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Articles about Vegetable Crops for the Garden

  Advantages of Container Vegetable Gardens
  Best Vegetable Crops for Containers
  Brandywine Tomatoes - Get the Most From This Heirloom Variety
  Choosing a Site For Your Home Vegetable Garden
  Container Vegetable Gardening Tips
  Container Vegetable Gardens
  Double Your Crops
  Getting Children Interested in Growing Vegetables
  Grow Your Own Salad
  Growing Tomatoes in Pots
  Growing Vegetable Plants Becomes More Than Just A Hobby
  How to Grow a Vegetable Garden
  Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening Ideas
  Indoor Vegetable Gardening How to Tips
  Learning About Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening
  List of vegetable crops by difficulty
  Mushroom Growing in Odd Unused Spaces
  Non Hybrid Seeds For Survival Gardening
  Organic Container Gardening - Simple and Easy Ways to Grow Vegetables and Flowers in Pots
  Organic Vegetable Cultivation Table
  Over Wintering Chilli Pepper Plants
  pH preferences of food crops
  Planning your Container Crops
  Planting Tomatoes Upside Down
  Potato Container Garden Tips
  Preparing a Vegetable Garden
  Review: Food4Wealth by Jonathan White
  Vegetable Container Garden Tips
  Vegetable Crops in alphabetical order by name
  Why I Recommend Vegetable Container Gardening
  Why Vegetable Container Gardening is Getting More Popular Today Than Ever
  How to grow organic Asparagus
  How to grow organic Aubergines
  How to grow organic Beetroot
  How to grow organic Broad beans
  How to grow organic Broccoli
  How to grow organic Brussels sprouts
  How to grow organic Cabbage
  How to grow organic Calabrese
  How to grow organic Carrot
  How to grow organic Cauliflower
  How to grow organic Celeriac
  How to grow organic Celery
  How to grow organic Celtuce
  How to grow organic Chinese broccoli
  How to grow organic Chinese cabbage
  How to grow organic Chicory
  How to grow organic Corn
  How to grow organic Cucumbers and Gherkins
  How to grow organic Endive
  How to grow organic Florence fennel
  How to grow organic French beans
  How to grow organic Garlic
  How to grow organic Globe artichokes
  How to grow organic Jerusalem artichokes
  How to grow organic Kale and borecole
  How to grow organic Kohl rabi
  How to grow organic Komatsuna
  How to grow organic Land cress
  How to grow organic Leaf beet
  How to grow organic Leeks
  How to grow organic Lettuce
  How to grow organic Mizuna
  How to grow organic Mustard greens
  How to grow organic New Zealand spinach
  How to grow organic Onions
  How to grow organic Parsnips and Hamburg Parsley
  How to grow organic Peas
  How to grow organic Peppers (hot and sweet)
  How to grow organic Potatoes
  How to grow organic Radishes
  How to grow organic Rocket
  How to grow organic Runner beans
  How to grow organic Salad onions
  How to grow organic Salsify, Scorzonera and Scolymus
  How to grow organic Seakale
  How to grow organic Shallots
  How to grow organic Spinach
  How to grow organic Squash
  How to grow organic Swede
  How to grow organic Texsel greens
  How to grow organic Tomatoes
  How to grow organic Turnips




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Organic Gardening:


How to grow organic Peppers (hot and sweet)


by

Peppers
An amazing variety of shapes, sizes and colours

Peppers (hot and sweet) (Bell pepper/Chilli pepper)

Capsicum annuum

Family: Solanaceae (Group 9)

Peppers are so versatile. You can stuff 'em, bake 'em, stick 'em in salads, ratatouille and curries... So growing organic peppers is a wonderful way to add interest to your kitchen. In the shops, you won't find anywhere near the variety you can grow yourself, thin and thick-walled, hot, sweet or hot and sweet, round, square, or long and thin. And the colours! Did you know that you can grow peppers that are purple, white and chocolate-coloured as well as plain old green, yellow and red?

Shape is not a good indicator of flavour, even though supermarket peppers are usually sweet bell types or long hot types. Of the bell peppers, the thin walled types mature earlier than the thick walled ones, and are therefore more suitable for Northern areas.

Capsicum plants average 50cm (18") tall by 40cm (15") spread, although dwarf cultivars are available, especially for growing in pots.

Recommended cultivars

Sweet, thin walled:Canapé F1, New Ace F1, Early Prolific
Sweet, thick walled:Bellboy F1, Luteus
Dwarf:Redskin
Chilli:Red Chili, Hungarian Wax (sweet and hot), Apache F1, Habañero (very hot), Thai Hot (prolific, hot)

Site/soil

Peppers have high light requirements and need warm conditions, greater warmth than required by tomatoes, but less than for aubergines. They grow best under glass, in polytunnels, or under cloches. They should be given a warm, sheltered position when grown outdoors.

Ideal pH is 6-6.5. Soil should have a high humus content and good water retention. Avoid freshly manured sites, or leafy growth will be increased at the expense of fruit. Apply a base dressing of fish, blood and bone (wear gloves) at 60gm/sq metre (2oz/square yard) 2 weeks before planting.

Cultivation

Sow indoors in mid March (for indoor crops) or early April (for outdoor crops) at 70ªF (21ªC), about ¼" deep. Prick out into pots or modules at the 3-leaf stage. Reduce temperature gradually until planting time. Transplant when first flowers show, at 10-12cm (4-5") high, indoor crops early-late May, according to region, outdoor crops early-late June. Harden off carefully before transplanting into warm soil. Space plants 40-50cm (15-18") each way, dwarf cultivars 30cm (12").

Plants normally grow first on a single stem, which then branches naturally when about 12cm (5") high into two, producing a crown or fruit bud at this point. If the plant is growing vigorously this can be left to develop into a fruit, which will help to balance excessive vegetative growth. If the plant is growing slowly, remove the crown to encourage the development of more sideshoots and make a sturdy plant. The aim is to develop strong plants which can sustain the weight and development of the fruits. If plants seem very weak and spindly, pinch out the growing points of the main shoot or shoots when the plants reach about 30-40cm (12-15").

Peppers do not normally need staking, but if it seems necessary, they can be tied to canes. Do not allow plants to dry out or become waterlogged, but water little and often, and mulch.

Once fruits start to swell, give a liquid feed of half-strength tomato fertiliser or comfrey liquid every two weeks, or use seaweed feed.

Harvest

Fruits are ready for picking when smooth and glossy, from about July indoors or August outside. Start picking when sweet peppers are tennis-ball sized to encourage the development of more fruits.

When frost seems imminent, you can pull plants up by their roots and hang them in a sunny porch or a frost-free shed. Chillies treated in this way will eventually shrivel and dry on the plant, and can then be picked off and stored in jars. Alternatively, if container-grown, move the pots into the house at the end of the season. Peppers are a perennial plant, so they will continue to grow if placed in a bright position.

Pests and diseases

Aphids, whitefly and red spider mite can cause problems on greenhouse crops. Treat aphids and whitefly with derris or fatty acid sprays. You can also plant deterrent plants, like French marigolds, nearby. Spider mite is usually found in very hot dry conditions, so keeping the greenhouse relatively humid will prevent them. Alternatively, if grown in containers, you can move them outdoors while the hot weather lasts, or you can use the predator, Phytoseiulus persimilis. If you decide to use predators, you neeed to introduce them to an enclosed area (close off all exits with fine net, such as net curtain) to prevent escape, and to bring them into the greenhouse after the pest has invaded, but before the infestation becomes too severe. Outdoor crops are relatively trouble free.



If you're interested in healthy food, you may also be interested in our sister site, The Health Site, Your Online Health Channel.


Article ©2004 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

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