How to Grow Sweet Peppers

Sweet peppers, also known as bell peppers, are a popular vegetable to grow in home gardens. These colorful and tasty vegetables can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to stir-fries. If you’re interested in growing sweet peppers in your own garden, read on for our tips on how to get started.

Planting Instructions: Sweet peppers can be started from seed or purchased as seedlings from a local nursery. It’s best to start the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Once the seedlings are 3-4 inches tall and have their first true leaves, they can be transplanted to your garden.

Sweet peppers prefer well-drained soil with a pH between 6.2-7.0. They also need full sun to grow, so choose a location in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. When planting, space the seedlings 18-24 inches apart and make sure the soil is moist.

Watering Requirements: Sweet peppers need consistent moisture to thrive. Water the plants deeply once a week, or more often during hot and dry periods. Be sure not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot and other diseases.

Fertilizing Tips: Sweet peppers benefit from regular fertilization throughout the growing season. Use a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10, and apply according to the instructions on the package. Be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excess foliage growth and fewer peppers.

Pest Management: A variety of pests can affect sweet peppers, including aphids, spider mites, and pepper maggots. To prevent pest infestations, keep the garden clean and free of debris, and remove any affected plants immediately. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control pests.

Disease Management: Sweet peppers are susceptible to several diseases, including bacterial spot and blossom end rot. To prevent these diseases, avoid overhead watering, which can spread the bacteria. Make sure the soil is well-drained and mulch around the plants to prevent soil splash. If you notice signs of disease, remove the affected plants immediately to prevent further spread.

Harvesting Instructions: Sweet peppers are typically ready to harvest 70-90 days after planting. Look for peppers that are firm, shiny, and have a bright color. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the peppers from the plant, leaving a small stem attached.

Storage Tips: Sweet peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. For longer-term storage, you can freeze or can them.

Top Varieties to Grow: There are many different varieties of sweet peppers to choose from, including red, yellow, orange, and green. Some popular varieties include ‘California Wonder’, ‘Golden California Wonder’, and ‘Corno di Toro’.

Recipe Ideas: Sweet peppers can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, stir-fries, and stuffed peppers. Try making roasted red pepper hummus or a colorful pepper and tomato salad for a tasty and healthy snack.