Banana peppers are a usually sweet pepper that is well-suited to both cooked and uncooked dishes. Harvested when it's about 3 inches long, the pepper gets its name from its bright yellow color and slightly curved shape. Like other pepper varieties, banana peppers require warm soil in order to germinate. Starting the seeds inside and later transplanting them out to the garden is necessary in all but the warmest areas of the country. Banana peppers require minimal maintenance once in the garden.
Fill 3-inch seed starting pots with potting mix. Use pots that have drainage holes in the bottom to prevent soggy soil, which may cause the seeds to rot.
Sow two pepper seeds per pot, planting them 1/4 inch deep in the soil. Mist the soil with water until it is evenly moist throughout.
Cover the pots with a plastic bag, which helps preserve soil moisture during germination. Place the pots in a warm room that is at least 70 degrees F to germinate. Alternately, put the pots on top of a seedling germination mat that has the temperature set to 70 F.
Remove the plastic wrap once seeds have germinated, approximately 14 days after planting. Set the banana peppers in a sunny window in a 70 to 80 F room. Alternately, place them under grow lights for 14 hour a day, placing the grow lights so the bulbs sit 6 inches above the top of the seedlings. Water as needed to keep the soil moist.
Transplant the banana peppers to the garden bed when soil temperatures are at least 60 F and there is no more danger of frost. Choose a well-drained garden bed that receives full sunlight.
Dig planting holes as deep as the seedling pot and twice as wide. Plant peppers in these holes at the same depth they are planted in their seedling pots. Space banana peppers 2 feet apart in rows, spacing the rows 3 feet apart.
Water the pepper plants once a week, providing approximately 2 inches of water at each irrigation. Place a 2-inch layer of mulch over the bed to help preserve soil moisture and prevent weeds.
Fertilize the banana peppers once fruit begins to form on the plants. Work a 12-12-12 analysis fertilizer into the soil 6 inches from the base of each plant, following label instructions for exact application amounts.
Harvest the banana peppers when they are 2 to 3 inches long, bright yellow in color, and when the skin is firm. Clip the pepper stem off the plant with garden shears when harvesting, as this prevents damage to the rest of the plant.