Bell peppers are one of the most popular vegetables grown in home gardens. The bell pepper is native to Central and North America and is easy to grow. There is now a much wider variety of peppers to choose from with different colors and even different shapes. Whether you’re looking for green, yellow, orange, red or even purple – here’s what you need to know.
Preparing the Plants- Peppers like hot weather. They are easily damaged from any cold weather and frost is fatal.. 1. 1. Many gardeners plant transplant their seedlings too early. Wait until the soil is between 70-85 degrees. If the weather is still too cold, wait until it warms up. Cold weather can lead to the plant slowing down or becoming stunted.
2. Determine a good spot to plant your new plants outside and prepare the soil. Bell peppers need lots of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. The area should be well-drained and receive lots of sun. Prepare the soil by adding good topsoil, compost and rotted manure. You want a pH level around 7.0 (neutral).
3. Place the seedlings that you started indoors 18-24 inches apart. Dig a small hole, about 2 inches deep.
4. Gently but firmly grasp the seedling by the base of the stem and lift it out (dirt and all) from the starter container. Place the root base of the seedling (with dirt still around it) into the hole, making sure the root ball is completely within the hole. Add about 1 inch of water into the hole, and fill in with soil, patting firmly around the base of the seedling, tamping it securely into the ground.
5. Surround each plant with mulch to warm the soil and help keep the soil moist.
6. To improve the quality of your peppers, place a small amount of fertilizer around each plant early in the growing season. Place the fertilizer about 4 inches from the stem and add water to work it into the soil.
7. When watering your plants, you want to keep a consistent moistness to the soil, but do not allow it to get soggy during the growing season. If the plants do not get enough water, the bell peppers will have a bitter taste. If you use a black plastic mulch, you will need to water the plants more frequently.
8. As the plants grow and develop, switch from mulch to a fertilizer that is high in phosphorous and potassium. Avoid giving the plant too much nitrogen as this can results in a great bushy plant, but few peppers will develop. Peppers are self-pollinators. Sometimes bees or other insects will cross pollinate them with other plants. Because of this, keep hot and sweet peppers far apart. It will not affect the current crop, but if you keep the seeds, it will show up in the genetics the following year.
9. Several insects like to feast on pepper plants. Spider mites, aphids and occasionally borers are the main culprits. Others include the Colorado potato beetles, tarnished plant bugs, flea beetles, and hornworms. Fortunately, it’s not a frequent problem and can easily be cured with an organic insecticide or dust.
10. Common diseases for bell pepper plants include anthracnose, blossom end rot, bacterial spot, early blight and verticillium wilt.
11.Protect pepper plants from frost at all costs. Cover plants if frost is expected. An easy cover is a 5-gallon bucket. Just place them on top through the night and remove when the air warms up during the day.
12. Peppers are sensitive to ethylene gas (a gas given off from other fruits and vegetables as they ripen). Do not store them with other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas, such as apples and strawberries.
13. Do not plant bell peppers with other Solanaceae plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, etc. as they are susceptible to the same diseases.
-Ace Bell #GHP-1-An early hybrid. Medium sized, sweet green to red (when ripe) pepper. The blocky, dark green fruit are medium size and 3-4 lobed with a thick wall. Ace holds its green color well and does not sunburn easily. Maturity - 60-65 days Full Sun. Moderate Water.
-Lady Bell #GHP-2
-60 Day green, 80 day red ripe. Large, 3-4 lobed fruits hold well to red ripe. Great for anyone looking for an early bell. Full Sun. Mod. Water. Very Prolific Green to ripe when red.
-Golden Bell #GHP-3
-62 days. Gardeners who have never succeeded with bell peppers should try this one. Golden Bell produces 4-lobed, blocky 4 x 4 inch fruit. Peppers are very thick walled and turn a beautiful golden yellow when fully ripe. The taste is crisp with an amazing sweetness.
-Valencia (Orange) Bell #GHP-4
- Consistent packouts of flavorful, high-quality orange fruits. High yield, 3-4 lobed fruit Early to Midseason (TP) 2-3 ft - Spacing 36”, Full Sun, Mod Water. Green to Orange when ripe- Thick walls are great for salads and cooking- 65 days green- 85 days orange.
-Islander Bell #GHP-5
Yellow, Red- Golden, Lavender and finally Red-Our favorite of lavender/purple bells. It holds its soft shade of lavender right up to ripening when it turns red. A 1991 introduction from Northrup-King. Size is that of a standard blocky bell like California Wonder.18-24 in. Spacing: 18-24 in. Full Sun. Moderate Water. 56 days to lavender 80- days to red.
-Purple Bell #GHP-6 -70-75 days. One of the best purple bell we’ve grown. Short, bushy, 17 inch tall plants provide good leaf cover for fruit. Each plant can yield up to 12 four-lobed, 3 x 3 inch colorful peppers. They begin green, turn purple, and finish a deep red when fully mature. A crisp, sweet bell. Resistant to tobacco mosaic.(OP) .
-White Perfection Bell #GHP-7 -65 days white, 85 days yellow. Ivory white ripens to a sweet lemon yellow fruit. Medium to medium large blocky, smooth 4 lobe peppers with good flavor. An excellent contrast with other colored peppers. Full Sun. Moderate Water.
-California Wonder #GHP-8
- Heirloom- Traditional California blocky bell like you grew up with-Great for stuffing and on pizza- Prolific producer- 60 Days- Green when ripe but will turn to red.
-Sweet Chocolate Bell #GHP-9 - 58 days green-75 days Brown (ripe). Can be harvested green, but leave plenty on the plant to mature to a rich chocolate brown. Medium to thick flesh brick red under skin. That’s when they’re sweetest and have the most vitamin C. Medium-large smooth, 3-4 lobed fruit. Full Sun. Moderate Water.
-Sweet Nardello #GHP-10 -70 days. Jimmy's Nardello's heirloom sweet pepper that excels as a drying and freezing pepper, it is also good for stir-fry, relishes, and salad use. Fruits are thin-walled, slightly curved, averaging 1” at the shoulder, and tapering to 6 to 8” in length. The first mature fruits make the best quality dried peppers. The fruits ripen from green to crimson red, and the flavor is sweet and multidimensional with a slightly spicy and smoky quality. The plants are very productive and disease-resistant producing a large percentage of high quality fruits.
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