Sweet peppers are famous as bell peppers. Believe it or not, they are from the nightshade family. The actual collective name “sweet pepper” encompasses peppers with mild spicy and sweet or fruity flavour. These include edibles like bell peppers, pimientos (spicy) and banana peppers.
I like to grow the different coloured bell peppers as it makes for interesting conversation at the table when the salad is brought out adorned with red, yellow, green and purple slices of pepper.
You can cook them in various ways. For instance, you can cook casseroles, stir-fries and use them in salads. You can stir fry them, stuff them, grill them or pickle them.
Greenhouses are the perfect places to grow them. Besides, they also grow well in sunny and warm grounds or containers on a balcony or a patio in the sun.
Mid-February to early April is the perfect time to sow seeds. You can sow them in seed trays and small pots.
- Fill the pots or seed trays with compost or organic matter.
- Place them in a heated propagator at a temperature of 65–70°F. You can also choose a warm windowsill to place them.
- Use a lid or plastic bag to cover the pots. It will really help to lock in the moisture and warmth.
- Transfer the seedlings in 3-3.5 inches pots on the formation of two true leaves.
You can also buy the young plants from the garden centre if you don’t want to sow.
The best place to grow sweet peppers is outdoors in a greenhouse or a warm, sunny or sheltered location.
- Choose a 12 inches large container. You can also choose open ground or growing bags for sweet peppers.
- Add the potting compost into the container.
- Transplant the young plant to its final location in late April. On the other hand, the time for transplanting the plants grown in a heated greenhouse is mid-May, and the unheated greenhouse in late May.
- Transplant the plants outdoors when there is no risk of frost.
- Remove their growing tips when the plants reach up to 8 inches. It will encourage branching, and you will get more fruit yield.
- Pinch the side-shoots to get even more yield.
- Consider staking the plants if they are the variety that produces large peppers or heavy crops.
- Apply high potassium fertiliser while watering. You should water the plants when the fruit has set.
- Mid-summer onwards is the right time to harvest the sweet peppers. However, plants will continue to produce fruits well into the autumn in greenhouses.
- Pick the fruits when they are glossy and swollen. On ripening, pepper will turn into green, red, purple, orange, or yellow colour.
- Pick the fruits at the stage of maturity and the colour that suits your taste best.
- Don’t leave the peppers for a long time on the plants. It will not allow the development of more fruits.
Glasshouse red spider or two-spotted mite
Mites mainly affect the leaves. The symptoms of mites’ infection are
- Pale and mottled leaves
- Web covering on the leaves
- Premature leave falling
- Mist the plants regularly
- Control the mites biologically in the greenhouse
Have you noticed greenfly colonies on leaves and soft shoot tips? Well, these are aphids that such your plant’s sap. Moreover, they also encourage the growth of sooty moulds by secreting sticky honeydew.
You can avoid aphids in two ways:
- Use biocontrol in the greenhouse
- Squash the aphid colonies under your thumb or finger
Blossom end rot
In this disease, dark blotches emerge on the ends.
- Water the plants regularly
- Make sure the soil is not dry
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