Gardening

How to plant bell pepper

Capsicum annuum Grossum Group

Peppers are a group of pepper cultivars of the species Capsicum annuum , and are a type of sweet pepper, that is, they are peppers that do not have capsaicin and other capsaicinoids in the fruits, which are the substances that produce the burning sensation, and so they are not spicy (there is at least one exception, the hybrid cultivar ‘Mexibelle’, whose fruits contain capsaicin and are therefore spicy).

The fruits of peppers can be harvested while still green or can be harvested when they are ripe. In most cultivars, peppers are green when immature and when ripe they are red, but there are cultivars with ripe or immature fruits of various other colors, including orange, yellow, chocolate brown, purple and white. For example, in the cultivar “Purple Beauty”, the fruit starts green, becomes purple and then when it ripens it becomes red. An example of a cultivar whose fruits remain green even when ripe is the cultivar ‘Permagreen’.

Fruits also vary in shape and size, with cultivars with smaller or larger fruits, and more square, more rectangular or more conical fruits.

Climate

The ideal is a hot and humid climate, with temperatures between 18 ° C and 30 ° C during the day and a temperature a few degrees lower at night. Although peppers grow best in hot weather, temperatures above 30 ° C can reduce the number and size of fruits. In colder climates, peppers can be grown in the hottest months of the year and are also very common in greenhouses.

Brightness

It grows best in high light conditions, with direct sunlight. In very hot weather, partial shade can be beneficial in the hottest hours of the day.

Ground

Ideally, the soil should be light, deep, well drained, fertile and rich in organic matter. As for the pH of the soil, the ideal is a pH between 5.5 and 7.5.

Irrigation

Irrigate when necessary to keep the soil always moist, but the soil should not remain soaked.

Planting

Pepper seeds can be sown directly at the final location, but as the seedlings are relatively fragile, it is recommended to plant them in seedlings, cups or plastic or paper bags. The seeds should be approximately 0.5 cm deep in the soil and germination usually occurs in 1 to 3 weeks. The transplant to the final location is done when the pepper seedlings reach approximately 10 cm in height.

The recommended spacing is 60 to 120 cm between the planting lines and 40 to 60 cm between the plants, varying with the cultivar and cultivation conditions.

Peppers can be grown in pots, but they must have a depth and diameter of at least 35 cm for plants to thrive.

Cultivation

Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.

It is recommended to take care of the plants to avoid that the fruits end up touching the soil if the plants or their branches fall. One option is to use cuttings at least 1 m high and carefully tie the plant to the stake as the plant grows. Another option is the use of wire fences (spreaders).

Harvest

Pepper harvesting usually starts 12 to 16 weeks after planting, and can last for a few months. Peppers can be harvested when they are well developed, but still green, or when they are ripe.

This plant is usually cultivated as an annual, but it is a short-lived perennial and in suitable conditions it can produce fruit for a few years.

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