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How to grow bell peppers

How to grow bell peppers Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Growing bell peppers is easy, but there are many different types of peppers and each one has its own growing habits. The most common types of bell pepper are green, red and yellow, but there are also orange varieties with a range of colors from green to orange and even purple! Bell peppers make a colorful addition to your market garden offering.

Know your climate

Climate affects plant growth and fruit and vegetable production. If your climate isn't right for bell peppers, they'll struggle to mature and produce fruit. For example, if your growing season is too short or too warm for bell peppers to thrive, then it's worth considering different varieties that are more resistant to these conditions (and may produce earlier).

In general, hot days with cool nights are best for bell pepper plants because this mimics their native environment (Mexico). They also need lots of water during their first few weeks as seedlings until their roots establish themselves deep enough into the soil so they don't dry out easily when watered again later down the line!

Pick a suitable variety

To get the best results from your bell pepper plants, it's important to choose varieties that are suitable for your climate. You also need to pick varieties that will thrive in the growing method you've selected and soil type. Some cultivars may also be more appropriate for your growing season or space requirements.

For example, if you live in a warmer climate (USDA Hardiness Zones 7-11) where summers are long and hot with cool winters but no frost, 'California Wonder' would be a good choice because it matures quickly even under these conditions while still producing juicy fruit well into the fall months when most other peppers have stopped producing.

Space plants properly

The spacing of bell pepper plants depends on whether they are a determinate or indeterminate variety. Determinate varieties will stop growing after the first harvest and have a more compact shape. Indeterminate varieties continue to grow, producing fruit throughout the season. Bell peppers are normally planted 12 inches apart with rows about 30 inches apart, but this can vary depending on variety and conditions.

When planting, you should consider your soil type, temperature and moisture level before deciding how deep to plant them (see below). It's also important to know when your area is frost-free so you don't plant too early in areas where cold weather is possible during certain months of the year.

Ensure correct soil drainage

Good drainage is essential for growing healthy plants—and bell peppers are no exception. The ability of the soil to allow water to flow through it is called soil drainage. This is important because high-quality soil should have enough air and water to feed the roots, but not too much that it becomes soggy or muddy.

When looking at your own garden's drainage, consider these possible causes:

  • Soil compaction (the weight of the plants can compact the soil)

  • Poor organic matter content (organic matter helps loosen compacted soils)

  • Soil structure (clay soils may be more prone to poor drainage than sandy ones)

Choose dwarf varieties for containers

Dwarf varieties of peppers are the most suitable for container growing, as they take up less space and require less maintenance. If you’re growing peppers in pots or raised beds, dwarf pepper plants will grow to be about 3 feet tall. They produce tasty fruits that mature quickly—just in time for your next meal!

Even better? Dwarf varieties are much easier to grow in containers than their full-size counterparts. If this is your first time growing bell peppers at home, consider starting with a dwarf variety like ‘Cayenne Long Slim’ or ‘Mini Bells II’ (both shown above). These plants will give you great results while helping you get over any fear of gardening!

Intercropping with beans and corn

Here's a fun idea: plant beans and corn around your pepper plants. That way, when the peppers start to ripen in the late summer heat, you can harvest amidst a sea of green leaves that will provide shade for your peppers and help prevent pests from getting to them.

Peppers are warm-season crops—they need lots of sun and relatively warm temperatures (70˚F) to thrive—and beans and corn can help get them started in the springtime by providing nitrogen for their growth. While peppers don't necessarily require this nutrient for optimal growth, it definitely helps them out at the beginning!

Water appropriately

Bell peppers require regular watering, but the frequency depends on your soil type and the weather. Water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth, but be careful not to over-water. Excessively wet soil can lead to root rot, so keep an eye out for signs of this problem: plants with wilted leaves or stems are usually a sign that you're watering too much.

To water properly, keep your hose near the base of your bell pepper plants and water at a slow drip so that it sinks into the ground rather than running off immediately after hitting the surface of your garden bed or container. Using mulch around your bell peppers will help retain moisture in dry conditions; mulch also works as a protective layer between roots and soil pests like slugs and snails!

Harvest at the correct time

When to harvest peppers. Pepper plants are ready for harvesting when their fruit is bright green and glossy, with no blemishes or spots. If you want to pick them early, wait until they are about 2 inches in diameter; if you prefer to wait longer, keep on going until the peppers have reached 3 or 4 inches in diameter.

How to tell if your pepper is ripe

To check if your pepper is ripe and ready for harvest, pull it off the plant by hand and give it a gentle squeeze—if there's little give when you do so then it's still not ready! Once picked, store them at room temperature until you're ready to use them (you'll probably find yourself eating them within hours).

How do I harvest my bell peppers?

When harvesting bell peppers there really isn't much special equipment needed other than maybe some scissors or a knife if necessary: just cut off the top of each plant at ground level and let it dry out before bringing inside! You can also allow some seedlings remain under cover over winter - just remember not leave any fruits on those plants once they've ripened because they will start rotting quickly once picked!


By following these simple tips, you can grow your own bell peppers. This is a great way to save money and have fresh produce year round!