You can fill your backyard with peppers and it wouldn’t be boring. With sweet peppers and hot peppers; white, orange, yellow, red, green, brown and purple peppers; big peppers and tiny peppers; and round, ruffled, bell-shaped and peppers that are long, there’s enough variety to satisfy any pepper enthusiast.
Peppers are usually split into two broad classes: sweet peppers and hot peppers. The best-known sweet peppers are bell peppers, however there are plenty of others on the market, a lot of which are amazingly flavorful. Sexy peppers live up to their name. They get their essential hotness in the capsaicin they contain, along with the hotness can vary from slightly above mild to cool. Some hot peppers resemble sweet peppers, so be sure to check exactly what you’re planting.
All peppers need the exact same growing conditions, although hot peppers take a little more time to mature and like it a little warmer.
Note: While peppers love warm weather, nighttime temperatures consistently above 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) can result in a bad harvest.
When to plant: Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before planting into peat or fresh pots; set out seedlings at least one week following the last freeze date and when soil temperature has reached at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).
Days to maturity: 60 to 120 after transplanting
moderate requirement: Full sun
Water necessity: Frequent
Sweet peppers: Ace, Apple, Baby Belle, Bell Boy, California Wonder, Giant Marconi, Golden Bell, Gypsy, Jingle Bells, big sweet cherry, Lilac Belle, mini chocolate bell, mini red bell, mini yellow bell, Pepperoncini, Purple Beauty, Red Heart, Red Ruffled, Sweet Banana, Sweet Chocolate, sweet pimiento, Tequila, Valencia, Yolo Wonder Hot peppers: Anaheim, ancho (poblano), cayenne, habanero, Hungarian Hot Wax varieties, jalapeño, Mariachi, Mirasol, Mulato, NuMex Pinata, NuMex Suave Red, Padron, Pasilla, serrano, Tabasco, Thai Dragon, Thai Hot, Trinidad Perfume
Planting and maintenance: select a website with abundant, well-draining soil in sunlight that is sheltered from end — warmer conditions mean hotter peppers. Wait until both soil temperatures and outdoor temperatures have grown. Sweet peppers like temperatures at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius) during the daytime, whereas hot peppers like it even warmer, up to 85 (29) degrees.
Dig approximately 1 to 2 1 1/2 feet deep and add compost or another rich organic matter into the planting site. Place plants 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart, settling them in only slightly thicker than they had been planted in their developing pots; space rows 2 to 3 feet apart. Taller peppers might require staking or caging; if you think you’ll want support, it is best to put it in place at this moment. If cutworms are an issue in your region, add collars around the young seedlings.
When growing space is limited, plant berries with little fruits in containers. Select a pot that is at least 18 to 20 inches in diameter and feed gently throughout the growing season.
Whether in the garden or in pots, keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy throughout the growing season. Do not despair if elevated temperatures trigger a loss of petroleum production; regular care, such as watering, will help ensure that production will increase when the weather cools down. When the soil is reliably warm, mulch to retain moisture and prevent weeds.
Feed plants with a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer since they set blossoms, but don’t overfeed. A fertilizer designed for tomatoes is a good option. Many experts suggest spraying the leaves and blossoms with a diluted solution of magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salts, at this opportunity to increase production.
Though peppers are usually sturdy, armyworms, aphids, some beetles, caterpillars, corn borers, mites and whiteflies may cause occasional issues. If viruses are an issue in your region, start looking for varieties which are resistant and rotate plantings.
Harvest: Cut fruit in the plant with scissors or pruning shears. Harvest sweet peppers once they’ve reached full size or allow them to continue to color; they’re sweeter the more time they ripen. Pimientos are an exception; don’t harvest until they are reddish.
Harvest hot peppers once they reach full size. You can select them while they’re still green or wait until they turn red or yellow for a more complex flavor. As a precaution, wear gloves when harvesting and keep both hands and gloves away from the face, especially your eyes.
Best advice: After picking or utilizing hot peppers, wash your hands thoroughly, then rub them with vegetable oil, then wash them again.