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Quick Guide
  • We recommend using our Veggie Blend soil, especially if growing in raised beds.
  • Planting different kinds of peppers to lengthen harvest time, as some varieties mature more quickly than others.
  • Plant them 18 to 24 inches apart in a sunny, well-drained spot.
  • Use black landscape fabric in area and cut holes for plants to keep soil warm
  • Pepper plants need at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.
  • Mix compost or other organic matter into the soil when planting.
  • Water immediately after planting, then regularly throughout the season.
  • Add mulch around plants about 2-4 inches thick to keep the soil moist and keep down weeds.
  • Aim for a total of 1-2 inches per week (more when it's hotter).
  • Mix a continuous-release fertilizer into the soil at planting, then feed plants with liquid plant food every couple of weeks.
  • Support each pepper plant with a stake or small tomato cage, to help bear the weight of the fruit once it begins to produce.
  • Harvest peppers with shears or a knife, then store in the fridge. Be sure to pick all peppers before the first fall frost comes.

Pepper Soils
Peppers prefer a soil that is a bit lower in organic matter and a higher pH level in comparison to other garden plants. Most soil mixes and composted soil products have a neutral pH. Your peppers may grow but they may not flourish and your harvest could be limited unless you adjust your soil pH.  Because green peppers have shallow roots, you must create a loose soil texture so the roots can spread easily.

Most sources recommend a pH level around 6.0 - 6.8 acidity for growing hot peppers while some growers swear they have success at even lower levels down to 5.8.  To lower the pH level of your soil you will need to add a granular sulfur product made specifically for agriculture.   Follow the directions precisely and DO NOT add more than recommended.

Soil pH is important because it regulates the absorption of nutrients in your plants root system.

Prepping Your Site
The right site can make all the difference in how well peppers perform. Choose a sunny, well-drained spot where peppers haven't grown recently. The soil should be deep, rich, and loamy. If yours isn't, amend it with about 1 inch of compost. Avoid adding too much nitrogen to the soil, however. Excessive nitrogen can cause the pepper plants to grow too fast, making them more susceptible to disease and less productive.

Soil Temperature
Green peppers are extremely sensitive to temperature swings. For example, cool weather below 60 degrees Fahrenheit causes failed fruit development. Temperatures above 90 F also harm fruit set. Your soil needs to have a temperature above 75 F for proper germination -- a warm day is directly related to the soil's temperature. To keep the soil warm, spread black landscape Fabric across your soil with holes for growing pepper sprouts. Transplanted plants also need warm air temperatures of at least 65 to 70 F during the day and no lower than 60 F at night. Maintaining the correct soil temperature range contributes to high fruit yields.

Mulch and Fertilizer
Add mulch around the peppers to keep down weeds, and to retain moisture. As the peppers develop, switch over to a fertilizer higher in Phosphorous and Potassium. Gardeners often make the mistake of providing too much nitrogen. The result is a great looking bushy, green plant, but few fruit.

As difficult as it might be for you, pinch off any early blossoms that appear on your pepper plants. This won't harm the plants. In fact, it helps them direct their energy into growing, so you get lots of large fruits later in the season (and a higher overall yield) instead of just a few small fruits early on.

Most people don't know you can prune pepper plants. About six weeks before the first frost, snip back top branches and flowers. The plant strength will go to existing peppers, not new growth, and remaining peppers will mature faster. Also, just before the first freeze, pull entire plant and hang upside down in a dry, airy location. A garage or basement is ideal. Green peppers will ripen right on the plant. This is a good tip for shorter season gardeners.