What do you grow in your kitchen garden? Surely coriander, mint, parsley, chili, lettuce and also possibly tomatoes, carrots, beets. Then why not bell peppers?
We find the sweet crunchy bell peppers in various delicious preparations such as stuffed bell peppers, pizza, burger. You can even have it raw in salads and sandwiches.
We all know that peppers are enriched with anti-oxidants and help in weight loss. But do you know it also improves our eyesight, especially the night vision? It is a great source of vitamin A and C. Bell peppers are beneficial for curing anemia facilitating absorption of the iron in our body
Bell peppers do not take much time and care to grow. You can even grow it in a pot. Here I am going to discuss how to cultivate, take care of, and harvest the bell peppers in detail.
Bell Pepper Plant Information
Name: Bell Pepper, Capsicum, Sweet Pepper, Paprika (Capsicum annum)
Plant Type: Vegetable fruit
Sunlight Exposure: Partial exposure to the sunlight during the morning (3-4 hours), before evening (2 hours), requires shade in the afternoon (in countries with extremely hot weather conditions)
Preferred Soil Type: Grows best in a loamy soil
Soil pH: Minimal acidic to neutral (6.0-7.0)
Sowing Time: In winter (for regions with hot climate), in spring (for mountain regions with cool and dry weather)
Blooming Time: Summer
Essential Requirements to Grow Bell Peppers
- Required Space
Normally,the size of a developed pepper plant is up to 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide, so you need a near about 30-40 cm area in your backyard or a similar sized container for the crop.
80℉ is perfect for cultivating the fruit. Keep your plant under the open sky to for full day sunlight. Your crop cycle would be shorter if you can give it abundant heat and sunbeams within this temperature range.
- Cultivation Time:
Peppers generally get matured in 70 to 90 days. Keeping this in mind and start the seeding between winter-spring season so that your plant get warm weather and sunny sky during the entire crop cycle.
The soil must be a little sandy so that it can drain out the water well. Mix fine sand to the normal soil of your garden in a ratio of 3⁚7. The soil pH should be in between 6.0 to 7.0.
Step 1: Prepare the Seeds
Before the seeding, you need to prepare the seeds to ensure they are ready for plantation. Cut the red bell pepper and extract the seeds carefully while removing the debris and other elements. Spread these seeds on a paper and allow them to dry in moderate sunlight for about 5-6 days.
You can store these seeds in a plastic bag in a cool and dry place till the sowing season arrives.
Step 2: Sowing
If you want to grow the peppers in a pot, the container must be at least 10-12 inches wide and deep (sufficient for growing 2-3 plants) with enough of holes at the bottom for water drainage.
Place some stones at the bottom so that only the water drains out of the pot and not the soil. Put a layer 5-6 cm of soil above these stones in the pot.
For sowing just sprinkle the seeds on the soil and cover the seeds with another 2-3 cm layer of soil.
Step 3: Transplant the Seedlings
The seeds take around 1-3 weeks for the germination. When the seedlings have at least 2 leaves, transplant them carefully from this pot to your kitchen garden area or in a larger pot. Pick the seedlings in a way so that you do not tear the roots or cause damage to other parts of the plant.
Note: During transplantation, do not move the plant suddenly from indoors to direct sunlight. Consider placing the plant into varying temperature like keeping the pot under the shade before moving them into the garden area under the sun.
Step 4: Caring for the Pepper Plants
Once your plants start growing, it will require some care measures.
Mulching: Compost soil works best for peppers. Put lots of organic matter including leaves, straws, fruit and vegetable peels, or anything similar you have. This offers good drainage for the plant helping in optimum growth.
Fertilizer: Use organic fertilizers and cow manure for fine fettle growth of your houseplant. Fish emulsion, well-rotted tomato, compost tea leaves can be used as organic fertilizers. Superfluous use of fertilizer will rather harm the fruit. Put it at the time of transplanting the plant and after that when you can observe the flowers are coming. To get the best quality fruit, you can test the soil pH and ensure the excess or deficiency of alkaline, then use the chemical fertilizer accordingly.
Watering: Peppers need a moderate amount of water. Supply water constantly to the plant when the soil seems dry. Don’t provide the excess water as the plant can’t survive in sodden soil.
Support: As the fruits grow bigger the plant starts drooping down due to the weight of the fruit. Stab a firm stick in the soil near the main stem of the plant and tie it well.
Pests: There are countless pests such as tomato fruit worms, aphids, flea beetles, spider mites that can attack bell peppers. Opt for organic pesticides to control such pests, otherwise, using chemical pesticides can develop toxin in the fruit.
Diseases: Don’t sow the plant where you recently grown the other plants of the nightshade family which includes eggplant, tobacco, tomato, potato as these can spread diseases to the bell pepper plant.
Step 5: Harvesting
Within 70 to 90 days your fruit will be mature enough for harvesting. You can pick the green colored fruit or you can wait for a while to obtain the ripened one. Always use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the bell pepper from its stem. If you pluck the bell pepper randomly with your hands, it will cause severe damage to the plant.
After harvesting, enjoy your fresh, juicy and organic bell peppers in several preparations. If you are not using it instantly, then refrigerate it for one more week and relish the same taste and crunch.