Grow your own seedlings for a variety of peppers.
image by salazar78/sxc.hu
Nurseries and garden centers sell pepper plants each spring, making it easy for the home gardener to grow peppers quickly. They don't have a lot of choice in variety, however, and the price is certainly a lot higher than if you grew the plants yourself. Choose a mixture of different pepper seeds, and in a couple of months you can have a pepper crop like a rainbow.
Plant your pepper seeds about two months before your last frost date (see references below). Fill peat pots with potting soil, plant two seeds in each pot, and water thoroughly. Place pots on a tray and put in a sunny window.
Thin seedlings when they are about 3 inches tall, leaving the strongest one to grow. Thin by clipping or pinching off the seedling at soil level, not by pulling the plant, as pulling can disturb the roots of the remaining plant.
Prepare your garden soil after all danger of frost has passed. Dig down about 18 inches, removing rocks and roots. Mix in plenty of compost with the top six inches of soil. Smooth garden with a rake.
Plant pepper plants in freshly prepared soil, placing them about 18 inches apart. If you are going to put cages around your plants, this is the time to do it. Water plants thoroughly, and cover ground with mulch.
Water pepper plants regularly, not allowing the soil to dry out. Keep mulch in place to aid in moisture retention. Pick peppers when they are about hand sized, or when they change color if you have a multicolored variety. Keep picking through the season to extend the harvest.