Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking. Do you think that is true?
To prevent cross-pollination, hot pepper plants should not be planted near sweet or bell pepper plants. TRUE! Plant at least 400 feet between varieties to ensure absolute purity. That’s important info for seed savers!
Sweet Peppers like: Basil, Tomato, rhubarb, eggplant, Lettuce, Asparagus, Parsley, Silver Beet, Spinach, carrot, onion, beans, cabbage, peas, marigold and okra. Hot Pepper plants do well alongside Eggplant, Tomato, Okra, Swiss Chard, Escarole, Squash and cucumbers.
Soil Peppers need VERY RICH SOIL, are heavy feeders! Place compost, worm castings, rotted manure under them when transplanting. Mix in 1 T Epsom Salts, Maxi Crop, Landscape Mix. Sandy soils are preferred for the earliest plantings because they warm more rapidly in the spring. Heavier soils can be quite productive, provided they are well drained and irrigated with care.
Epsom Salts! A cheap home remedy that can keep plants greener and bushier, enhance production of healthier fruit later in the season, and potentially help reduce blossom-end rot. Apply 1 tablespoon of granules around each transplant, but research has shown a foliar spray of a solution of 1 tablespoon Epsom salts per gallon of water at transplanting, first flowering, and fruit set is more effective! As a foliar spray, Epsom salts can be taken up quickly by plants, otherwise, it is sometimes hard for the plant to get it out of the soil because of calcium competition. The easy way to foliar feed is to have a watering can whose nozzle swivels so the spray can go UP, wetting the undersides of the leaves. What goes through and above the leaves as you spray, comes down on the top of the leaves you are spraying, doing both top and bottom at once!
Peppers love sun, but a bit of shade is good for the fruit. Last year I planted a Poblano between two big tomato plants. For awhile I thought it was a goner, shaded out, then, it just grew and grew! It got almost 4′ tall and produced like crazy and I gave giant peppers away!
Plant your peppers about a foot to 1 1/2 feet apart. A healthy pepper will get big, and it is wise to put small tomato cages over thick wall bell pepper varieties when you plant, to support the weight when they are heavy with fruit.
Too cool weather, nighttime temps 55 F or below for a time, may cause the blossoms of transplants to drop off. The only solution is to make sure night temperatures have warmed sufficiently before transplanting peppers outdoors. The plants will survive and more blossoms will appear. When daytime temps reach 90 F and above, and stay there, just like with tomatoes, the blossoms seldom set fruit. Not to worry. Just give them some time.
Personal Mulch! Solanaceae, that’s peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, like mulch from their own leaf litter, so just let the leaves fall and accumulate.
Watering tip! Peppers, have shallow roots, need even watering. Keep the soil moist—not soggy—to encourage root development and prevent blossom wilting and bitter-tasting peppers. Moisture stress during bloom can cause substantial reduction in fruit set. Later on, however, as a friend from Framers Market pointed out: ‘Red & yellow peppers are green peppers that have been ripe for a while. So you are asking an already ripe fruit to stay on a vine longer to change color. Too much water, and the pepper will start to turn brown and rot. So we switched to watering a LOT less frequently and the results have been outstanding.’
Sidedressing Peppers need fertilizer in small doses, a rich organic fertilizer when blooms appear. If you scratch in some compost, be careful not to damage their shallow roots. Liquid chicken manure is high in nitrogen and potassium for heavy feeders like peppers. Big, sweet peppers require a continual source of nutrition. The easiest way to fertilize them is to incorporate gradual-release fertilizer in the ground at planting. Fish-meal pellets, alfalfa pellets or cottonseed meal are all good organic choices. You also can foliar-feed plants every week or two with a fish/seaweed soluble fertilizer, spraying the tops and bottoms of leaves, or water the ground with the same mixture.
Harvest! Bell peppers are at their sweetest and are highest in Vitamins A and C when fully mature. When choosing bell peppers for eating, select those that are firm, heavy for their size with shiny, richly colored skin. The bell pepper’s sweetness increases as their color changes from green to their final color.
SEEDS! Harvest mature, fully-ripe peppers for seed. Most bell peppers turn red when fully mature. If frost threatens before peppers mature, pull entire plant and hang in cool, dry location until peppers mature.
- There are two methods, dry and wet, to process pepper seeds. The dry method is adequate for small amounts. Cut the bottom off the fruit and carefully reach in to strip the seeds surrounding central cone. In many cases, seeds need no further cleaning.
- To process the seed from large amounts of peppers, cut off the tops just under the stem, fill a blender with peppers and water and carefully blend until good seeds are separated and sink to bottom. Pepper debris and immature seeds will float to the top where they can be rinsed away. Spread clean seeds on paper towel and dry in cool location until seed is dry enough to break when folded.
May your peppers be fat and plentiful, and you have crunchy happy eating year after year!