Answer: The pepper is a member of the Solanaceae or Nightshade Family of the genus Capsicum, and is native to tropical America. The seeds require a germination temperature of 75 degrees F or higher and should be planted at a depth of about 1/4 inch. They should germinate in 5 to 8 days depending on soil warmth. Start peppers indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Both the ground and air temperature should be above 70 degrees F before peppers are transplanted outside. They should be be planted 12"-18" apart in rows 2'-3' apart. They prefer a soil rich in organic matter, and should be in full sun. The need deep watering weekly and can be side-dressed monthly with balanced fertilizer. There are lot of different kinds of fertilizers available;organic fertilizers are a good choice because they tend to be gentler on delicate roots. Mulches like straw or grass clippings will help your peppers retain moisture throughout the summer heat. Minnesota falls in zones 3 and 4, depending on where you are.
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