Requirements: Where and When to Plant Bell Peppers
The best place to plant bell peppers is in an area that gets full sun. 6-8 hours of sunlight per day is ideal, and the plants need to be spaced 1.5 feet apart and 3 feet between rows.
You can start them indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. They require soil temperatures of 75-85 degrees, so wait to plant them outdoors until 3 weeks after the final frost date. The soil should be rich in nutrients, but not too rich in nitrogen. Chicken manure is a good starting fertilizer, and the ideal soil pH is between 6.5 and 7.
How to Grow Bell Peppers? Start Them Indoors
To get a head start on the season, start bell peppers in a greenhouse. How to grow bell peppers from seed? Fill pots or flats with a light potting mix and plant the pepper seeds indoors. Keep the soil moist until germination, watering with a spray bottle. When the seeds have germinated, be careful not to spray the young plants (only the soil) or the leaves will rot.
How to Plant the Seedlings Outside and Grow Peppers
After they have grown their first true leaves, you can transplant the seedlings outside into raised beds or directly into the ground. Raised beds are ideal because the soil drains better and weeds are less likely to be a problem.
Before planting, add 2:3:2 fertilizer to the soil and loosen it to make space for the roots. Follow the earlier instructions for spacing and use stakes to support the plants. Water regularly, especially during dry spells. Mulching bell peppers helps retain moisture and keeps the fruit clean.
Caring for Bell Pepper Plants
Pests and diseases are more likely to attack bell peppers that are stressed, so make sure they’re getting enough water and nutrients. After learning how to grow bell peppers, follow these tips for the best results:
- Don’t allow the soil to dry out. Drip irrigation is ideal, but if you’re using a hose or watering can, make sure the water is getting all the way to the roots.
- Weed regularly. Hand-pulling or using a herbicide are the best ways to avoid damaging the roots. Mulching around the plants will also help to prevent weeds.
- Watch out for fruit flies and aphids. These pests are attracted to the sweet smell of bell pepper fruit, so keep an eye out for them and use traps, soapy water or insecticide if necessary.
- Switch to a 3:1:5 fertilizer once the plants have started flowering. This will help to promote fruit production.
- If the plants keep growing leaves but don’t produce fruit, they may be getting too much nitrogen. Cut back on fertilizer or add more phosphorus and potassium to the soil.
How to grow red bell peppers specifically? The same way as other bell peppers, but you’ll need to wait a little longer for them to mature. Red bell peppers take about 3-7 days to ripen after the plant grows to its mature size and produces green fruit.
How Long Does It Take Bell Peppers to Grow?
Now you know how to grow and care for the plants on a farm or in a garden. But how long does it take bell peppers to grow? Germination takes 7-21 days, and then you must wait until the seedlings are ready to be transplanted outside (3 weeks after the last frost date). What then?
It takes about 11 weeks for sweet bell peppers planted in the field to start producing fruit. The exact time will depend on the variety you’re growing and the weather conditions. The plants will continue to produce fruit throughout the summer and into fall, until the first frost.
What Is the Harvest Like?
Learning how to grow bell peppers is only worth it if you can expect a good harvest. So what is it like? One plant should produce 20-40 peppers (4-6 pounds of fruit) in a growing season, depending on the variety and climate.
The fruit is ready to be picked when it’s firm and has reached the desired full color. For red bell peppers, this means waiting until the fruit has turned deep red. For green bell peppers, wait until the color has changed from light green to dark green. And if you want yellow and orange bell peppers, harvest them before they turn red.
Use a sharp knife or shears to cut the stem close to the fruit. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Do you have any other tips on how to grow red bell peppers? Share them with other farmers and gardeners in the comments below. Happy growing and harvesting!