How To Grow Red Peppers – Growing Red Peppers From Seed
Growing red peppers from seed is not difficult at all. You just need to follow some basic rules. There are many different varieties of red pepper, but they all have one thing in common: They’re hot! That’s why most people like them so much!
There are two main types of red peppers: Capsicum annuum (red bell pepper) and Capsicum frutescens (green bell pepper). These two species belong to the same genus, which means they share similar characteristics. Both species produce edible fruits with bright colors. The fruit is round or oval, and usually contains 5-10 seeds.
They look very attractive when ripe, but don’t taste too good unless eaten immediately after ripening.
Capsicum annuum is native to tropical regions of South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Capsicum frutescens grows wild throughout Central and South America. Both species are members of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), which includes tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes and other vegetables that contain capsaicinoids.
How To Grow Red Peppers
All red peppers used for cooking and eating are developed from either Capsicum annuum or frutescens. In order to be edible, the seeds must be allowed to ripen to a bright color. They do not taste good when eaten before they are ripe, because they contain a chemical called alkaloid, which is also present in potatoes. The word “pepper” refers to the pungency of the flesh of the fruit.
How To Grow Red Peppers From Seed ( Video )
Before sowing the seeds, fill pots with a mixture of soil and perlite or sand. This mixture will help the soil drain quickly and prevent fungus. Sow the seeds about 1-1.5 inches (2.5-4 cm) deep, and keep them watered until they sprout.
When they are about 3 inches (8 cm) high, it is time to transplant them outdoors. This way the plants will grow strong roots and sturdy stems.
If growing bell peppers in pots, choose a large container (15-20 gallons/50-70 liters). Peppers can grow very tall and strong, so a large pot will make sure they don’t become root-bound. Use a mixture of potting soil and perlite (or pumice or lava rock). Peppers require a lot of nutrients, so add some slow-release fertilizer to the soil.
When To Plant Red Peppers
You can plant red peppers outside as soon as the average night temperature is at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13°C) and daytime temperatures are 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21°C) or higher.
Some Cold Weather Gardening Tips:
Protect young plants with plastic row covers or horticultural fleece.
Place a light layer of mulch (pine needles, straw, or chopped up banana leaves) over the soil to keep in moisture and add some insulation.
Harden off young plants by exposing them to a little bit of sun daily, extending the time a little each day.
Choose a protected area, such as under a porch or patio.
Alternatively you can start them inside. Four to six weeks before the average last frost date for your area, start the seeds in peat pots or paper cups, and then transplant them into the ground when they are about 3 inches (8 cm) high. Alternatively, you can place hardy varieties (such as bell peppers) outdoors after the worst of the weather has passed.
How To Water Red Peppers
Keep the soil constantly moist, but not muddy. Check the soil with your finger. If it feels dry a couple of inches below the surface, it’s time to water.
Feed pepper plants every two weeks with a fertilizer that has phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen, such as 16-16-16.
How To Care For Young Red Pepper Plants
To protect young plants from frost (if you’re in a short-season climate), plastic row cover or horticultural fleece will work. Drape the cover over the plants and secure it with rocks or soil. It is important not to tie the material around the stems because they need to stay loose so that the plants can continue to receive adequate amounts of sunlight.
How To Care For Mature Red Peppers Plants
Harden off mature plants by exposing them to a little bit of sun daily, extending the time a little each day. After a week, they should be ready for full sun.
Continue watering mature plants regularly, or water them by hand if you’re growing them in containers.
Red peppers need a lot of nutrients, so add some slow-release fertilizer to the soil every three weeks.
Harvest sweet bell peppers when they’re still green, or allow them to ripen until they turn their color of choice – from yellow to orange to red. Pick them before they become overripe and drop off the plant.
Tip: Red peppers turn red because of the accumulation of a chemical called “phytochemicals”. The longer they are on the plant, the more phytochemicals they accumulate, which makes them turn red. Most people prefer red peppers because the green peppers are bitter.
Taking care of the plants is just a matter of keeping the weeds pulled, the soil watered and applying some mulch around them.
How To Harvest Red Peppers
You can harvest peppers any time after they reach the size you desire. Most people like to pick them when they are big enough to be stuffed, or small enough to put in a salad. They can also be left to ripen on the plant. Most sweet bell peppers turn red, yellow, orange or purple as they ripen.
Green peppers are not ripe yet.
Sweet peppers may also be allowed to ripen on the plant, then hung in a dry, airy place where they will continue to ripen and turn colors. Peppers will often become sweeter after they have been picked.
It is best to pick peppers every few days so they will keep producing. If you miss a few days, or a week, they will likely fruit again before too long.
Most sweet bell peppers will turn from green to their final color when they are ripe, but some varieties change very little in color when they ripen. The best way to tell if a sweet bell pepper is ripe is to gently tug on it. If it pulls off of the plant easily, it is ripe.
Note: There is quite a bit of variation in how ripe your peppers will get on their own. If you want a consistent ripeness throughout the season, you may want to harvest some to eat and leave others to continue growing.
How To Store Red Peppers
Store sweet bell peppers by wrapping them in plastic or putting them in a ziplock bag. They will keep for a week or two this way.
To store sweet bell peppers in the refrigerator, leave them in a loose plastic bag so they will still breathe. They should keep for up to a week.
If you want to freeze your sweet bell peppers, make sure they are sealed in a good airtight container or sealed ziplock bag. This will prevent them from going bad as quickly. They will keep for six months frozen if sealed correctly.
Storing hot peppers is pretty easy. You can either chop them up and freeze them in a ziplock, or just put them in the fridge in a bowl (just don’t forget that they are there!) They will keep for a few weeks this way.
How To Prepare Red Peppers
In most cases it is best to peel sweet bell peppers before using them in cooking. This can be accomplished by blanching them in boiling water or you can use a knife to peel the skin off. Peeling hot peppers is not usually necessary, but if you prefer, you can remove the outer layer of the pepper.
For hot peppers, you may want to wear rubber gloves while handling them since they can irritate your skin. Most of the hot pepper’s “heat” is in the seeds and veins, so you can remove these before chopping it up if you desire.
What Can You Do With Red Peppers?
Sweet bell peppers are great in stir fry or any other type of sauteed vegetables. They can also be added to any dish that calls for tomatoes. Sweet bell peppers taste great in omelets, on sandwiches or just eaten raw. They are also good for you!
Hot peppers can be eaten raw, but most people prefer to cook them first. They can be eaten in a variety of ways, but some of the most common are in stir fry, eggs, salsa, or pickled. Hot peppers can also be crushed and made into a paste for later use.
Other sites say that red bell peppers aren’t really good for you…but we’re gonna err on the side of caution and say that they are!
So, let’s move on to pruning techniques…
How To Prune Red Peppers
If you want a full harvest of sweet bell peppers, you will probably want to grow them on a support structure. This can be anything from a simple set of stakes to something more elaborate like a trellis. You can also just grow them along a fence. They do not need light, so they will grow just fine under a tree.
Once the plants start to mature, you may want to prune them and shape them. This is especially true if you are growing them up a support structure, because you will want to keep the bottom part of the plantshort so that it is easier to pick the peppers.
Pepper plants are very easy to prune. All you need is a sharp knife or shears. Cut the stem at the point where a new leaf pair is starting and the stem has developed enough of a stalk that it is no longer completely cylindrical.
Pruning the plants will help maximize your yield. It is almost like training a vine to grow how you want it to. But, it isn’t really necessary.
How many peppers can you expect from your plants?
That depends upon the variety you grow, of course, but you can generally expect at least 20 good sized peppers per healthy plant. A healthy plant will be around 2 to 4 feet tall and sport between 5 and 10 leaves. A pepper is ready to pick when it still is attached to the plant, but the stem snaps off easily. The pepper itself will be slightly wobbly if you give the pepper a slight shake.
After they are picked, they will not get any riper and will eventually turn from green to red (or yellow or orange or purple). If left on the plant too long, they will eventually turn to a mushy brown. You can speed up the ripening process by placing them in a container together with other peppers that are at their ripening stage.
How long do red peppers keep?
Properly stored, sweet bell peppers will last for months and even up to a year. However, unless you are planning on canning or processing them in some other way, you will not want to keep them around for quite that long. They will generally keep for two to three months.
Sources & references used in this article:
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