nitrogen and phosphorus. As an all-purpose fertilizer and soil amender, Trifecta+ will cover all the bases. If you don’t have access to trifecta, a well-balanced fertilizer mix will do. Anything from 5-5-5, 7-7-7, or 10-12-10 will be the perfect balance for your peppers.
6-6.5, just barely acidic.
1-1/2ft apart, this allows the roots to spread as much as they can.
Let your pepper plants dry out between watering cycles. Peppers are often more drought tolerant. Watering peppers all the time can stress the plant. If the leaves of your pepper plants are noticeably curled in an up or downward direction, this is something called pepper leaf edema. When plant leaf cells swell and burst from over-watering, which causes harm to flower and fruit production.
Harvest peppers in their green immature state or allow them to develop their red, yellow, or orange color. Cut the pods rather than pull them from the vines to avoid disturbing the roots. Use peppers fresh, dried whole or crushed, and frozen. Once picked, peppers are sensitive to chilling injury and should not be stored at temperatures below 50°F.