Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to Grow a Giant Bell Pepper

Bell peppers come in many colors. Choose varieties that are extra-large.

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Bell peppers, vitamin rich and colorful, are one of the most popular vegetables in the home garden, according to university extension services. There are many varieties of bell pepper available, and a range of colors including green, red, purple, orange and yellow. For the biggest bell peppers, choose giant varieties such as Big Bertha, Chinese Giant, Big Early or Camelot. You can find seeds for extra-large bell pepper varieties at your local garden center, or from online nurseries. Start the seeds 10 weeks before the date they are to be planted outside.

Related Searches:Difficulty:Moderately EasyInstructions Things You'll NeedPepper seedsCupPeat potsSeed starter mixWarming trayMulchShovelAll-purpose fertilizerFish emulsionEpsom saltPesticideGarden clippersSuggest Edits1

Soak the seeds in a cup of water overnight before planting to speed germination. Fill 2-inch peat pots with moist seed-starter planting mix. Place two or three seeds 1/4-inch deep in each 2-inch peat pot. Set the pots on a warming tray, or in a sunny window, and keep the soil moist. Your seeds should germinate in just a few days. When the seedlings develop leaves, thin so only the largest seedling is left in each pot. Keep them in a warm, light location until it is time to plant them outdoors.

2

Prepare the outdoor planting sight by working mulch into the planting area, amending the soil by half. Pull any weeds. Bell peppers need a lot of sun and warmth, so be sure your site is in the sun. Plan on planting your peppers in your garden at least a month after the last average frost date for your area.

3

Dig small holes, and plant the seedlings in their peat pots. Space your peppers 18 to 24 inches apart. Cover the plants so the soil level comes to the top of the peat pot. Sprinkle a teaspoon of all-purpose fertilizer around each plant. Water the plants, and surround with mulch. Keep moist but not soggy as the plants grow.

4

Fertilize your bell peppers again when you see flower buds start to develop. Mix an organic fish emulsion according to package directions and water the plants well with the mixture. Encourage healthy, large peppers by mixing 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt with 1 quart of water, and spraying on the leaves of the plant.

5

Keep your bell pepper plants watered well as the peppers develop. Keep weeds pulled. Watch for signs of insect infestation, such as holes or ragged spots on leaves. Use an insecticide that is safe for use on food crops if you spots signs of pests.

6

Wait until your bell peppers have fully developed their mature color before harvesting. All peppers start off green, but depending on the variety, can mature to red, orange, or even purple. Do not wait longer to harvest the pepper once it has reached full mature color, as they quickly deteriorate once this point is reached.

Tips & Warnings

Use a knife or clipper to remove the bell peppers from the plants. Pulling off the pepper can cause damage to the stems.

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ReferencesOhio State University Extension: Growing Peppers in the Home GardenUniversity of Illinois Extension: PeppersUniversity of Georgia: Home Garden PeppersPhoto Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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