Hi I'm Tricia an organic gardener. I grow organically for a healthy and safe food supply, for a clean and sustainable environment, for an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Peppers are a fantastic crop to grow at home there's literally a rainbow of colors of peppers all different tastes and lots of different shapes. Peppers are related to tomatoes and they're grown very similarly. Pepper plants are native to tropical South America and are actually a perennial in their native land. They are usually classified by shape: bell, round cherries, heart-shaped, anchos, long cayennes any of these shapes can be hot or sweet. Peppers are very frost sensitive and they need a long season so if you want to start them from seed you need to do it indoors about six to eight weeks before the last frost, for more information about taking care of your seedlings check out our video on seedling care. Pepper plants like soil that's full of organic matter, moderately fertile and evenly moist. Set your transplants out about two to three weeks after the last frost when the soil is warm, add a starter fertilizer when you plant, you can also add a calcium supplement like Azomite to help prevent blossom end rot.
Dig the hole and bury the transplant an inch deeper than it was in the pot or tray. If you're planting in a bed like mine plant them twelve to fourteen inches apart, if you're planting in a long row you can go about eighteen to twenty four inches apart. Peppers can be finicky about flowering, if nighttime temperatures drop below sixty or go above seventy-five that can cause flower drop. Even moisture is important for fruit and flower set too, hot dry winds and dry soil can cause the abortion of immature fruit and prevent fruit set. To keep the soil moisture even you can use a reflective plastic mulch or an organic mulch. Like tomatoes you should stake or support your pepper plants because the fruit will get heavy and it will tend to topple the plant. When the first flush of peppers sets on the plant side dress some more fertilizer. Inspect your pepper plants for aphids, aphids can carry diseases that affect peppers, if you find any all you need to do is spray them off with water if they persist you can use an insecticide that's labeled for aphids. This insecticidal soap by Safer is good because it also doesn't hurt beneficial insects. Peppers can be harvested at any size and color, peppers start one color such as green white or lilac and then ripen to another color like red yellow or orange. Mature peppers will break right off the bush but use some snips so that you don't damage the bush. Taste and enjoy a rainbow of peppers and grow organic for life.