Bell peppers are a flavourful and versatile vegetable, and are almost as simple to plant and grow as they are to enjoy. To successfully grow bell peppers, make sure all threat of frost has passed before you start them. Plant bell peppers indoors at the end of March, or at least 10 weeks before you intend to move them outdoors. Their easy care makes growing bell peppers a good project for beginning gardeners.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Hydrogen peroxide or weak chamomile tea
- Potting mix
- Seedling flat
- Cling film
- Warming mat
- Grow lights or fluorescent shop lights
- Peat pots, 4- to 6-inch size
- Short-tined metal rake
Soak your green bell pepper seeds for two to eight hours in a solution of 1 to 2 tbsp of hydrogen peroxide per 1 cup of warm water, or in weak chamomile tea. This will soften the hard, outer shells and disinfect the seeds.
Fill your seedling tray half full with potting mix. Place the seeds in groups of three to four, with the groups at least a half-inch apart from each other. Cover the seeds with a layer of potting mix that is 1 to 2 inches thick.
Cover the flat loosely with cling film that has a few holes poked in it. Set the flat on a plant warming mat. Add a grow light or fluorescent shop light at the first sign of sprouting.
Repot the pepper plants into peat pots when they have at least two real leaves each. Thin out the weakest seedlings as you repot so that you have one plant per pot. Put the peat pots into the seedling flat and back under the lights.
Water the seedlings from the bottom by setting their flat into a tray containing a quarter-inch of water. Drain off any excess water after 15 minutes.
Turn over the soil in a sunny part of your garden, two to three weeks before transplanting your peppers outdoors. Remove any rocks, weeds or debris from the site. Mix the soil with an organic compost.
Harden off your pepper plants for three to seven days before planting them in the garden. Set them outside during daylight hours, increasing the time each day. Keep them shielded from the wind and don't leave them outside overnight if the temperature will be below 15.6 degrees C.
Plant your peppers after all threat of frost has passed. Place them at least 18 inches apart, and space the rows 12 inches apart. Water the plants well. Cover the ground around and between them with mulch. Keep them well watered, and weed as needed.
Tips and warnings
- Water your pepper plants with weak chamomile tea or diluted hydrogen peroxide when you first move them to the peat pots to help ward off fungus.
- Pepper plants given too much nitrogen will be sickly and weak, so keep an eye on your nutrients.
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