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How to Grow Bell Peppers in Pots

How You Can Grow Your Own Bell Peppers in Pots

It is really nice if you can harvest your own bell peppers in the backyard. Peppers are not cheap and being able to grow your own means you can cut down your grocery expenses. If you don’t have spaces, you can choose to grow the peppers in containers. It will still thrive and produce an abundant of crop as long as you meet the right growing condition.

Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers

Germination of Bell Peppers

The seeds of the bell pepper should be planted 6 – 10 weeks before the last spring frost. You will want to use a premium seed mix instead of the soil from your garden as it can drain more thoroughly. Quality potting mix can hold moisture and provide proper aeration for the plant. Organic seed mix contains all the necessary nutrients that are required for the plant.

 

The seeds are to be sown about 1/2 inch depth in the soil. You can sow the seeds in seedling tray with two seeds in each cup. The peppers will take 2 – 3 weeks to germinate. After 2 – 3 weeks, you can move them to small pots with each seedling occupying one pot. The seedling that has been sprouted should be moved to bigger size pots with the final pot being 10 – 12 inches in size. The pots you use need to have well draining quality.

 

Transplanting the Bell Pepper

It is time to move the pepper outdoor when you see at least 1 – 2 true leaves. The ideal temperature for growing pepper plant is 65 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime. The blossoms will drop if the temperature is higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This condition called blossom end rot can be fixed by adding calcium granules to the soil. The young plant is to be transplanted to a container that is filled with well draining potting and have a pH between 5.5 – 6.8. You can add 5 – 10 grams of neem cake to protect your pepper plant from blight disease.

Bell Pepper Pot
Bell Pepper Pot

The container where you plant the young bell pepper plant should be placed in an area that gets ample sunlight and sheltered from the strong winds. Pepper plant can be quite big when it is mature so you will want to prepare a big pot that is at least 12 inches in diameter. It should get at least 6 hours of full sun in the day time. Plastic or metal pot is preferred because it grows in consistently moist soil. At first, the young pepper plant will look small when transplanted to the large plant. However, it will eventually fill the large container as it mature to an adult plant.

Watering the Bell Pepper Plant

It is important to regularly water the pepper plant to keep the soil moist. The frequency of watering will depend on the weather. Tipping the pot slightly allows you to know whether it needs more watering. Light pot means that the soil has dried out and need watering. To prevent fungal infection, you should water at the foot of the plant and not over the plant.

When to Add Fertilizer to Bell Peppers

Imbalanced soil can cause the plants to be weak. This is why you need to improve the soil by adding different types of fertilizers. Nitrogen rich fertilizer can encourage the growth of foliage. Tomato fertilizer, compost, and mature tea can also be used. Adding Epsom salt can help to improve the yield of your pepper plant. It is recommended that you add new fertilizer every 2 weeks or so.

Controlling the Pepper Pests

Aphids is the number one pest of bell pepper plants. Plants that have been attacked by aphids will appear stringy and weak. If you see aphids, you can use a water hose to spray them off. You will need to continue this for a few days until the aphids don’t come back to the plant. Another way to control aphid is to use ladybug. Ladybug can lay eggs which will hatch into larvaes that devour the aphids. You can get ladybug eggs from your local nursery. Organic pesticide can also be used to kill caterpillars that are spoiling your pepper plant.

 More Growing Chilli Pest Tips Here

Harvesting Bell Peppers

During harvesting, you can use a knife to cut off the fruit from the stem. There should be a bit of stem attach to the pepper plant after you cut the fruit. When unripe, picking the pepper fruit by hand may cause the whole branch to be torn off so be careful!. Unripe peppers are green color. From green color, it can change to red color and then to orange color and finally to yellow color.

You can pick the green peppers as they are safe to eat. Purple bell peppers varieties can change color to dark purple and finally to muddy black color when fully ripened. When the pepper is fully ripened, it is easy to pluck with the hand in a gentle twist.

 

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How to Grow and Care for Jalapenos

Jalapeno is a type of hot pepper that comes from the same family of plants as cayenne and cherry. This popular pepper originally comes from a place called Xalapa, in the capital of Velacruz, in Mexico. It is often served stuffed with seafood, and cheese and also used as a spice for tacos in Mexican dishes. Jalapeno has a rating in between 2,500 – 8000 Scoville heat units, which is a medium range of chili intensity. Jalapeno looks like a hard plant to grow but you can actually grow it easily by providing adequate sunlight and water.

Planting and Germinating the Seeds

Firstly, you must decide how many jalapenos plants you want to grow. Then, you can prepare the containers for sowing the seeds accordingly. The container should have holes at the bottom so that the water can drain away when you water it. You can use seedling pots or soda bottle as the container. In each container, you can plant 2 – 3 seeds. The seeds are to be sowed at a depth of 1/4 inch. Not all seeds will sprout so you may want to sow extra seeds.

Jalapenos don’t like cold temperatures so you must wait for the temperature to warm up to 75 – 85 before sowing the seeds. It takes 2 – 3 weeks for jalapenos seeds to sprout. After 3 weeks, you can move each seedling that has sprouted to a 3 inch diameter pot. It is to be placed on a sunny spot indoor, for example, the window sill or under the grow lights.

The potting mix of the sprouted seedlings must be kept moist but not too wet so as to damage the roots. You only need to water the seedlings 1 – 2 times per week to maintain the moisture level. You will have to gradually move the seedlings to a few more bigger pots until it grow a young plant. This should take about 8 – 12 weeks. The final container size will be about 2 gallons. Terra cotta container is the best option for the final container. They offer better result compared to plastic containers.

 

 

Transplanting the Young Chili Plant Outside

The young chillie plant cannot be moved outside immediately. Instead, you will need to slowly expose it to outdoor conditions to allow it to adapt to the new environment. When it is time to move the plant outside, be sure to plant it in a place that get at least 8 – 10 hours of direct sunlight. The transplanted plants should be about 14 – 16 inches apart to ensure that there is enough air circulation.

 

 

Caring for the Jalapeno Plant

The best potting soil for jalapenos is organic, rich in nutrition with good drainage quality. Fertilizer should be added about 1 month after you have transplanted the young plant outdoor. You will want to choose a fertilizer with a NPK of 10-10-10. The addition of fertilizer ensures that the chili plant will receive an adequate amount of nutrition after all the existing nutrients in the soil has been used up. New fertilizer can be added on the third watering. There is no need to add any fertilizer if you are using a high quality potting soil. Diluted fertilizer is easier for the plant to absorb compared to solid fertilizer.

Jalapenos are night shade plants just like tomatoes and potatoes so make sure you don’t plant them close to each other. This is because the pests from your tomato and potato plant can go to the jalapeno plant. Some of the common pests are cutworms, aphids, and flea beetles. You can spray neem oil keep it away from these pests. Additionally, you should hand pick the caterpillar, snails, and worms on your jalapeno plant.

 

Harvesting the Peppers

It takes at least 90 – 120 days for you to see the first crop of your pepper plant. When the pepper plant is mature, it will grow to 2 – 3 feet tall. You may see 30 – 40 pepper pods hanging from the plant. The pods will grow to 2 – 3 inches long before it is ready for harvesting. If it yield too much peppers, you can use a plant cage as support. You can harvest pods from a jalapeno plant for a few times. You can harvest the jalapenos green or red. Or, you can wait until the full time at the end of 120 days to pick the jalapenos when it is ripened to red color.

Picking the peppers early can force more new blossoms. Green jalapenos are not yet ripened so they have milder taste. When it is red, it will have a medium intensity heat flavor. Some people have also picked jalapenos with a mix of red and green color. They make a nice presentation for their dishes. To harvest, you simply pinch the pepper off the vine gently. You can store the pepper fresh in your refrigerator for up to 2 – 3 weeks.

 

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