The taste of fresh produce from a home garden cannot be rivaled by that of store-bought produce. Hot peppers and cantaloupe are excellent examples of home-grown produce that has superior flavor. Hot peppers tend to be spicier with a firmer, crisp texture. The stews and soups flavored with these peppers are sure to reflect this. Likewise, cantaloupe picked from your own garden can be chosen at its peak ripeness, leaving you to enjoy a sweeter, juicier fruit.
Choose a type of hot pepper based on its desired use. Choose chili or cayenne peppers for drying. Choose jalapeno peppers for canning or salsa. Choose habanero peppers for use in home cooking.
Begin the seeds indoors six to eight weeks prior to the last frost in your area. Plant the seeds in a seed starter kit by placing peat moss or potting soil into each compartment. Place one or two pepper seeds in each section. Water the seeds enough to wet the soil and keep it damp. Place the cover on the seed starter and place in a sunny window.
Plant the pepper plants outdoors when daytime temperatures reach above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Dig a hole about 2 inches deep and 2 inches wide with a garden trowel. Dig in an area that has at least eight hours of sunlight per day. Place the pepper plant into the hole and cover with dirt. Keep at least 18 inches between pepper plants and 2 feet between each row.
Prepare mounds of dirt 1 to 2 feet high and 3 feet in diameter by piling dirt up with a shovel. Level the dirt across the top by smoothing it with the back side of the shovel. Prepare these dirt mounds in an area that has full sunlight. Leave 4 to 5 feet of space between each mound and 3 to 4 feet of space between rows of mounds.
Plant 10 to 12 seeds in the top of the dirt mound. Plant these seeds in a circular pattern near the outside edge on top of the dirt mound. Space the seeds evenly apart. Set the seeds in the soil about 1 inch deep and cover with dirt.
Wrap a piece of black plastic around the mound in order to keep heat and moisture in and control weeds. Secure the plastic to the dirt mound by running at least two wooden stakes that are 6 to 8 inches long into the ground with a mallet until only the head of the stake is above ground.
Water the mound with a garden hose, making sure the water gets to the bottom of the dirt mound. Water the plants daily, especially during the hottest months of July and August. Spritz the underside of the leaves with a spray bottle once or twice a week; daily if leaves appear to be wilting.