The Q&A Archives: Late Season Fertilizing of Peppers Accelerate Ripening?

Question: It's Sept 27... the race is on for our hot red and sweet yellow peppers to ripen before frost in our Burlington, VT garden. Will fertilizer accelerate ripening at this point or is it too late?

Answer: Fertilizer doesn't speed the ripening process. Sweet peppers can actually be picked when they are green; they are still good to eat but probably less sweet than if they ripened to yellow. They will also continue to ripen after you pick them if stored in a cool dry place.

Here is a method that Charlie Nardozzi describes to hasten the ripening process for tomatoes in his book "Vegetable Gardening for Dummies." I don't know if it will work with hot peppers, but you might give it a try on one of your hot pepper plants. If you root prune a tomato plant, it sends it into shock and it will start ripening its fruit. HOWEVER, it will also stop producing new fruit, so try this only at the end of the season. Cut 6 inches into the soil, in a full circle 12 inches from the plant's stem. Severing the roots shocks the plant into diverting its energy to maturing the larger fruit so it can complete its life cycle. I hope this info helps!

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