The pepper, which belongs to the Solanaceae family, is included in the category of sun vegetables that we like to taste in all regions of France. It brings a colorful touch to many summer dishes. Good news, it can be grown in a vegetable garden or in a pot, even without much gardening experience when it benefits from generous sunshine. Here’s how to sow and then maintain your pepper plants to feast on your own harvest all summer long.
Sow your peppers
Pepper seeds (Capsicum annuum) are sown hot, that is to say imperatively at high temperature. In other words, if we cannot offer them a sufficiently warm place absolutely essential to obtain a germination, it is better to buy your pepper plants for transplanting.
It is in the month of March that you can plant your peppers under cover, namely:
- Either in a greenhouse,
- Either under frame or under cover,
- Or on a heating mat.
These solutions make it possible to maintain the seeds between 25 and 27 ° C.
We sow in a loose substrate, lightweight, rich in potash like a compost, but on condition that it does not contain fresh manure. In addition to the high heat that must be maintained, care must be taken to keep the soil moist.
The gardener must be patient because the emergence is slow. After three to four months, the young plants finally measure 15 to 18 cm in height. They can therefore be transplanted is in the ground in the vegetable garden, either in bac, provided that any risk of frost is removed, the slightest cold snap can be fatal.
Pepper needs a deep soil, fresh and humus and must be installed under the sun. Planting in the ground takes place as follows:
- Dig a hole every 50 cm and make sure to space the rows of peppers 60 cm apart,
- Place decomposed compost at the bottom of each hole,
- Install one pepper plant per hole,
- Recap and compact the earth,
- Water copiously.
Then make sure that the soil does not dry out.
In our latitudes where winters are generally quite marked and frosts possible at least until the end of the Ice Saints, the pepper is grown as an annual plant. This means that each year the seedlings are to be renewed, or new plants in pots are to be replanted.
Note that the crop rotation is more than recommended. So we do not grow the pepper in the same place once every 4 years. This alternation is required because the pepper depletes the soil of nutrients and promotes the installation of parasites.
Caring for peppers in the garden
We recommend buying the plants ready to be transplanted if you do not have special equipment because the seedlings of peppers are delicate and only succeed in optimal conditions that not all gardeners can guarantee. It is much easier to grow plants sold in pots, to transplant immediately or in the ground either in a pot at least 30 cm deep. Afterwards, care should be taken not to neglect the maintenance of your pepper crop.
Watering is very important for the success of its culture of peppers. They must be regular and fairly abundant. The soil must always remain cool so that the plants do not suffer no water stress, this can be fatal to them.
It is recommended to install a mulch at the foot of the peppers to limit the drying out of the soil, which must always remain moist.
As the plants grow, it is useful to train with wire for example. Trellising helps support the stems which, under the weight of the fruit, risk breaking.
As we have seen, it is necessary to bring a decomposed compost when planting, especially if the garden soil is poor. In addition, fertilization is recommended when the first peppers appear. A tomato fertilizer is then used.
Between June and early September, pruning is useful only in areas with a cool climate. It consists of topping the stems (i.e. cut them off at the end) when the plant has 10 to 15 small fruits. This avoids the formation of new peppers and therefore their excess, it allows to obtain larger fruits which will ripen perfectly.
Parasites and diseases
The gastropods (slugs, snails) like tender leaves. To protect your crop, all you need to do is set anti-slug traps.
Thered spider is a mite that readily attacks peppers as soon as the environment is dry and hot. The signs to look out for are the webs on the foliage as well as grayish spots. Subsequently, the leaves dry up and drop. All parts infested by red spiders should be trimmed and burned. It is also necessary to treat with an insecticide based on Pyrethrum, nettle manure or even with black soap sprays.
We do not hesitate to install its pepper plants next to basil, eggplant and tomato. Worries (Calendula officinalis), the flowers of which are edible, also find their place between the feet.
Harvest your own peppers
It takes 5 to 6 months after sowing to harvest the peppers from the garden. Flowering takes place between May and August depending on the planting period and the climate. Thus, we then see the young fruits appear during the last days of June.
In regions with a mild climate, green peppers are ready to be picked a month later, at the end of July. If it is not harvested, it gradually colors over the summer. In any case, care must be taken to ensure that all the peppers are harvested before the frost arrives because they can’t stand the cold.
The pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a variety of sweet pepper and it is also called pepper in many parts of the world. It is, however, different from the one that stings the tongue and makes the cheeks hot! Pepper is a fruit that is eaten raw or cooked, and its pleasant flavor is more or less sweet depending on its degree of ripeness. It changes from green to yellow or orange then to red. So it’s simply a matter of maturity. This king of ratatouille is in any case very popular with young and old alike, whatever its color.