Growing Peppers and Chillis
This is a fantastic crop for you to grow at home. Both pepper types produce bright peppers that give the windowsill or containers an exotic touch. And the flavoursome sweet or hot peppers make a great ingredient for kitchen recipes.
Just a bit of TLC at the intial stages of growing, and you’ll be rewarded with colourful and numerous peppers.
Sowing pepper seeds
Germination time: 2-3 weeks
Sowing pepper seeds in pots in March for an outdoor crop, or mid-February for an indoor crop. Sow two seeds per pot, and remove the weaker seedling about a month later, as they grow.
Before planting outside in June, be sure to harden off, by placing the plant outdoors by day, and bringing in in the evening on cool nights.
While raising seedlings indoors, (or if growing peppers to maturity indoors) keep the plants well misted to keep the pest red spider mite at bay. Misting to raise humidity levels also encourages fruit set.
You may need to repot peppers several times before they go into their final position, as they’re fast growers once they get started.
Plant in June outdoors either in containers or in the ground with protection such as cloches or horticultural fleece until well into summer. If growing more than one plant in open ground, space at 45cm (1 ½ ft) apart.
Regular misting is advised to keep red spider mite at bay, especially when growing under glass. Keep crops well watered but be mindful not to have the soil sodden
Grow peppers in a sunny and sheltered site if outdoors, and be sure not to expose plants, especially when young, to cold conditions or drafts.
When raising seedlings indoors, ensure an ambient temperature of 15-20C (60-70F).
Caring for growing crops
Don’t be tempted to pinch out tips as plants naturally branch out unaided. Only pinch out tips as a last resort if the plant is growing spindly or is reluctant to branch.
Harvesting and Storing Peppers
Harvest chilli and sweet peppers when they are still slightly immature. This will encourage further fruiting. Pick green sweet pepper when they are smooth and glossy. Peppers may take up to two weeks to mature, and longer if it’s a dull summer.
Best varieties of peppers
Pests and Diseases of Peppers
Red spider mite