Two ways to grow bell peppers

People who come to our greenhouse always have lots of questions about what is the best way to grow peppers, how I grow peppers and etc. So I decided to put it all on the paper so anybody can read it. Since customers are interested in organic gardening too I did little research and share my founding.

REGULAR WAY

When to start

If you planing to grow bell peppers outside, start them indoors late March. Depending on light source provided pepper plants need to grow indoors 60-80 days.

Choosing soil

Best choice is to use pre-made germination soil mix. Consider the fine consistence one.

Pots

Best option to plant peppers directly in 4 in plastic or peat pots one seed per pot. Avoid mass germination in flats. Plant grow rate reduces significantly when transplanting small plants with exposed roots.

Once seeds planted in 4 in pots cover it up with clear plastic. Every pot makes its own little “greenhouse” which helps to speed up germination process. Don’t forget to uncover pots every day for few hours. Plants needs fresh air to balance growing process.

Heat

Bell peppers germinate in 70-75 F temperature. After seeds sprouted reduce temperature to 65-70 during the day and 60-65 at night. This temperature change helps to prevent spindly plants and encourages root development.

Watering

Water you pepper plants with 70-75 F temperature water. Very important not to let soil dry out. Water excessively every 5 days in morning hours. Soil needs to be moist but not swamped.

Transplanting into garden

Plant peppers outside after danger of last frost. For North Dakota planting time is first half of June. Bell peppers demand good soil. Sandy or even little bit clay like soil mixed with compost is the best choice. Generally soil needs to be alkaline (pH  6.5). Plant peppers in the soil about 1in deeper then they were in pots. Choose garden spot with full sun and protected from winds.

Care

If peppers grow very fast and bushy you might consider forming plants by tie two or tree stems together. Remove all additional sprouting if any from the bottom of the plants. Towards the end of summer when approximately 40 days of growing season left pinch stops of the plants. That stops plant from continuous blooming  and allows existing fruits to mature faster. Water peppers regularly and excessively. Brake ground around your plants so peppers root would get some air. Peppers are self pollinating plants. If you stake your pepper plants, consider to shake stakes once in a while to enhance pollination.

Fertilizing

Before fruiting starts, fertilize peppers with calcium and phosphorus fertilizers. That will enhance root development and plant growth.  In blooming stage plants needs lots of nitrogen. When fruits started fertilize with all purpose fertilizers that contains all N-P-K and magnesium. It is recommended to fertilize peppers often but not excessively.

 

ORGANIC WAY

“Waking up” seeds

Seeds are waken up by so called sauna. Place seeds into cup and poor hot water (170 F) over it. Let it cool down. Seeds that floats are not lively (they will not germinate). Good seeds place on piece of paper towel and fold it so seeds wouldn’t fall off. Poor warm water over it. Let it sit for few hours. Then poor warm water over it again. Let it cool off and leave it for 24 hours. Now seeds are ready to be placed to the ground.

When to plant

Sow peppers early spring 2-3 days before full moon.

Growing

Same as regular way. Grow 7-8 weeks indoors before transplanting outdoors.

Transplanting to the garden

Our ancestries believed that moon phases are influencing our garden success. Peppers recommended to be transplanted when moon is in waning crescent phase. Plant peppers in garden spot exposed by south or west sun. To provide natural nutrition plant peppers in compost soil.

Mulching

To keep peppers evenly moist it is recommended to spread mulch around plants. It is very important when fruits start set. As mulching material it is recommended to use grass clippings, leaves or straw.

Watering

Never water peppers with cold water. Best time to water is mornings until 10 am and evening after 8 pm.

Heat

Peppers needs 70-75 F temperature days ans 60 -65 F at night for continuous growth. When temperature drops down to 60 F peppers stop growing.

Fighting diseases and bugs

Fungus. 1 tbsp of baking soda, 1 tbsp of olive oil mixed in with 1 gal of water. Spray with this mix every 4-5 days.

Aphids. Take 5 gal of marigold plants without roots. Poor water over it. Add bar of shredded natural soap. Spray peppers with this mix  to get rid of aphids.

Harvesting

Fallowing earths biorhythms (soil “inhales” in the morning, and “breathes out” in the afternoon) it is advice to harvest crops above the ground in the morning and the one in the ground in afternoon. So peppers should be picked in the morning.

Neighbors

There are plants that peppers likes to be in neighborhood with more then others. Good “neighbors” are kale, basil, thyme, nasturtium, melon, spinach, tomato. Not as suitable “neighbors” are cucumbers, cabbage.

Information borrowed from Lithuanian gardening magazine “My Garden” (lit. “Mano sodas”).

 

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