Peppers are a warm-season plant that prefers a daytime growing temperature of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures above 90 will cause the plants to drop their blooms and not produce fruit. Peppers should not be grown in Texas during the hot summer months when it's too hot and the rainfall is low. The plants should be protected from the Texas heat and winds to prevent plant damage and loss of fruit buds.
Purchase starter plants just prior to planting in spring or sow seeds indoors approximately eight to 10 weeks prior to the outdoor planting date. Sow the seeds in a tray of seed starting medium at a depth of 1/4 inch. Place the seed tray in a warm location and keep the soil moist for germination.
Plant pepper plants outdoors once the daytime temperatures have reached 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the soil temperature is 50 degrees. Space the pepper plants 2 feet apart in rows that are 2 feet apart.
Apply a time-release fertilizer for vegetables into the soil at the time of planting. This will release nutrients to the plants throughout the growing season.
Cover the soil around the plants with black plastic sheeting. The sheeting will warm the soil, retain soil moisture and prevent weed growth around the plants.
Water the pepper plants regularly to keep the soil moist. Increase the watering frequency once the temperatures become hot and dry to prevent the plants from wilting.
Monitor the pepper plants for insect damage caused by aphids or thrips. These insects will cluster on the underside of the leaves. An infested plant will show the signs of yellowing and curled leaves. Spray infected plants with water to remove the insects and apply an insecticidal soap solution to prevent continued infestation.
Harvest peppers once they reach a desired maturity. Mature peppers will easily break off the branch; however they should be cut to prevent damaging the plant stem or pulling the plant out of the ground.
Things You Will Need
- Pepper plants
- Pepper seeds
- Seed starting medium
- Seed starting tray
- Time-release vegetable fertilizer
- Black plastic garden sheeting
- Garden hose
- Insecticidal soap
- Sharp knife
- Sweet peppers develop a sweeter taste as they mature on the plant. Hot peppers develop more heat as they mature on the plant.
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