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Pepper Growing Tips - Urban Farmer's Guide
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Pick the Right Varieties
This is a very important step that gets over looked by many people. There are many factors that will determine the best variety for you including climate, taste, garden size and harvesting type. By far the most popular variety is the green pepper chosen for its sweet, acidic taste. Other peppers include banana peppers, hot peppers and cherry peppers. Grow a few different varieties in your garden to switch up taste in the kitchen.
Some of our favorites include Yolo Wonder, Sweet Banana, and Anaheim Chili.
Start Your Seeds Indoors
Pepper seeds are probably the hardest seed variety to germinate. Starting your seeds indoors will ultimately give your seeds the highest germination rates and a controlled environment. Try using a starting kit with multiple cells and clean soil. Plant two to three seeds per cell and thin to one plant once they reach two inches tall.
Pepper Seeds Prefer Warm Soil
After you have planted your pepper seeds indoors find a location in your house that can provide constant heat to the soil. A good location is on top of the refrigerator or by a warm vent. Keeping the soil above 65 degrees will increase germination rates and speed up growth.
Put a Fan on Your Seedlings
A good way to toughen up your seedlings is to place a fan beside them that will help them move and sway in the breeze. Provide a breeze by turning a fan on them for 10 minutes twice a day.
Prepare a Good Soil for Your Plants
Tomatoes prefer a well drained soil with lots of organic matter. A mature compost should be worked into the soil as well. The soil pH should be around six to seven. If you have anything wrong with your soil and you are concerned try a raised garden bed which will give you good drainage and allow you to control the soil mix.
Location, Location, Location
Finding a good location in your yard is probably the most important step in creating a good pepper garden. Peppers are sun lovers and prefer a full sun to produce the best tasting peppers. Make sure when starting your plants indoors that you give the seedlings strong sun as well.
Plant at the Right Time
Peppers are easily damaged by cold weather, so plant them after any danger of a frost has passed. In order to plant outdoors at the right time be sure to find out your areas last frost date and plant your seedlings eight to ten weeks before your last frost. This will give you nice sized pepper plants that will transplant well into your garden.
Mulch and Fertilizer
Add mulch around the peppers to keep down weeds, and to retain moisture. As the peppers develop, switch over to a fertilizer higher in Phosphorous and Potassium. Gardeners often make the mistake of providing too much nitrogen. The result is a great looking bushy, green plant, but few fruit.
Pepper plants prefer moist soil at all times but be careful to avoid wet soil as this will make it easy for fungus and other diseases to rapidly spread throughout your pepper plants.
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