Growing Pepper Plants at Home
The hardest part of growing pepper plants at home may be making the decision as to which variety you want to plant. There are numerous varieties of pepper plants to select from. Peppers range from the mild, sweet, bell peppers and banana peppers to those with a wide variance of heat to them. Browsing through a seed catalog and reading the specific descriptions for the different varieties of peppers is a great way to familiarize yourself with what is available. This will help you decide which types of peppers you want to grow at home. Seed catalogs are also a good source of information regarding the best growing conditions for the each variety of pepper. They indicate the intensity of the heat the pepper is expected to have. And, quite often a catalog description will tell you some of the best ways for enjoying the pepper. Some peppers dry better than others. Some are better for pickling and some are most delicious served in a salad.
If you want to start growing your pepper plants from seed, you should plant the seeds indoors approximately six to eight weeks before the last frost in your area. There are various options for containers to start seeds in. Peat pots are one option. Black plastic trays with a clear plastic covers are also option for starting seeds indoors. You can find a variety of options including homemade seed starter pots online. Actually, you can use something like an empty yogurt container to start your seeds in. Simply wash the containers and punch holes in the bottom for drainage. You will need some type of tray to place the cups in. A shallow bread pan or any plastic tray will work. Plant the seeds in the individual containers, water well and provide plenty of light, either natural sunlight or some type of artificial lighting. Approximately six to eight weeks after planting the seeds, your pepper plants should be ready to transfer to a large pot or outdoors if the weather is warm enough. Ideally, pepper plants should be between six to eight inches tall and night time temperature above 55 degrees before the plants are placed outside. You should acclimate the plants to the outdoor setting rather than just move them directly from indoors to the outside.
Pepper plants are abundantly available at garden centers. If starting plants from seeds is too time consuming for you or if you don’t have the proper indoor situation for planting seeds, you can simply purchase young plants in spring. Once again, the most difficult part may be narrowing down your selection to a number that is feasible for your garden space.
Pepper plants like warm moist soil. You should have adequate drainage for the plants. During the hot months of summer you will probably need to water the peppers often to avoid the soil from becoming too dry. Adding mulch to the top of the soil can help retain moisture. You should keep an organic insecticide on hand because spider mites and aphids can pose a problem for you. A regular fertilization schedule can help your plants produce more prolifically for you. You will get a higher yield of peppers if you use fertilizer with phosphorous and potassium.
Peppers grow well when planted in containers. Container planting allows you more control over the moisture level and soil condition the plants have. You can plant peppers for their flavor and for their beauty. There are varieties of bell peppers available in green, red, orange, yellow, and purple. Not only do these make an attractive addition to your garden, they are an impressive addition to summer recipes. Chili peppers and various varieties of hot pepper can easily be dried, strung, and hung in your kitchen.
Growing peppers at home is an easy activity. Simply follow the growing instructions on the seed packet or the instructions included with the plant. Taking time to read some growing tips from garden experts will help increase your success with your plants. Plant a few of your favorite varieties and also experiment with a few new varieties. Experiencing new plants and new flavors is one of the pleasures of a home garden.