You can easily start your pepper seeds in a small flat on your window sill!
- Soil Preparation: Peppers require a warm spot for the best results, preferably with a well drained, rich soil. During the winter, dig up your plot thoroughly (being careful not to bring clay or granite to the surface) and incorporate a good compost into your soil. Shortly before planting add a good source of fertilizer to the plot. If you lack ground space, you can easily grow excellent peppers in 2 gallon sized pots or grow bags, but remember to water them regularly. In addition, regular feeding with a good fertilizer will be necessary.
- Sowing & Planting: Sow the seeds into a standard sized propagator filled with a good seed starting mix or compost. Before you sow your seeds dampen the soil in your propagator and allow it to sit overnight. Sow two seeds in each cell of the propagator by placing the seed on top of the soil in the center of the cell. (When the seedlings sprout, cull the weaker seedling). Sprinkle a light cover of compost or seed starting mix over the seed. Cover the propagator with a cloak. Alternatively if only a few plants are required you may use a pot of any size and a home-made cloak. To make a home-made cloak take a small, clear-plastic bottle and cut off the top part of the bottle. Small soda bottles cut at the top of the label are ideal for this purpose. Place the cloak over the sown area. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, for the best results. Keep the newly sown seeds at around 60 to 70 degrees for the most rapid growth. When the seeds have sprouted and matured into seedlings that are 6 inches high, transplant the seedlings into your plot, 2 gallon pots or grow bags.
- Looking After the Plants: Mist the plants regularly to keep down on red spider mites and to encourage correct fruit setting. Some form of support for the plants are necessary, So attach the plants to a cane for the best results. Water the plants regularly and add a potassium rich food once the fruits begin to swell.
- Harvesting: Pick the first fruits when they are green, swollen and glossy. Harvest as required; a mature green pepper will turn red after about 3 weeks of storage. The redder (and smaller) a pepper is, the hotter it will be. Always harvest the fruit with a sharp knife or pruners to avoid damaging the plant.
- Storage: Peppers can be kept in a sealed container in the bottom of your refrigerator for up to two weeks. For longer storage they may be canned or frozen. If you wish to can your peppers, you are recommended to obtain a good reference book on the subject. If you chose to freeze your peppers, for the best results slice your peppers into quarters and simmer them on your stove in a pot of water for 5 minutes and sieve them through a strainer to rid them of water. Allow them to cool and then pack into a container and place them in your freezer. Frozen vegetables keep for approximately one year. Be sure to date your containers!