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How to Grow Bell Peppers with Mild Flavor

Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers

Sweet bell pepper enriched with vitamin C and vitamin A is an ingredient that you don’t want to miss in your cooking. The fruit with a smooth skin, crunchy flesh and white membrane can give a delicious mild flavor. Bell pepper is not difficult to grow. Many people have successfully grown it in their backyard whether in garden soil or in container gardening.

 

Sowing Bell Peppers

The right way of sowing bell pepper seeds is to start them indoor instead of directly sowing them into the ground outside. You can start the germination of the seeds about 5 – 8 weeks before the last frost. You are to fill a seedling tray with well drained potting mix. The seeds are sown at about 1/4 depth in the soil. Soil should be kept moist with a temperature around 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is not hot enough, you can put heating mat under the seedling tray or near the window.

After it sprout, you must watch for the first true leaves to emerge. The cotyledons, the seed leaves, which appear before the first true leaves are to be vibrant and green. If it is yellow, it means that it is not getting enough nitrogen. You can add fertilizers like fish emulsion and kelp mixture into the seedling potting mix to ensure that it grow the true leaves successfully.

 

Selecting a Plot in Your Garden

 You can first plot the area in your garden where you want to transplant the young bell pepper plants. Ideally, the site you choose should not have been grown with tomatoes or potatoes as they share the same pests with bell peppers. The soil on the site should be well drained and heavy as well as rich in all the essential nutrients including phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. You can aim for a pH around 6.5.

Transplanting

 You can transplant the young bell pepper plant into the garden plot after it has developed 1 – 2 true leaves. To allow the plants to adapt to the new environment, you may want to slowly expose the young plants to the sun by placing the pots outside for a short period of time daily.

When it is time to transplant the peppers, first check and see if the temperature has already reached 60 degrees with no danger of frost. The transplanting day should be a cloudy day with some sun. You are to plant the pepper plants at a distance of about 12 – 20 inches apart.

You can stake or cage the plant if there are lots of wind and you are afraid that they break the stem.

Bell pepper plants usually need a consistent addition of nitrogen on the soil until it successfully develop the fruits. For this reason, you may want to add nitrogen fertilizer into the soil. You will want to be careful not to add too much nitrogen as it can reduce the fruit and increase the leaves growth.

 

Watering

 You only need to water at least 1 inch of water every week. If the weather is hot, you can add mulch to help retain the moisture. Early blossoms can be pinched off to help direct the energy of the plant so that you get a heavy harvest afterwards. If you keep your bell pepper plant fed and water well, it will have lower chances of developing diseases.

 

Dealing with Bell Pepper Pests

Bell pepper plants get attacked by different types of pests including cut worms, corn earworms, caterpillars and weevils. To avoid pest infestation, you should avoid using water soluble fertilizer that contains a high level of nitrogen. Using this type of fertilizer can cause the plant to become soft and easier for the insect pests to penetrate.

Whenever you spot weeds, be sure to pull them out. Weeds are habitats to insect pests. You can apply pesticides to prevent the pests population from infesting your plant up to a damaging level. The pesticides should be applied thoroughly including underneath the leaves. If there is too much damage, you will have to discard away the pest infested plant.

 

Harvest and Storage

A well grown bell pepper plant will produce 5 – 10 large fruits. Bell pepper can be harvested when it is green or purple color. If you want sweeter flavor, you can wait until it ripens to red or yellow or orange. The sweetness and vitamin C will increase as the color changes. Picking the fruits when they are green will encourage more new blossoms and fruits to develop. If the fruit set after late August, it usually will not ripen.

When harvesting the peppers, remember to use hand pruners or small knife to avoid damaging the plant. This is because it can still continue to yield more fruits for you in the next few years. You can keep the fruits in a humid place with a temperature range in between 68 – 77 Fahrenheit degrees in the event that they are picked early because of the cold season. They will change color but they will not grow sweeter. Refrigerating bell peppers can help to retain the firmness and flavor for 3 – 5 weeks.

 

 

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Gardening Guide on Growing Bell Peppers in Container

Bell pepper, also known as Capsicum anuum, is a must have vegetable crop in your garden if you live in a place with warmer climate. Bell pepper has a crispy sweet flavor which makes it a great addition to a variety of dishes. It does not taste hot like its relatives the chili hot peppers because it does not contain the capsaicin compound.

There are several varieties of bell peppers. The green bell pepper is the most common and cheapest in the supermarket. Next to green peppers on the aisle are the red, yellow, and purple peppers. Green pepper are often cheaper because they are picked early. All colors of peppers keep their colors when cooked except the purple peppers which turned to dark muddy color when cooked. You can buy bell pepper seeds at your local nurseries or online from amazon. You should always look for varieties that can ripen fast. Some of the recommended varieties are lady bell, gypsy, orange sun, and Golden California Wonder.Bell Peppers

 

When to Sow Bell Peppers

Bell peppers like cool temperature in between 21 – 25 degrees. It will not grow well if it is too hot or too cold. Therefore, the best time to plant it is a few weeks before Spring in February or in the Fall time in September.

 

Sowing the Seed

A good pot of seeding mix will consist of cocopeat, vermicompost, and sand. When you plant the seed, make sure you don’t bury it too deep. You only need to bury the seed about 1 cm deep. If the seed is sown too deep, you will not be able to see the leaf when it germinate. The birds always like to eat new seeds that are just sown so you should cover your pot with a polyethylene cloth.

The pot with the newly sown seeds should be exposed to at least 4 hours of sun in order for germination to take place effectively. Bell peppers is like a small tree and it will produce lots of small branches with leaves when mature. So, if you plant in a big pot, you can at most plant only 2 seeds. The seeds should be planted about 6 – 8 inches apart.

 

Preparing the Soil for Transplanting Bell Peppers

Bell Pepper Pot

Bell pepper likes loamy soil that is well drained. You can make the soil well drained by lining it with porous landscape fabric or plastic. If you use plastic, makes sure to punch holes on the locations where the drainage holes are. The soil should not be too wet and muddy or else the root will become rotten. It also should not be too dry until it show cracked lines as it will result in blossoms drop.

Prior to transplanting, you can add aged compost into the soil. The aged compost will work as fertilizer and as mulch to assist in the retaining of the water. It is recommended to continue adding other fertilizers for maintaining the bell pepper plant. For example, you can add compost tea or fish emulsion solution every 10 days or so.

 

High nitrogen fertilizer can prevent the plant from bearing fruits so it should be avoided. Many people also like to add plastic mulch to increase the yields. On the other hand, organic compost mulch can lower the amount of weeds and reduce the need for watering. Organic compost mulch does not help in any way in the fruit yield.

Caring for the Young Bell Pepper Plants

After the young plants are successfully transplanted, you must keep watch for weeds that will spring up every now and then in the planting beds. In addition, you should also don’t forget to water 1 – 2 inches of water every week. You need to keep in mind that pepper is a heat sensitive plant which means you must water daily if you live in an area with warm climate. You can apply a solution that consists of a mixture of detergent and water on your pepper plant to keep away the aphids and whiteflies. It is important to keep the bell pepper plant in a place with the suitable temperature otherwise it will not bear fruits.

 

Harvesting and Storage

Usually, it takes around 2 months for the bell pepper plant to grow to full size. It is best to harvest the peppers when it has changed to the color you want. For example, if you want to use green pepper in your cooking, then you can pluck it when it is green. However, if you want to use yellow pepper, you should ideally wait until it has changed to yellow color. It will also work if you pluck it green and then keep in place that has sunlight so that it can change to red and then yellow. However, it will not taste as sweet as when you pluck it in yellow color from the plant.

You can store bell peppers in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to 1 – 2 weeks. You can also store peppers in dried forms. To dry the peppers, you must first remove the seeds and then cut into strips. The strips are to be spread out on a baking sheet and baked for 10 minutes in the oven. After that, you can remove the peppers from the oven and let it cool down. Once cooled, you can put the pepper in bags and store them in the refrigerator.

 

 

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