When you're gardening for a family, you'll want to emphasize produce yield and ease of care. Pepper plants aren't known for their high yields, but putting effort into planning ahead of time will give you the best results possible. You can use tricks to get your peppers to produce more heavily and you'll have more vegetables to pick, eat or can. Peppers come in a wide range of choices; some families enjoy green and yellow bell peppers, while others appreciate the spicy variety of jalapenos or chiles.
Do your research. Choose pepper varieties from local nurseries or farms, or find ones that are well suited to your local climate. Cold areas will produce very different harvesting results for peppers than temperate or hot areas. Choose varieties you know will grow well in your planting zone.
Plan out your patch of peppers ahead of time. Write down how much room you have for your peppers, and how many plants you will need. Check spacing requirements for the pepper varieties you'll use, and take the time to plan how many peppers will fit in each row, and how many of each pepper you will plant. A dozen total pepper plants should be enough for most families.
Add compost to your pepper bed before planting. Turn over the plot well with a spade or tiller, mixing in a layer of compost 4 to 6 inches thick into the soil. Be sure you get at least a foot down so there is plenty of room for the plants' roots to grow.
Plant after frost danger and cool temperatures are past in your area. Temperatures in the 50s are too cold for tender pepper plants. Most varieties take between 60 to 80 days to mature, so you may have to gauge the time to plant peppers very carefully to get a good harvest. Plant a few varieties mixed together to vary your family's diet, and according to their tastes.
Maintain your peppers throughout the summer as they grow. Fertilize once at planting or transplanting, and once when the first peppers are set. Take care to give peppers enough water, because uneven watering or drought will mean small or withered peppers. Soaker hoses are helpful in giving a constant supply of water in dry climates. A 2-inch layer of mulch around the peppers also will help keep the soil moist and encourage good fruiting. Weed regularly with a hoe or by hand, especially when plants are young, but also after fruit is set, to keep down competition and pests.