Grow a rainbow in your garden by planting peppers in shades of green, orange, red, yellow, purple, or even black. Shapes can be bell, block, ball or elongated.
The peppers, in addition to being a nutritional contribution, bring vitamins, fiber and antioxidants to the dining room table. Red peppers provide more than 100 percent of the daily value for vitamins C and A, and green peppers are packed with fiber, folic acid, and vitamin K.
They are tropical beauties; the peppers come from the south and thrive on hot afternoons and sultry nights. Peppers grow best when temperatures stay between 20º to 25º C during the day and 15º to 20º C at night. Growth stops and flowers can drop when temperatures drop below 13ºC or rise above 30ºC.
One of the great advantages of growing peppers is that you get great harvests with very little effort. Whether they are grown in pots or in planters or directly on land, it is sure that you will harvest peppers in abundance as long as the basic elements are covered: soil, water, fertilizers.
Location and Planting
Peppers prefer at least 6 hours of sun a day. Plant them in a substrate rich in organic matter and phosphorus and with good drainage. The soil should not be cold when transplanting the seedlings (20º is the ideal temperature).
The distance between plants should be 30 cm in rows that are 40 cm from each other or 30 cm in a staggered pattern. This staggered pattern is made by putting three floors in a 90 cm wide strip.
When the plant is already grown, the leaves of the pepper plant should be touched as little as possible. The tight space between plants helps to shade, reducing water evaporation. The shade this provides the fruit also protects it from sunburn.
Insert reeds at planting time. As the peppers ripen, tie the fruit-filled stems to the reeds to prevent breakage.
Water and Fertilizer
The pepper plant constantly needs a moist soil but the fruits may develop a bitter taste. Quilting helps retain soil moisture, but if it is put in very early in the season it can also reduce soil temperature. Black plastic or gravel heat up early in the season. Use it even before planting to prepare fresh spring soil for early planting. To avoid soil cooling, mulches such as hay, shredded leaves, white plastic, or blades of grass are not applied until the first peppers emerge.
Mix the earthworm humus or compost in the planting holes, together with a specific fertilizer for tomato. When the fruits begin to form, feed the plants again with specialized fertilizer, fish emulsion, or manure tea.
- If the plants are blooming, but we are not seeing fruits, they should be gently shaken every day. Pepper blossoms are self-pollinated, which means they bloom and are pollinated by both bees and the wind.
- If the pepper stalks turn black, that’s a sign of maturity, not disease.
- You can start collecting your peppers when they are still green, or wait until they turn red, yellow, or orange. Sweet peppers are sweeter and hot peppers are hotter when the fruits are red.
- If you collect the still green peppers, the plant will continue to bear fruit.
- To harvest, use a knife or scissors to cut through the stems to make a clean cut and avoid damage to the growing stems. Leaving a piece of stem in the pepper improves storage.