How to Grow Sweet Bell Peppers
Growing Peppers in Containers
Step by step instructions with plenty of photographs of growing peppers in containers.
These are easy to grow in pots if you have a small garden.
They can also be grown very successfully in the house or on a patio or balcony.
If you have plenty of room to grow vegetables in a larger garden and the conditions are right you could enjoy a bumper crop.
When to Sow Pepper Seeds
These step by step instructions are the same for planting all peppers and chilies
Peppers are very sensitive to frost so the best way to be sure of a good crop is to sow indoors in February or early March.
It will take about ten weeks before your plants are strong enough and ready to transplant into larger pots or the garden.
Sweet Bell Pepper
The most popular seeds to plant is the Sweet Bell pepper
This is the variety I grew last year.
It is an early variety and produces a lot of peppers per plant.
How To Look after the Plants
- After about a week your seeds will begin to sprout so water them regularly.
- Do not have the soil constantly wet but make sure it does not dry out either.
- After about five weeks remove one plant from each pot keeping the strongest.
- After another four weeks or so each plant will be strong enough to be transplanted into their final large pots.
- Add the compost to the pot and place a stake of about twelve inches in height into each one.
- Then put the plant in the middle and water well.
- Place the pots in the garden in the sunniest position for a few hours a day. If the weather is cold put the containers in a glasshouse or sheltered position.
I hate killing a living plant so at this stage I plant the peppers I have removed into other larger pots or containers. They will not all grow to maturity but some will. You can give these away to family or neighbours.
How to Sow
- Pepper seeds are large enough to be able to sow easily.
- You can either buy a packet of seeds or use the seeds from the peppers you bought in the store.
- Remove the seeds from the peppers and leave on a paper cloth to dry out.
- The quality of the plant will be just as good if you harvest your seeds this way.
For Plants you Intend to Grow in Pots and Containers
- Sow two seeds in each medium sized pot just above the soil.
- Cover with more soil and water gently.
- You will have plenty of seeds so plant about five pots.
- If they all grow into strong seedlings then you can give the ones you do not want away.
- Or you could experiment by planting some of them in your most sunniest part of the garden.
On a Patio or Balcony
If you are growing them on your patio leave them in the sunniest place.
Your seedlings will be very delicate during their first few weeks of growth.
If the weather is still cold during the night it is best to bring the containers into the house.
Once the summer gets really hot the plants will be hardy enough to stay out at night.
When to Harvest
- The peppers will first have lovely flowers and then these will produce the peppers.
- Once they are the required size you can pick them from the plant.
- They will grow green first.
- For these first few peppers it is best to pick them as soon as they are big enough. That way you are leaving room for more to grow.
- Do not pull them off as this will damage the plant.
- Use a sharp scissors or secateurs and cut just above the pepper on the stork.
- The flavor is extraordinary from a home grown pepper.
When I first bought the seeds a few years ago I was surprised how expensive they could be. I did get a lot of plants out of them though.
This year I decided to look online and was very surprised how cheap they were compared to the garden centres. But I was worried they would not be good quality.
I need not have been concerned though. This years crop was very good. I also had more fun shopping for them online.
Here is the variety of seeds I bought and as you can see from the photos they grew very well
Growing Peppers in your Garden
Instructions for plants you intend to grow into your garden
- Sow the seeds in a tray about two inches apart.
- Cover with soil and water.
- When the seedlings begin to sprout make sure you keep watering them.
- But be careful not to saturate them either.
- After about seven to eight weeks the seedlings will be ready to plant in the garden.
- It is best to gradually harden them first though.
- Leave in the container and put in a sunny but sheltered spot a few hours a day for about three to four days.
This will acclimatize the plants to the outside weather and so it will be less stressful for them once transplanted into the ground.
Transplanting The Seeds Into The Garden
- When they are ready choose a spot that gets at least five to six hours of sun a day.
- Make sure the soil is well drained and warm.
- It is best to do your planting in the evening when the sun is not as strong.
- Plant out at intervals of twelve to fifteen inches apart.
- This will give each one room to grow and get the full advantage of the sun.
- When you dig each hole place the small stake in it first. The stake should be at least fifteen to twenty inches high.
- Water the hole and then place each plant in the soil and cover making sure to flatten in down firmly but gently.
- Once you have planted all the peppers into the garden give them a good watering.
- It Takes About Five Weeks Before You See the First Flowers Appearing
- These will bloom and then die off.
- Tie the plants to the stakes when needed.
- They will be tiny at first but will soon grow bigger and into the pepper shape that you are used to.
- Peppers first appear green on the plant. You can pick them then if you wish.
- Depending on what variety you have they will then turn red, yellow or orange.
- This is when the plant is fully mature.
- They will be a lot sweeter and have more vitamins in them once they change color.
Have you ever grown peppers before
How to Store
When you need to harvest more peppers than you want to use because they are all mature then you can store them for a longer life.
Place unwashed peppers in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. They will last an extra ten days this way.
How to Dry The Peppers
- Wash them and cut up into small pieces. Take out the seeds.
- Put them in a pot and steam for about ten to fifteen minutes depending on how many you have.
- Lay on a tray and put in the oven at just above the lowest temperature you have.
- Turn them over with a wooden spoon occasionally.
- They will be ready when they are brown and shriveled.
- Take out and leave to cool.
- Once they are nearly cold put them into bags or containers for storage.
Once you create the right conditions for the plant you can enjoy the unique taste of home grown peppers.
Growing them in containers is an ideal way to grow vegetables when you do not have a garden.