Organic Gardening – Growing Peppers

Peppers are a little difficult to grow in my area (It’s a cool Zone 5) but I love peppers and with a little extra care they grow well.

A growing tip for peppers that many people don’t know is that they grow better if you plant them close enough that their leaves touch. I have tried this and it works. I have bigger peppers and a larger crop. I grow my pepper 12 to 15 inches apart. I put stakes in the ground when I first transplant them and start tying them to the stakes as soon as they are about 10 inches tall.

I also add four to five matches to the hole I dig for the pepper plant. Peppers like sulfur and the matches supply this need.

I have added a teaspoon of Epsom salt to the soil in the hole before I plant the pepper plant. This supplies more nutrients the peppers need and it does seem to make a difference in their growth.

My area can have surprise late frosts so I cover the pepper plants when they are young with milk jugs. I stake the jugs into the ground by tying string to a stake and running it through the milk jug handle. This will make sure the jug will not blow off during the night if it gets windy. If I have a cold day I will leave the jug on when the plant is very young and just take of the milk jug cap. This will let the plant have air and ventilation but protect it from the cold winds.

Pepper plants love warmer weather so cold days and night will stress them out and slow down their growth. It may even affect their blooming later in the year so I take extra precautions to keep them warm in the spring.

If you have a cool spring you might be further ahead to repot the peppers and keep them in a cold frame until its safe to set them out or have a moveable cold frame for your garden or a row cover.

I grow peppers because I like to use hot peppers in salsa and like a large selection of my sauces. I also like to grow heirloom varieties and my garden centers don’t offer a large selection of heirloom plants

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Denise

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