Whether you like sweet or spicy, you will love harvesting sun-ripened peppers from your garden. Peppers planted now have time to grow into leafy, well-rooted plants before hot summer weather arrives. As you choose seedlings, include one or two varieties that produce smaller fruits like ‘Sweet Banana,’ because they will bear ripe fruits faster than big bells. Small-fruited peppers are great for containers, too.
Plant Your Perfect Pepper Patch:
- Prepare a spot in full sun convenient to water.
- Mix 2” of compost with a balanced organic or time-release fertilizer into the soil. Follow label instructions for how much fertilizer to apply.
- Dig a hole for each plant a bit larger than the root ball of the plant and enrich with compost. Allow 12”-18” between plants and 24”-36” between rows.
- Set pepper seedlings in the holes about 1” deeper than they were growing in their containers.
- Water well.
- As peppers show new growth, mulch with rotted leaves, grass clippings, hay or other organic materials to keep the soil cool and moist.
- Stake peppers by early summer to keep from toppling over. Small, circular wire tomato cages work great.
- Every three weeks, drench your peppers with a water-soluble plant food, mixed according to label directions. A steady supply of water, nutrients and mulch produces big, thick-walled peppers.
If you are growing peppers in containers, choose pots at least 14” wide and fill with high-quality potting soil. In hot weather, pot-grown peppers often need watering twice a day.