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How to Grow Green Peppers

Three Parts:Cultivating Green Pepper SeedsTransplanting Green Peppers to the GardenGrowing Healthy Green Peppers

You don’t have to be an experienced gardener to grow luscious, vibrant green peppers. All it takes is patience, attention and a little knowledge of the right growing conditions. Green peppers, like most other varieties, thrive in the heat, which is why they have such a celebrated history in countries with arid climates. With this in mind, it’s important to know where to begin cultivating green pepper seedlings, how frequently to water them and when the best time is to transplant them outside to grow on their own.

Part 1
Cultivating Green Pepper Seeds

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    Purchase green pepper seeds from the grocery store or farmer’s market. Visit your local grocer, farmer’s market or plant nursery and buy a package of green pepper seeds. Peppers come in many different varieties, and some options might not be available at all times of the year. Shop around until you find a place that sells healthy, organic green pepper seeds.[1]
    • If you have a large garden, make the most of your planting space and look into other types of peppers that can be grown alongside green peppers.
    • You can also save and reuse seeds from the previous year's harvest if you've grown green peppers in the past.
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    Place the seeds between damp paper towels in a plastic bag. The green pepper seeds require a lot of moisture and warmth to start growing. Wet two folded paper towels with warm water, wring out the excess and sandwich the green pepper seeds between them. Then, slide the paper towels into a Ziploc bag and store it somewhere warm. The plant’s initial growth will take place inside the bag![2]
    • Green pepper plants need to grow for 8-10 weeks prior to the final frost of early spring before they can be transplanted outside.
    • You also have the option of buying green peppers that are past their germination stage if you want to begin the process of growing them in your garden immediately.
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    Transfer the seedlings to individual planters. After the seeds have sprouted, you should move them to small individual planters such as flower pots. There, they will begin to absorb moisture and nutrients from soil. Keep the soil moist, but don’t overwater. A couple tablespoons of water every day should be sufficient for plants growing indoors.[3]
    • Basic flower pots will do the trick, but you could also look into a germination mat or another indoor planter that encourages seedling growth and takes up minimal space.[4]
    • Young plants that grow slowly and produce droopy, shriveled fruit or foliage may be receiving too much or too little water.
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    Keep growing plants exposed to sunlight. Take the seedlings you planted in shallow planters and set them on the window sill to soak up light and warmth during the day. It’s important for green peppers to have ample light in order to grow. If weather permits, open the window to expose the pepper seedlings to direct sunlight. Water lightly and store them someplace warm during chilly nights.[5]
    • After seeding them inside, you should gradually begin to expose your green pepper plants to outdoor conditions. Leaving the window open to allow direct sunlight and air flow is a good way to start.[6]
    • Green peppers should get at least 5-6 hours of sunlight per day.

Part 2
Transplanting Green Peppers to the Garden

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    Wait until the right time in the season. Transplanting should be done immediately following the last frost of early spring when the weather begins to warm. In hotter climates, this will usually be around March or April. If you live in a location that experiences lasting winter temperatures, you might have to wait until closer to summer to plant viable young peppers. Green peppers can be grown basically year-round in arid regions where the environment is hot and temperate. Just make sure your plants get enough water if you're growing them in a place that's hot with dry conditions.[7]
    • Most people should plan on starting their seedlings indoors around late January or early February and transplanting them after around 10 weeks.[8]
    • Keep row covers on your green pepper plants at night to help them retain heat, even after the last frost of the season has ended.
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    Find an open, sunny space in your garden. Set aside a corner of your garden with plenty of room to continue growing the green peppers. The site you choose should have soil that is well-drained, rich and dark. Try to choose a location that receives direct sunlight, and make sure you plant the peppers far enough away from other hearty fruits and vegetables to avoid competition for nutrients.[9]
    • Green peppers do best if they’re grown in places with temperatures around 70 degrees or hotter.[10]
    • Don’t plant harvesting vegetables like green peppers near leafy plants that may be eaten by rabbits and other foraging animals.
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    Dig holes large enough to accommodate growing pepper plants. Use a shovel or hand trowel to dig holes roughly 6-8 inches deep and 10-12 inches wide. Aerate the soil around the holes thoroughly. Plant the green pepper seedlings in the holes and refill them loosely.[11]
    • Green peppers should be planted approximately 12-18 inches apart to have room to grow without overtaking one another.
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    Add a little fertilizer to the soil. Work a little 5-10-10 fertilizer into the soil to keep the pepper plants fed. Don’t use too much: about a teaspoon worth will do the trick. Green peppers take most of their sustenance from the soil they grow in, so overfertilizing can actually leach nutrients from the plants and in severe cases may even kill them.[12]
    • Some gardeners recommend placing a few matchsticks heads-down in the soil around a pepper plant to give them the little bit of sulfur they require.[13]
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    Cover the plants with row covers when it’s cold. In order to keep your green peppers growing healthy and robust, you need to keep them warm. Shield the plants with insulated row covers on particularly cold nights or whenever a frost is expected. The row covers trap the heat that the peppers need while also providing a barrier from precipitation, runoff and grazing scavengers.[14]
    • It’s okay to leave row covers on heat-loving plants like green peppers in milder climates.
    • Always wait until early spring to plant peppers. Chill weather can kill them or severely hinder their growth.

Part 3
Growing Healthy Green Peppers

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    Water green pepper plants regularly. Give your green pepper plants a healthy drink every 1-2 days, depending on what the weather is like. Peppers grown in hotter climates will likely need more water. An inch or two of water per week is best for most green pepper plants of average size in moderate growing conditions. Avoid overwatering, as this can kill the plant or make it susceptible to disease.[15]
    • Make sure plot you pick out is well-drained so that water doesn’t pool around the plants and turn the soil soggy.
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    Mix organic matter into the soil around the plants. Break up the soil around the plants every few weeks and add a shovelful of mulch or compost. Your green peppers will grow more efficiently if they can feed off the organic matter. Some pepper plants don’t even need a separate fertilizer if a little compost is added to the soil at intervals.[16]
    • Organic materials like mulch also help the soil retain moisture, which is useful for making sure green pepper plants get enough water in hot weather.
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    Support the plants with garden stakes once they’re large enough. As your peppers grow, the fruit can become heavy, putting strain on the stalk. Correct this by tying the pepper stalks to wooden garden stakes, which will help the plant support its own weight. Stakes can be bought cheap at most gardening centers.[17]
    • Secure the plant’s stalks to the stakes using pantyhose or rubber bands rather than ordinary plastic ties. The added flexibility will ensure that the tie doesn’t constrict the plant’s growth or cause stress or breakage to the stalk.
    • Tomato cages are a wonderful alternative to basic wooden stakes. These help support the plant and also protect it from animals.[18]
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    Harvest green peppers when they’re fully grown. Green peppers are ready to be harvested by the time they’ve reached the desired size, typically 3-4 inches in length. Most of the time, however, knowing whether a pepper is ripe is determined by its color. Mature peppers will exhibit a deep green hue that is darker than the stalk and stem of the plant. Remove ripe peppers from their stems using a sharp knife or gardening shears. Rinse and dry peppers before cooking with them, or store them in the refrigerator until they’re ready to be used.[19]
    • Most varieties of sweet peppers, like green peppers, will be ready to harvest between 60-90 days after they're transplanted outdoors.[20]
    • Green peppers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Tips

  • Avoid relying on chemical fertilizers to grow peppers. The nitrogen in most chemical additives is too harsh, and in many cases it can promote the growth of plant foliage at the expense of the fruit. Organic matter like compost or mulch should be used instead.
  • If the leaves of the plant are wilting, it may be too hot. Try to move them into shade or water them with more cool water.
  • The ideal heat conditions for growing green peppers is a daytime temperature around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), with a nighttime temperature of approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). Temperatures that are significantly colder or hotter might inhibit the growth of the pepper plants. If there will be an unusually cold night during the season, you can cover the plants with a row cover or blanket to minimize heat loss.
  • Peppers will change color as they grow and develop. Once green peppers take on a deep, dark green tint, they have reached the peak of their ripeness and nutrient content and should be harvested.
  • If you want to avoid giving your green bell peppers a "suntan" (chocolate to red colored spots), avoid leaving them in the sun for too long. Even a few hours in the sun can erode the rich green color on a green pepper, as it starts turning to a red color (this does not apply if you have a Permagreen variety).
  • Peppers and their plants must be handled gently as they are easily bruised. If you harvest carefully and do not kill the plant, new peppers will keep forming all season long.
  • Make sure to remove weeds from the soil surrounding the pepper plant, as their presence can kill the plant or prevent peppers from growing to their full potential. You'll want to uproot the entire weed, being careful not to injure the pepper plant.

Warnings

  • Wait to plant your green peppers until outdoor nighttime temperatures are around 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Otherwise, the chill may cause the plants to die.
  • Avoid planting green pepper plants near vegetables like fennel and kohlrabi, as these can be detrimental to the growth of other vegetables.

Things You'll Need

  • Green pepper seeds or young plants
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic sandwich bag
  • Germination mat (optional)
  • 50-10-10 fertilizer
  • Compost or mulch
  • Row covers
  • Water

Sources and Citations

  1. http://www.gardenersnet.com/vegetable/pepper.htm
  2. http://www.burpee.com/gardenadvicecenter/areas-of-interest/seed-starting/growing-peppers/article10252.html
  3. https://dengarden.com/gardening/How-to-grow-green-chili-peppers-in-pots-from-seeds
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