Growing Bell Peppers: From Planting to Harvest

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bell peppers

Do you know that you can grow Bell peppers even without extensive knowledge and experience in gardening?

If you are just starting a layout for your perfect veggie garden and looking for ideas on what to grow, look no further.

As temperatures slowly start to rise in spring, you might want to grow tomato vines, cucumbers, or the perfect bell pepper plant.

While you might be thinking that growing bell peppers is not an easy job, the same as tomatoes.

These are technically a fruit and are certainly worth the challenge.

These warm-weather plants are a great addition to your home salts or as a healthy afternoon snack.

Moreover, you can also eat them raw or in cooked form.

With that, let’s learn more about the fundamentals of growing bell peppers.

We will also discuss different types and basic elements your need to consider to cultivate this delicious, versatile, and crisp veggie.

Bell Pepper Varieties

Before moving towards the techniques of growing bell peppers, it is important to consider a few basic things.

The Bell Pepper plant or Capsicum Annum belongs to the nightshade family, which consists of more than 2,3oo species.

These also include eggplants, potatoes, and tomatoes.

One of the greatest attributes of these peppers is that they come in a number of colors, shapes, and sizes.

Moreover, this makes them one of the most versatile foods you can use in different cuisines.

Unlike their spicy counterparts, like Jalapenos and serrano peppers, these do not contain capsaicin.

This is a compound that gives jalapenos and serrano peppers their pungency and heat.

If you think that bell peppers and red peppers are different plants, then my friend, think again.

These are actually the same peppers, that are simply at different maturity levels.

bell pepper varieties

Furthermore, they start green, however, if you leave them to mature, they will gradually achieve their full color, a bright and deep red crimson red.

Fun Fact: The longer you allow your bell peppers to mature, the higher their vitamin C and will also have a sweet flavor.

While peppers are pretty resilient to garden pests, you may want to opt for resistant varieties to make sure that your bell peppers are growing well and your experience goes smoothly.

Some of the best species you can include are:

  • Green peppers that turn into red sweet peppers: Sweet red Marconi, Lady bell, Gypsy, Lipstick, Bellboy, Sweet California wonder
  • Orange peppers: Orange sun, Milena
  • Yellow peppers: Golden California wonder, Honey bell, Marengo

Growing Bell Pepper: The Basics

One of the important things to know about bell peppers is that are sensitive to cold temperatures.

Therefore, it is a good idea to start them indoors before their growing season beings, i.e. spring or summer.

However, keep that in mind that sweet bell peppers have a long growing season, as they take about 60 to 90 days from sowing to harvesting.

Thus, the sooner you start the better.

Moreover, many gardeners recommend sowing your bell peppers seeds at least 8 to 10 weeks before your last spring frost date.

growing requirments

Germination of the seeds occurs within 10 days and once the first set of true leaves begins to appear, you can begin transplanting them outside, if you intend to do so.

Surprisingly, bell peppers can also grow in your indoor settings.

However, before you move your bell peppers out, make sure to check that the temperature during the night does not go below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is because low temperatures may shock your young plants and contribute to a premature demise.

Thus, the best way to support these new plants is to wait till the frost pass.

Sunlight and Water Requirments for Bell Peppers

Since bell peppers are warm-weather crops they love direct sunlight and full sun, thus, make sure to place them where nothing is blocking the light.

If you live in a climate with extremely high heat and intense sunlight, then it can make your peppers susceptible to sunscald.

This is in particular to the young leaves and more tender fruits.

While they may look aesthetically unappealing, unscaled bell peppers are still edible and taste great.

Keep this in mind that in order to produce large and healthy fruit, your peppers need plenty of full fun, at least 6 to 8 hours a day.

On the other hand, finding the right watering balance is important to a thriving bell pepper plant.

bell peppers 2

As sweet bell peppers are unable to tolerate extremely high temperatures, it is important to water them to prevent diseases.

If you are somewhere in a desert climate or experience a dry summer, it is important to hydrate your plant daily.

Make sure to do this particularly in the morning or evening to prevent water evaporation.

In order to avoid diseases and pests like anthracnose or blossom end rot, avoid overhead watering and make sure to water deeply and evenly at the base.

In this way, you will encourage the development of a strong and healthy root system, which in turn will make your plant more resilient to overcome any disease.

Selecting the Perfect Soil for your Bell Peppers

Your bell peppers love to thrive in loamy soil that is loaded with organic matter.

You can either buy a potting mix with these characteristics or purchase all the elements and create your own.

Moreover, fertilizing is an important step in vegetable gardening.

However, make sure to not go overboard and over-fertilize as it will encourage your plant to grow more foliage and produce less fruit.

As water is important to grow bell peppers, choosing the soil is also the best way to make sure that there are optimal moisture levels.

These plants do not like wet soil, thus, opt for sandy, loamy soil to make sure that there is good drainage.

And it helps the soil temperature to rise quicker, which is a key factor in the cultivation of bell peppers.

bell peppers 1

Another important thing is the soil pH.

Many gardeners are of the view that a slightly more acidic soil between 6.0 to 6.8 is the optimal one for your bell peppers to yield a beautiful harvest.

Moreover, you can mix coffee grounds into the potting mix to balance the pH of the soil and support the growth of your plant.

Pro Tip: In order to prevent blossom end rot, which is a calcium deficiency, you can crush some eggshells and add them to the soil

This is an easy and organic way to provide your plants with an extra boost.

To speed up the warming of soil and help to retain moisture, you can cover the soil with dark mulch.

Choosing a Container

If you live in a small apartment with a tiny balcony and think that you have a small space, think again.

You can easily grow bell peppers on our balcony.

Bell peppers can perfectly grow in the container and raised beds, and you can easily squeeze them to even smaller spaces.

Since these plants need good drainage, a raised fabric bed is one of the best options for growing bell peppers on your balcony.

Moreover, in these fabric-raised beds, you can grow different types of plants as well.

Thus, you can plant all sorts of different vegetables, herbs, and house plants, all at the same time.

However, keep that in mind, that like tomatoes, bell peppers benefit from some type of staking or trellis.

Tomato cages are a great alternative and are easy to set up. Just make sure to put them in place when your plant is still young as adjusting mature plants can be tricky.

Harvesting Bell Peppers

Your bell peppers can take anywhere from 60 to 90 days to ripe, depending on which pepper varieties you want.

Moreover, green peppers are the least mature and most bitter, however, if you leave the green pepper on the vine, it will evolve into yellow.

harvesting

Then it will evolve to orange and before fully ripening into the red pepper, it is the sweetest version.

To harvest your bell pepper, use a sharp knife or scissors to separate the fruit from the plant.

Tearing it with your own hands, however, can damage the plant, leaving about an inch of the stem behind.

Plant Care Tips

Some of the bell pepper care tips are:

Weed carefully around the bell peppers to avoid disturbing the root.

If necessary, support your plant with cages to prevent bending. In cooler temperatures, or if it gets windy, make sure to grow your peppers under some protection.

Peppers love warm weather, however, if it gets intense, it can cause the flowers to wilt and drop.

This moves your plant back outside when temperatures soar.

Moreover, pollination can be reduced in temperatures below 60°F (16°C) and above 90°F (32°C). Excess nitrogen can produce healthy foliage, however, will discourage fruit from setting.

Two factors can cause flower drop:

  • high heat
  • very low humidity

plantation

In case the air is dry, make sure to water and thoroughly mist the plants.

Spider mites and aphids are the two most common pests of bell peppers. You can identify spider mites by the webbing on the leaves that thrive in hot and dry weather.

Mist or spray these areas regularly to make conditions as hostile as possible for mites.

On the other hand, aphids prefer the underside of the leaves, however, are also present in other parts of the plant.

Squish isolated clusters or in case of serious infestation, turn the plan upside down so you can brush spider mites and aphids away.

Final Thoughts

The fun thing about growing bell peppers is that they come in all shapes and sizes and you can find a variety that caters to your taste. From sweet to spicy, they offer a wide range of flavors.

While growing and maintaining them comes with challenges, you will really feel proud of yourself when the first tiny pepper appears.

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