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Peppers, Hot and Sweet

Growing Peppers

Peppers, both sweet and hot, are easy to grow. Grow peppers during warm weather in full sun, after the danger of frost has passed. Start pepper seeds indoors eight weeks before planting. Seeds germinate in 15 to 20 days at 75 degrees F.

Fertilize the soil and give plants ample space. Pinch the central tip to promote side branches. Do not let young plants become stressed by cold weather or drought.

The glossy fruits grow from an inch or less in length to more than six inches and can be pointy, round, or blocky. They have bright colors and waxy coats and range from cream through yellow, orange, red, purple, and brownish-black.

It's fun to see colorful peppers as pot plants. They work well in flower borders and vegetable garden rows.

Harvesting Peppers

Peppers are usually harvested when green. If you want sweet red peppers, leave the sweet green peppers on the vine until they ripen and turn red. Cut the peppers off the vine; if you pull them off, half the plant may come up with the fruit. Hot peppers can irritate the skin, so wear gloves when you pick them.

Both hot and sweet peppers come in many varieties.

Types of Sweet Peppers
  • Better Belle, harvest at 65 days, produces peppers that are large, thick-walled, and green.
  • Bell Boy, harvest at 70 days, are a large deep green turning to red.
  • Golden Bell, harvest at 68 days, are a light green that turns golden yellow.
  • Pimento, harvest at 78 days, are heart-shaped and sweet.
Types of Hot Peppers
  • Hungarian Yellow Wax, harvest at 65 days, matures to red in color and is medium-hot.
  • Red Chili, harvest at 80 days, produces peppers that are 21/2 inches long and very hot.
In the next section, we'll teach you how to select and serve great-tasting peppers.

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