Growing your pepper doesn’t have to remain a pipe dream for long. I assume that you have always thought of growing your fruits one day. Many people fantasise about starting a little garden where they can grow their fruits and vegetables. They do not just think about this because of the pleasure of watching plants grow. They start a garden because of the noticeable benefits owning one offer. In this article, I will explain to you how to grow peppers in your garden, their benefits and how to tend to them.
Some of the benefits include
- Nutrients: In their freshest form, just before they are processed, fruits contain more nutrients. Ever noticed that the fruits and vegetables you get from the supermarket are not exactly new? That’s because they have been packaged to remain edible for a long time by refrigerating them. Too much refrigeration is not suitable for perishables like fruits and vegetables as this might degrade the quality of the said fruit or vegetable. Hence, if you want to derive maximum nutrients and satisfaction, you should ensure that you only consume fresh fruits and what better way to do this than to grow them yourself?
2. Cost-Effective: Another reason people are going into growing their fruits/peppers is that it saves them money. On a day-to-day basis, it might look like buying from the supermarket saves you money. Still, the costs hit home when you sit down and calculate everything you have spent, say, in a month, and then realise that you could have saved up to half of that amount if you had just grown fruits at home. Growing your pepper and other fruits saves you money, and saving money might come in handy if you are on a budget.
3. Healthy Habits: We know for sure that most people don’t go to the supermarket to buy fruits every day due to inaccessibility. Growing your pepper will increase accessibility to them for your healthy living. You no longer have to go out of your way to get them; they are right there in your backyard. This will help you develop healthy habits. The act of tending your little pepper garden every day will also do wonders for your health.
Types of pepper to grow
Now, growing your pepper is not just about putting pepper seeds inside the ground and hoping for them to germinate. As with many other things, there is a science to growing pepper. The first step is to decide on the type of pepper to grow. There are many varieties of pepper, each with its peculiarities and unique sale proposition.
For the pepper seeds that do well in the UK, we have
1. Sweet Bell Variety: This is subdivided into the Bellboy, California wonder, Golden bell, Gipsy, and other numerous varieties.
2. Hot Pepper Variety: This is subdivided into Anaheim, Cayenne long slim, Hungarian yellow wax, and other varieties.
Conditions for growing your peppers
1. Weather Conditions: Pepper is generally grown in hot weather conditions, and pepper grown in hot weather conditions is bigger than its cold-weather counterparts, so it is best to plant them during hot summer conditions in a way that they get enough sun to do well. If you want to grow them in cold weather, you have to use a rotational method of taking them in at night when the cold gets strong and bring them out to the sun just before noon. If you can also provide artificial heat for them, then that will be excellent.
2. Soil: Ideally, the soil you plant your pepper on should have plenty of organic materials that will provide nutrients to your pepper plant. It should also have enough intra-soil spaces for proper water drainage. With these factors in mind, the best soil to grow your pepper seed is a mixture of sandy and loamy soil.
3. Seed: You should keep the pepper seed in a warm place before and during planting. The soil’s temperature and your whole pepper ecosystem should be kept semi-constant between 70-90 degrees for maximum efficiency and productivity.
Step on how to grow your peppers
Let’s get down to the main job at hand. We are planting peppers!
Pepper seeds are planted mainly in pots in a practice known as potting. You can also plant them in trays. We advise against setting the pepper outdoors at this tender age as they are still too young to handle the cold and frost. Keep them indoors in a warm, ventilated place, and make sure you handle the seeds carefully and hygienically. Talking about seeds, the advised spacing for them should be an inch. Cover the seedlings with plastic bags (not to fear, you can remove this immediately the pepper starts germinating). Then, add water to the soil in small quantities. The water should not be too much. The water level should always remain below the soil’s surface. After that, cover the whole planting tray with a plastic bag to prevent the water from evaporating too fast.
Depending on the overall warmth provided to them and other conditions, seedlings peep out of the soil in about 10 to 18 days. Immediately you notice them, you should transplant the “baby” pepper to their pots from the communal tray, or if there is enough space for them in the tray, you can leave them there. Move the pepper to a sunnier position but not to direct sunlight as they might not be able to handle that. Ideally, it would be best to move the peppers somewhere close to where light rays enter; an example is near an open window.
When the growing pepper plants reach 8 inches in height, you can cut out their tips; this will signal to the plants to grow more branches, thereby yielding more fruits for you and increased productivity. Pruning is not the only way to increase productivity. Watch the video under this guide to learn how to increase productivity without pruning. As the pepper plants continue growing, you can move them to open spaces where they will have enough room and sunlight to grow to their full potential. Also, you can apply fertilisers rich in potassium to the peppers to get them to grow even bigger than they would naturally.
But you might have a problem. If you have followed all the steps outlined here, you should have a full pepper crop, each very bushy and filled with fruits, but then you notice that the crop is not erect or that they seem to be breaking under their weight. The solution to this is to use sticks or metal to support the pepper crop to prevent and minimise this. This practice is known as staking.
You should start harvesting your pepper crops when they are big enough and taking on the final red colour.
Taking care of your pepper garden
As with other things, there are things you need to do to keep your pepper garden productive and well maintained.
1. Ensure you water your pepper plants every day.
2. Use a telescopic hedge trimmer to keep the pepper leaves in line.
3. To prepare the lawn for the final transplantation, use a lawn scarifier. You can even use it to convert a lawn to a garden in less than a week.
4. To spread the fertiliser by hand is always inefficient, so I advise using a lawn spreader to do it quickly.
5. Regularly prune your pepper garden for weeds.
Other fun things you can add to your garden
If you are an avid bird watcher or interested in birds, you can install bird tables on the other side of your garden, far away from your pepper crops. Also, if you regularly have birds’ problem as pests, a bird table helps distract them from your pepper crops.
You can also add a hedgehog house to your garden.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I plant another crop with the pepper?
By all means, yes. Pepper grows exceptionally well with Carrots, Cucumbers, and Eggplants. Just make sure to maintain adequate spacing between the different crops.
How long does it take for peppers to grow?
As with other parts of the UK, germination of pepper crops takes a range of 10 -18 days, and then they start to flower around 70 days after planting. After that, they are ripe for harvesting in just a few days.
I am sure by now you have an idea of how to grow peppers. Growing your pepper doesn’t have to remain a pipe dream for long; you can learn how to grow pepper and save money while performing an enjoyable activity.
For more tips on how to grow peppers and taking care of your pepper garden, watch the video below