Peppers are one of my favorite things to grow in my garden. I love how they add flavor to our food. From spicy stir fry to bell peppers I slice and freeze for tossing directly into food as we cook. Bell peppers and a flavorful addition to homemade sloppy joes and my oh so yummy sinful sausage and potatoes. Spicy peppers add a major kick to my 3 bean chili or my Pico De Gallo without cilantro.
How to plant peppers
Peepers Like it hot and will thrive best in full sun. Growing peppers near your tomatoes. If you are looking for a companion plant to maximize space in your garden you can plant with any of the following.
Pepper plants prefer a loamy soil, Large peppers like bell pepper varieties need some sort of support such as garden stakes to help keep the peppers stay off the ground where they are likely to rot. This is due to the heavy fruit combined with peppers, known for their shallow root system. Be sure to plant with plenty of compost and organic matter mixed into the soil.
When planing in a pot ensure that you use a large pot at least 12 inches around. The pot does not need to be very deep. Some decorative pepper varieties can even hide in your front yard.
Pepper plants love warm weather. Start pepper seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost. Do not plant your peppers before the soil is 70 degrees and the nights stay warm. Most varieties of peppers grow their best between 70 to 90 degrees.
Pests can be an issue for peppers, particularly aphids because they have a tendency to become an issue for peppers. Check them often and use a simple soap spray consisting of water and a few drops blue dawn dish detergent at night to kill any aphids that find their way to your peppers.
Peppers are water hogging plants. For the best results, you will want to give your peepers plenty of water using the deep watering system to help encourage your peppers to root a bit deeper. Add plenty of mulch to prevent the soil from drying out completely between waterings.
Adding a watering globe to potted pepper plants can help keep them from drying out easier making them a bit simpler for the forgetful gardener to grow.
Remove the first set of flowers from your pepper plants to encourage them to grow larger before producing. This will raise the production of your pepper plants greatly allowing you to get more peppers for your hard work.
Harvesting peppers from your garden
Growing peppers is easy and makes a great addition to your salsa garden when you want to make your own fresh salsa but harvesting can be a little tricky. All peppers start out green and turn their final color as they mature. Some peppers will change flavor as their color changes. Check information on the variety of pepper to get the right harvest time.
To avoid damaging your pepper plants opt to use pruners or a sharp knife rather than pulling peppers off your pant as you harvest. A well-cared for pepper plant will produce dozens and sometimes even hundreds of peppers. Most pepper plants will thrive well into the first frost. Harvest any remaining peppers before the first frost arrives.
After harvesting heirloom varieties of peppers be sure to save the seeds for next year. Pepper seeds are one of the easiest plants to save from seed.
Freezing sliced peppers is perfect for just tossing right into your favorite dishes as they cook like I do when I make a quick batch of cast iron skillet fajitas. Canning peppers in cowboy candy or pepper jelly is a great way to preserve a large harvest of peppers for use long into the winter.