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How To Grow Peppers

Peppers are a plant of hot climates and long summers, which can make them challenging to grow in more temperate regions like the UK and the northern states in America. But just because they take a little effort doesn’t mean they’re impossible to grow, and by following a few simple tips anyone can successfully produce their own ripe, juicy, organically-grown peppers.

Pepper plant growing with Ultimate Plant Cage

Germination
The warmer the weather is, the faster that peppers will grow. And of course the faster they grow, the sooner you’ll be getting fruits. It’s important to note that typically the fruit takes quite some time from originally forming to reaching full size and start turning from green to red. As a result of this, the earlier you can get your seedlings going, the greater the chance of a decent harvest before the cooler autumn weather sets in.

Plant your pepper seeds in late winter/early spring and aim to keep them indoors at all times. As with so many other seeds, fill a flower pot with nutrient-rich, peat-free compost, sprinkle the seeds onto the surface and then add another fine layer of compost ontop so that the seeds are buried to around half a centimetre in depth.
Soak the pot in a tray of water for a few hours to ensure that the compost is moist then cover the top of the pot with a plastic bag to retain heat and moisture. Place the pot on a windowsill where it will get plenty of warmth and check it regularly for seedlings or signs of the compost drying out. With many varieties germination can be swift, with seedlings appearing within just a week or two of planting.

Once the peppers reach a height of 3-5cm it can be wise to repot them into individual containers. Doing so ensures that their growth is not stunted by over crowding and their roots can grow uninterrupted.

As your peppers outgrow these pots they should be moved up to their final positioning ready to start flowering and fruiting. They can either be planted directly into soil or even better into flower pots of a 9″ diameter or larger filled with good quality compost. Here they will have all the space they need to grow to full size and produce some of the most delicious peppers you’ve ever experienced.

The ultimate plant clips work great with pepper plants.

The ultimate plant clips work great with pepper plants.

Growing Peppers
There are four main keys to success when it comes to growing peppers; namely heat, light, watering and nutrition. Get these four aspects down to a fine art and you’ll find peppers not just fun but also incredibly rewarding.
Heat
Peppers like it hot so they tend to struggle outside even in a good summer. While it is possible to get a handful of fruit, if you’re serious about growing peppers you’re going to want give them some protection. The absolute best solution is to grow your peppers in a greenhouse because it provides not just warmth but also space to grow and plenty of direct sunlight.
Secondary choices may be covering them with a cloche or growing them on a windowsill. Be aware, however, that growing plants in cloches can make routine maintenance more fiddly while growing plants on windowsills may mean they struggle to get all the sunlight they require.

Generally artificial heat is unnecessary; just keep the peppers behind glass and the sun will naturally warm the interior providing a noticeable jump in temperature throughout the day.
Light
Peppers like direct sunlight as well as warmth and one can clearly see the difference between a pepper that has had plenty of light and one that has not. If you’re growing peppers in a greenhouse therefore, aim to plant them in the most sunny location rather than in a more shady position where other crops such as tomatoes may still thrive.
Watering
Regular, consistent watering is essential for peppers. If peppers are allowed to dry out regularly before being soaked with water one will often find the waterlogged soil leading to a problem known as “blossom end rot” where the ends of your precious pepper fruits start to turn brown and rot, rendering all your efforts wasted (or “fruitless”!).
Nutrients
Peppers can be hungry plants and if left in the same compost right throughout the growing season you may start to see signs of starvation such as leaves yellowing or dropping off or growth rates slowing down later in the summer. To try and avoid this issue, start off your peppers in well-prepared soil that is full of nutrients and then as the peppers start to form add extra nutrients in the form of an organic tomato fertilizer once a week. Following this regimen will keep your peppers healthy and ensure they reach their full potential.
Harvesting Peppers
By the time your pepper plants reach 30cm of so in height you should see small flower buds appearing at the top of the plant. These will slowly open to reveal small white flowers that are simple but attractive and, soon after the flowers die, you should find tiny peppers growing behind the flower base.

Pepper plants, if left unchecked, may produce an impressive number of fruits over a period of time but it is wise to gently nip off all the fruits except two or three. Whilst this may initially seem like a waste, limiting your plants to just a few fruits each helps to push all the pepper plants energy into growing and ripening these fruits, ensuring larger and healthier peppers are produced. If numerous peppers are left on the plant, these may fail to mature leading to a disappointing harvest.

These baby peppers start off green and will swell over several weeks, eventually turning red if the conditions are right where your peppers will be at their sweetest. That said, peppers may be picked at any time, even when green, so there’s no need to wait until the entire harvest has gone red before you start to enjoy the spoils of your labor.

Supporting Pepper Plants

The best way to support pepper plants is with the ultimate plant cage. You can put an ultimate plant cage around an existing pepper plant because the base comes in three pieces. Then you are able to add the adjustable support poles in order to have a perimeter to attached your stems to. Once you’ve added the poles you can use the ultimate plant clips to attached the stems to the poles of the cage. It’s the most simple and effective way to support a pepper plant through each stage of growth, give it a try.

Good luck with your pepper plants, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

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