Spring is in the air! It’s time to prepare yourself for the most exciting activity, gardening. If you don’t know just yet what to plant in the backyard, peppers can be a nice pick. How to plant peppers is pretty simple and the crops are just perfect for salad, salsas, stir-fries, or anything you like.
In addition, pepper plants don’t require much of your attention and it grows well in warm temperatures.
There’s an assortment of varieties when it comes to pepper ranging from the fleshy ones to the hot peppers with its pungent flavor.
In addition to various species, pepper plants have a beneficial characteristic that makes it a perfect choice for countries with cool climates.
It ripens faster so it works well for short summers. Needless to say, it comes in many sorts of color that make your backyard look more alive!
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What Are Pepper Plants?
Pepper plant is classified into genus capsicum with over 30 species of plants. Most of the species have edible fruits and some are spicier than others.
They vary in forms as you can find fleshy fruits such as bell peppers and less fleshy one but spicier such as habanero and tabasco. Some varieties are also grown and cultivated for their ornamental fruits with a variety of colors and sizes.
Peppers are native to equatorial America and yet it can grow well in other hemispheres. It was found in Mexico and Peru and was grown in South America.
The seeds then were unintentionally brought to Spain and spread widely ever since. These fruits, especially hot varieties, are known as a popular ingredient in Asian cuisines due to its hot taste that gives burning sensation.
Most pepper plants are perennials and they can grow well in summer. Growing the plants as pretty as you can easily spread the seeds in the soil or transplant the seedlings from the greenhouse.
When it is mature enough, you will see small white flowers. Pepper fruits will come out from the flowers with a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the species.
Peppers change their color as they grow older. It may start from green to yellow then it turns to orange and red.
The change of color is followed by the change of vitamin content and flavor. In the case of hot peppers, the more ripened, the more heat it has. From the visual side, colorful peppers make your backyard look more attractive.
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How to Plant Peppers Step by Step
Are you planning to grow pepper plants this spring? Then you should know how to plant peppers the right way. If you have never grown these colorful fruits before, paying attention to a step-by-step guide is a must. Though it may sound simple, applying the right planting method helps you reap the best crops in quality and quantity.
1. Prepare the Site
Preparing the site is the first and foremost step to grow pepper plants. The right and well-prepared site can make a great difference as it helps the plants to grow better.
You should find a perfect spot where plants can get sufficient sunlight with good drainage. Avoid soggy sites as it can make the plants’ roots rot.
Make sure the soil is deep and rich. You can add 1 inch of compost on to improve the richness and nutrition of the soil. But you are not recommended to add too much nitrogen.
This substance makes pepper plants grow faster, giving you less productive plants and susceptible to diseases.
2. Prepare The Seedlings
The next step of how to plant peppers is prepare the seedlings. Before transplanting the seedlings, it is necessary to harden them.
Exposing the plants to outdoor conditions helps them adapt, so they won’t be stressed when you actually transplant them. Reducing stress is effective to increase plants’ productivity so you can expect much from the crops.
How to expose the seedlings to outdoor conditions? You can start by placing the seedling in a shady outdoor location such as your outdoor garage or next to the house.
Set them for a few hours for three days. Gradually extend the time with more sun exposure so the seedlings become accustomed to the condition of outdoors.
3. Transplant The Seedlings
How to plant peppers from seedlings? When your seedlings are strong enough for transplantation, do it very carefully to minimize stress.
Beforehand, prepare deeper holes and give enough space for the plants. Make sure they are not too far apart from each other, it can be 12 to 20 inches depending on the size of the plants.
Take out the seedlings from the tray and make sure the roots are well handled. If you plant taller varieties, put a stake or cage beside each plant. It prevents the stem from breaking due to strong winds or fruit loads when they are mature.
Peppers don’t require too many treatments after planting. Just make sure the plants receive enough water, at least an inch a week. But it depends on the weather and your environment.
When the weather is extremely hot, each plant can take up to a gallon a day. To help retain moisture of the soil, you can simply layer the soil with mulch. A thick layer helps keep the soil moist and maintain the temperature.
5. Pinch off Early Flowers
When your pepper plants start flowering, you just can’t wait for the first harvest. But don’t be so hurry! Pinching off the first flower may seem irritating but it works great for your plants. Removing the early blossoms will not cause any harm to the plants.
Instead, it helps them grow better and yields larger fruits. If you expect homegrown peppers with high quality and quantity, don’t miss this step.
6. Harvest Time
This is the best part of growing your own peppers. When you see the fruits are getting larger, you can simply harvest them even at their green stage. But if you want to get better flavor and more vitamins, you should wait for them to fully ripen. Their mature stages are commonly characterized by orange, golden yellow, or orange color.
Be careful when harvesting the peppers. It’s not recommended to pull them off as it can damage the plant. It also prevents the plants from giving you more fruits later. Instead, use hand pruners to cut them off as it gives you a neat cut without damaging the plants.
How to plant peppers is quite easy. It doesn’t require advanced gardening skills so that beginners can easily tackle this plant choice. Just be sure to follow the step-by-step guide and you can enjoy the homegrown peppers this season. Choose your favorite pepper varieties and happy planting!
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