More than likely, you think of spicy salsa or other Mexican-style dishes, when someone mentions chili peppers. The chili pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a member of the bell pepper family and has several varieties to choose from, including jalepeno, poblano, ancho and Anaheim chili peppers. Chili peppers require a long growing season and warm conditions to produce an abundant crop. Growing your own chili peppers in the garden takes minimal care, so even a novice gardener can expect good results and lots of lip-smacking, hot peppers.
Select a growing location that will receive full sun all day because chili peppers need lots of sunlight and warmth. Wait to plant chili peppers outside until the weather has warmed up to at least 70 degrees F during the day and does not drop below 60 degrees F at night.
Prepare the soil by shoveling or tilling to loosen and remove large clods. Amend the soil with compost to make it well-draining and to add nutrients to the soil.
Dig holes that are twice as big as the chili pepper's root ball and space plants 1 foot apart. Place the plants into the holes, fill with soil and tamp down firmly around the base of the plant with your hands.
Water chili peppers using a soaker hose so the soil is wet down to a depth of 6 inches. Keep the soil uniformly moist and let dry out down to 2 inches deep before watering again. If the plant begins to wilt, it is also time to water.
Place mulch around the plants to help the soil retain moisture to help conserve water and to also control weeds. Use shredded bark or compost material.
Fertilize the chili peppers about two weeks after planting. Use a complete food that has a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in it. A tomato food works well for chili pepper plants. Add a second application once the plant begins to bloom and again when fruit appears.