The Q&A Archives: Growing Bell Peppers

Question: This will be my second year with my outdoor raised veggie garden. I had a lot of success last year with my tomatos, eggplant, lettuce and cukes. Im planning on growing bell peppers all started from seeds but Ive been told they are very fickle. Any tips for my first pepper plants?

Answer: Pepper seeds usually sprout readily but they do have some preferences. Here's how to grow healthy pepper plants:

Use a plastic tray or pot depending on how many pepper seeds you are planning to grow, with drainage holes. Start planting your pepper seed roughly a month before last frost is due. You can use any kind of potting soil for your pepper seed, placing the seed in the middle and pushing down to the required depth like with any other seed.

Pepper seeds like a warm temperature to grow in and especially a warm base for them, so invest in a heating cable for your seeding trays or pots. Pepper seeds will not need much water and it?s a good idea to water the plant from the bottom rather than getting water on the plant itself.

To help keep the seedbed from drying out, you can put plastic film over the top of the plant pot / tray until the seeds sprout.After this stage your pepper plant will need plenty in the way of nourishments. A good choice fertilizer is 15-15-15. This fertilizer will give plenty of nitrogen for foliage growth and healthy green colour, potassium for helping to fight off disease, and phosphorous to help cell division, flower and seed production and strong roots.

To finish off, before placing your new pepper plant out into the open, try introducing your plant to the cold gradually by putting it outside during the day and back inside at night for a couple of weeks so it has time to change and adapt to the cooler climates.

Best wishes with your pepper plants!

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