Sweet Pepper Seed Collection
Peppers require a long, warm growing season. Seed should be started indoors in March or 8 weeks prior to transplanting. To start seed indoors, sow 2-3 seeds 1⁄4 inches deep, in 1x1 inch cells and provide constant moisture and a soil temperature of 26-29 degrees C. After germination (1-2 weeks), thin seedlings to one per cell. Once seedlings develop 2-3 true leaves, transplant into larger containers (2x2 inches or 3x3 inches). At transplanting time, set transplants 18 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart.
Sheltered, full sun area with soil pH of 6.0-6.8. Peppers are moderate feeders and require plenty of compost and well-rotted manure mixed into the soil prior to planting. Fertilize sparingly until plants start to set fruit. Too much nitrogen causes an excess of foliage and dropping of flower buds. Provide even moisture, particularly during flowering and fruit set. Use black plastic or paper mulch to attract heat, hold water and prevent weeds.
Begin harvest when peppers reach a useable size. Cut rather than pull from branch.
Blossoms will drop when temperature falls below 60 degrees F (15 degrees C) or goes above 80 degrees F (27 degrees C). Blossom End Rot-Fruits blacken and decay at the blossom end due to a calcium deficiency. Poor fruit set is usually due to cold weather. Excessive nitrogen fertilizer during early growth may also delay fruit set.
Pests & Disease:
Aphids - small pear-shaped soft bodied insects, green, red or black in colour. Aphids feed by sucking plant sap which causes curled, stunted leaves and shoots and reduces plant vigour. Spray plants with an insecticidal soap.
Companions: Carrot, onion, parsnip, pea, basil.