Sunday, March 21, 2010

Potting Pretty Pepper Plants

Last month Mark brought home some of the most delicious yellow, orange, and red bell peppers ever!  They were so good, that I saved the seeds from all six peppers.  Will my home grown peppers taste as good?  A few days later I poured most of the dried seeds into a big pot of fresh soil, stirred them into the top inch of soil and covered with plastic wrap, a homemade greenhouse.  They sprouted so quickly and look so healthy!  I bought a new bag of soil especially for vegetables, and today I repotted all those little plants into individual 2-ounce paper dixie cups.  First I poked a hole in the bottom of each cup.   After I filled a bunch of cups with soil, I added a seedling.  I filled five boxes and a table full of lovely little bell pepper plants, 282 plants total.  What a surprise that every seed I planted sprouted!  I'll share these with everone I know, and think I should bring a batch to the family reunion next month too!    Do you like bell peppers?
  Info: From seed to maturity: 75-100 days. Germinated March 1, should begin to produce in mid-May. Peppers turn from green to light yellow and then a golden yellow, OR green to orange OR green to red when mature. (I mixed the seeds from three varieties before planting, so it’s a surprise!) They’re edible green, but sweeten as they mature in color. Transplant into 5 gallon well drained containers. I suggest using soil for vegetable growth. A 20-quart bag of Lowe’s “Kellogg Patio Plus Natural” organic soil is about $3. Water weekly, keeping soil moist, but not soggy. Plants should grow to 16-20” tall. Tie to stakes. When your pepper is first growing, it needs a fair amount of blood meal (nitrogen), but once it starts producing flowers, it needs bone meal (phosphorus), using half-strength every other week. Peppers are related to tomatoes and have similar growing requirements, so an organic tomato fertilizer should work fine. Peppers thrive in plenty of light and warmth, but burn easily, so eastern sun may be best.

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