Grow chili peppers in a garden or in containers for a spicy harvest.
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Gardeners who enjoy a little heat in their cuisine should make room for several chili pepper plants in their garden. Growing chili peppers is a simple task that will result in an abundant harvest of peppers for use in the kitchen. If you do not have garden space, grow chili pepper plants in containers instead. Find a sunny location, and grow your own chili peppers this season.
Fill peat pots three-quarters full with potting soil. In the soil in each pot, make two holes 1/4-inch wide and deep. Place one seed in each hole, and cover the seeds with 1/4-inch of soil. Spray the soil with water to moisten it.
Place the peat pots into the pan, and fill the pan with a 1 or 2 inches of water to keep the soil moist from the bottom up. Place a thermometer on top of the peat pots, and cover the peat pots with plastic wrap to keep them warm.
Place the pan with the covered peat pots under a grow light to create a warm atmosphere in which the seeds can germinate. Monitor the temperature, striving to maintain a temperature of approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Move the peat pots further away or closer to the grow light to adjust the temperature.
Watch for the plants to emerge within one to three weeks. When the seedlings emerge, position the grow light 12 inches above the seedlings. Keep it on for 16 hours out of every 24-hour period.
Thin the chili pepper seedlings to one plant per pot when the seedlings are approximately 2 inches high. Pinch off the seedling to remove it; pulling it may disturbing the roots of the other seedling.
Prepare a sunny planting area when all threat of frost has passed. Enrich the soil with at least 1 inch of compost and work this into the soil.
Prepare containers if you will be planting in containers. Fill the containers with rich potting soil.
Wait until the seedlings are at least 2 inches tall and have a second set of true leaves, then begin to harden them off. Set them outside for two hours each afternoon in a location where they are protected from strong sunshine and harsh winds.
Dig holes large enough to fit the peat pots. Space the pots approximately 12 inches apart. Place the peat pots into the prepared holes, and cover them completely with soil. Water generously.
Allow the chili pepper plants to dry out completely between watering. Water in the evening when the plants begin to wilt.
Fertilize the pepper plants with a general tomato fertilizer one or two times per month. Consult the package for the recommended amount based on the size of your plants.
Mulch around the chili pepper plants to conserve moisture and prevent weeds from growing. When weeds grow, pull them up carefully by hand.
Harvest chili peppers when the peppers are either green or red. Green peppers are hotter than red peppers. If you want to harvest green chili peppers, allow them to grow as large as possible. Pick them just as they start to turn red. Clip the peppers from the plant by cutting the stems where they connect to the main branch.