Fabulous wonderful Peppers! One of my life’s simple pleasures is growing my own Peppers! And Believe me, you can absolutely taste the difference between homegrown and shop bought! Gorgeous, delicious tender gems you’ll want to grow year after year! Here is how I grow Mine..
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Not as difficult as it looks!
Growing Peppers needn’t be difficult. I grow all of mine from seed and without the help of any fancy uv lighting, never say never! But for now, with the energy crisis, I feel no need to add to the electric bill. All you need is seeds, compost, a pot, a Sunny Windowsill and a polyethene bag or cling film.
A Little Pepper History!
Peppers are native to Mexico and Central America. In 1493 Pepper seeds were imported to spain and from there they spread to the rest of the world, first through Europe, then Asia and beyond. The most popular variety of Sweet Pepper-The Bell pepper was first cultivated and developed in Hungary in the 1920’s and soon became the most popular variety of Pepper to be bought by consumers.
How To Grow Peppers
Pepper Varieties I recommend…
How to Sow Pepper seeds
- Sow Pepper seeds Indoors -Mid February-early March, around 8-10 weeks before your last frost date.
- Sow 1/2 inch deep in trays, pots or modules, filled with moist, good quality compost
- Cover with cling wrap, a polythene bag or a propagator lid.
- Place on a sunny, warm windowsill and wait for germination-seedlings should emerge within 2 weeks.
- Once seedlings are large enough to handle, prick out and pot on into individual pots
- Once all risk of frost has passed, grow on in larger pots (I use 17cm coir pots. ) or Beds in the Greenhouse-Space pepper plants around 30-45 cm apart, dependant on the size of the variety your growing
What is Pricking Out ?
Pricking out, is simply the process of separating seedlings growing together and repotting them in individual pots or modules. TopTip* Lift seedlings by the leaf, never by the stem, you risk the seedling breaking if handled that way.
Can You Grow Peppers Outdoors?
Peppers are tender and need lots of warmth in order to be fruitful. So it is always best to grow them in A greenhouse environment, conservatory or even a cold frame in the UK. However, if you live in a milder part of the country or we are forecast an uncharacteristically hot Summer…then yes, by all means plant them outside in a full sun location. You could also offer your pepper plants additional outdoor growing protection, by covering them with Cloches for some extra reassurance.
*Remember to Harden off indoor raised plants first, before planting outside…
What Does Hardening Off Mean?
Plants raised indoors or in a greenhouse environment, need to be acclimatised to cooler temperatures and increased air movement for about two to three weeks before they are planted outdoors permanently . This is a ‘toughening up’ practice to prepare the plants for their new environment.
How to Harden Off
Place your plants out for a couple of hours in a shady part of the garden. The next day, leave them out again for two hours, but this time allow the plants an hour of direct sunshine in the morning. Gradually continue to increase the length of time the plants are in direct sunshine over the course of roughly two weeks.
When To Harvest Peppers
Chilli Peppers and Sweet Peppers are generally Harvested between July-October. Depending on the variety and Size of Pepper you are growing, crops may be harvested sooner or later
How and Why I Pinch Pepper Plants
When the Pepper plants are at least 8 inches tall, I like to pinch off the growing tip- This encourages the plant to branch out. More branches=more flowers=more fruit. See below for the branching habit 5 days later….
What Is Pinching out ?
Pinching out is simply a method of pruning young plants to encourage branching. Branching will result in the plant eventually bearing more fruit or flowers, which will therefore increase the yield of the plant. By pinching off the topmost/growing tip of the plant, just above leaf nodes or buds, the plant will get the message that it needs to branch out and create new stems.
Below you can see all the new growth, just 5 days later… pinching makes for a bushier higher yielding plant.
All the plants below have gone through the same pinching process. You can see the foliage is much denser and bushier, less sparse than they would be normally.
I find peppers to be quite thirsty, so water often, but don’t drown, coir pots are a fabulous remedy for good drainage.
The Health Benefits of Peppers
Peppers are rich in Antioxidants and packed with beneficial vitamins!
- Vitamin C Helps to protect cells and keep them healthy. Supporting healthy skin, blood vessels, cartilage and bones.
- Vitamin A Important to help maintain normal vision and helps to improve the immune system
- Vitamin B6 Important for the formation of red blood cells.
- Potassium. This essential mineral is wonderful for heart Health
- Vitamin K1 A form of vitamin K, important for efficient blood clotting and overall bone health.
- Folate. Also known as vitamin B9. Most useful during pregnancy
- Vitamin E A powerful antioxidant, essential for healthy nerves and muscles.
*Any specific health claim or nutritional claims or information provided on the Website are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the Website is offered or intended to be a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This Website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You assume full responsibility for consulting a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns.