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Peppers
by Diana Roberts
Category: Greenhouse
Peppers are a wonderful vegetable to grow, but for some reason people shy away from them. If you have a greenhouse, then why not try growing your own peppers this year.
Spacing
 
Choose pepper plants which are dark green and very sturdy, without any blossoms or fruit. Your pepper plants should be planted in blocks approximately 1Ĺ feet apart to prevent overcrowding.
Outdoors
 
Itís not impossible to grow peppers outdoors in the north, but you will have to plant them in a sheltered spot that receives a lot of morning and some afternoon sunlight. You must be careful about the amount of sunlight peppers receive, as too much sun can damage the fruit. You can transplant your pepper plants into the greenhouse when it no longer freezes at night, or if you plant them outdoors two to three weeks after the last frost comes and the ground is at least 18 degrees Celsius.
Transplant
 
Be sure that you transplant your peppers only on a cloudy day or in the evening to prevent sunscald to the plant. Peppers like well-drained soil, whether in the garden or in the greenhouse, as they cannot tolerate their roots sitting in water. If your plants are getting too much water, you may find your blossoms wilting or you may have bitter peppers. Though peppers do not like soggy soil, they do like soil which is moist. Itís a good idea to mulch under your pepper to keep the moisture in and protect roots.
Chili peppers
 
If you are growing chili peppers, they like an acidic soil of about 5.0-6.0 pH. Bell peppers are sweetest and have the highest content of vitamin C and A when they are fully mature. If you are eating them fresh, try to choose peppers which are shiny, brightly colored and heavy. Do not plant bell peppers near hot peppers unless you want them to cross-pollinate. It is best to plant your peppers in different locations each year to avoid having them pick up diseases from previous years.
Varieties
 
Pepper plants make beautiful decorations in your garden or greenhouse as well. If you like, you can mix the pepper plants into your planter box displays. If you are planting your peppers in pots, be certain there is proper drainage. Bell peppers come in numerous varieties, such as the red Bell Boy, the Purple Beauty, or the red or yellow Jingle Bell. There are over 200 varieties of hot peppers, so you shouldnít have a problem finding one to suit your taste. They come in sizes of only ľ inch to 12 inches long. Some great varieties to try are the Anaheim (medium heat), Cayenne (fairly hot), Jalapeno (hot) and Thai Hot (very hot).
Tips
 
To help you grow the best peppers you can, try these ideas: sprinkle crushed egg shells around your plants to prevent slugs from making their way to your peppers. Adding fish scraps to your soil (beware of cats digging them up) will provide phosphorous and nitrogen for your plants. Coffee grounds and tea leaves will also add nitrogen and chopped banana peels will add potassium to the soil.
Dry them
 
If you have a large crop of peppers and wish to dry some, try putting them in a brown bag! Only put enough in each bag to cover the bottom, then close and loosely tie the top of the bag. Just leave the bags on your counter or another safe place for a couple of weeks and you will have perfectly dried peppers, without any rotting. If you are starting your own pepper plants, it might be a good idea to get them started now so they will be mature enough to set out in the spring. This will also ensure that they will have enough time to produce mature fruit before fall.
 
 

 
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