I’ve been growing peppers for the first time this year and I’m proud to say that in a matter of days I will be swimming in pepperoncinis, sweet peppers, and bell peppers. I thought I’d share some of what I have been doing in case your pepper plants aren’t doing too well. Mine also had a rough start, but a few simple things really turned my plants around.
Even a Smallish Pot is Enough
I started growing these peppers as an after thought. Because they weren’t planned, I didn’t save any prime pot real estate for them. Instead, the only spot left over was a long, low window box that I usually use to grow salad greens. I learned something interesting from this scenario though, peppers apparently don’t need much space to do their thing. These plants are about 9 inches apart, and the window box is about 9 inches deep. All my plants are 18-24 inches tall and covered in flowers and developing fruit, so it seems that you can have quite successful pepper production in virtually any sized growing space.
Consistent Fertilizer Makes for Happy Peppers
As I mentioned earlier, these pepper plants weren’t exactly a high priority for me earlier this year. I’m embarassed to admit it, but I left them in their nursery pots for way too long and often forgot to water them. Several of their compatriots didn’t make it. And the plants you see above did not look healthy when I finally got around to taking care of my garden about 6 weeks ago. The only thing I can attribute to their current good health to is the fertilizing regime I implemented.
- When I planted them in the windowbox, I worked in worm castings into the dirt. I’d say it was about 3 tablespoons of castings per plant.
- Once a week I spray their leaves with sea weed extract diluted in water (6 drops in a spray bottle that holds 1 cup of water). After I spray the leaves I pour the rest of the seaweed-water in the dirt around the pepper plants.
- Every 3 weeks I have been sprinkling a balanced organic fertilizer (look for something like 10-10-10) meant for tomatoes in the dirt around the plants and working it in to the soil. I plan on continuing to do this until the plants are done producing peppers.
Don’t go crazy with fertilizer though. If you notice that lots of the flowers are falling off (more than just 1 or 2 per plant) you might be over fertilizing. Cut back on the fertilizer and apply some epsom salts to help give your plants some magnesium. That should turn things around.
Be Generous with Water
Peppers like consistently moist but not soggy soil. Water them whenever the top of the soil is dry. You can also help them from drying out by covering the dirt with mulch.
Peppers like Sun, But Not Too Much
A spot with morning sun, or filtered light all day long is ideal. Direct afternoon sun can scorch peppers.