I remember my aunt placing matches in the holes with the roots to correct this problem. It needs to be the paper matches, since the wooden ones will mold. This really works. It also makes hot peppers even hotter by raising the acid level of the dirt only in that area and not killing surrounding plants.
By Rosemarie from Corning, NY
If you've never made room in your garden for bell peppers, consider giving them a try. They're easy to grow, nearly pest and disease-free, and they produce a lot of yield in a small amount of space. You can either buy transplants locally, or start seeds yourself. Here are the basics of what you need to know to get started.
Bell peppers belong to the Solanaceae, or nightshade family of vegetables. Relatives include potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes. They are native to Central and South America, and depending on the variety, come in red, green, orange, yellow, and black. Red bell peppers are actually green peppers that have been allowed to color up on the vine.
When planting bell peppers, plan on 3 to 4 plants per person. Depending on the variety, peppers will reach maturity approximately 65 to 80 days from transplanting.
Sow seeds indoors: In most parts of the country, the growing season is too short to start seeds outdoors. Instead, sow seed indoors 7 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost. Plant 1/4 inch deep in a moist, soil-less mix and keep seeds warm (70 degrees F) until they germinate - in approximately 10 to 15 days. Move sprouts into full sunlight as soon as the first shoots appear. Seedlings can be moved to individual pots in 2 to 3 weeks, or as soon as the plants are large enough.
Transplanting: Bell peppers grow best at temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees F, so don't transplant seedlings until at least two weeks after the last spring frost. At temperatures above 80 or below 60 degrees, blossoms may drop without setting fruit. Avoid planting peppers where potatoes, eggplants, or tomatoes have been grown in the past 5 years, as all members of the nightshade family are prone to the same diseases.
Location: Full sun; well-drained soil.
Watering: Peppers will tolerate some drought, but perform best when they receive consistent moisture around their roots. Avoid watering plants from overhead - especially when they are blooming, as the water can wash away pollen and wet leaves encourages fungal and wilt infections.
Fertilizer: In well amended soil, peppers generally don't need any supplemental fertilizer. Pale leaves, however, may indicate that plants are suffering from a nutritional deficiency. In this case, spray weekly with a mixture of kelp and fish emulsion until they bloom.
Maintenance: Apply mulch to suppress weed growth, maintain even soil temperatures, and prevent soil-borne diseases from splashing up on fruits. Plants may need staking or caging as they grow to prevent stems from bending over and fruit from touching the ground. Peppers are not prone to diseases to speak of, but watch for wilt and fungus, and keep an eye out for cutworms and flea beetles.
The stems and branches of pepper plants are brittle and break easily - especially when bearing heavy fruit; so work carefully when harvesting. Cut the fruit from the bush using a small, sharp knife. Leaving about 1 inch of stem intact on each pepper will give them a longer storage life. Harvesting can take place at almost any stage of development.
If you want green peppers, pick them as soon as they are big enough for use. Leaving a few peppers on the plant may slow down production, but the peppers will taste much sweeter (and are more nutritious) if allowed to turn red on the vine. If your growing season is short, harvest your peppers as late as possible and keep them in a cool place to color up (check them often for rotting).
Use bell peppers raw or cooked. Cut them into strips, cubes, to thin slices and use them in salads or casseroles. Whole peppers stuffed with a meat, rice, or vegetables mixture also make a great summer entree. One of the most nutrient-dense foods in the garden, bell peppers contain high amounts of vitamin A and C, with the red peppers being higher in nutrients than the green.
By Ellen Brown
When are bell peppers ready to pick?
By ouida (WEE-DA)
You can pick them when they are green or wait until they turn red. They are supposed to be sweeter when red, but you have to leave them on the vine quite a while for that to happen, which means you will get less peppers unless you pick them when green.
I want to make sure the green peppers have grown as large as they are going to grow, so as soon as I see a patch of red on them, that is when I pick them.
I am looking for the best bell pepper growing tips. Mine just do not want to grow well. I have tried to grow sweet (bell) peppers for years. Most years I get none at all, this year I got about 6, all at once. Is this normal for this plant? I like the red and orange ones. The green ones give me indigestion, so the waiting for them to ripen is very difficult.
By Eileen from Elk Grove, CA
They love magnesium. When you plant your peppers, put some Epsom salts in the hole where they are planted. Epsom salts are full of magnesium. Also put a couple of teaspoons in a spray bottle and then fill with water. When the plants begin to bloom, shake the bottle and spray your blooms a few times a week. You should have beautiful big peppers.
My bell pepper plants don't ever seem to grow more than a foot tall and do not give me more than one puny pepper. I water it regularly. What am I doing wrong?
Bell peppers like it very warm day and night. Make sure that it is also getting full sun.
I am starting my first veggie garden. I would like tips on growing green, red, and yellow peppers.
Hardiness Zone: 8b
My girfriend swears by epsoms salt to grow her peppers nice and big. This year I am going to try it.
I would say start with a small amount like a teaspoon spread around the perimeter of the plant but not on it or too close to it.
Good Luck and hope you have a great pepper crop this year.
My plants were looking great and still do. I had 2 peppers, but both of them tuned brown and mushy on the bottom. I went ahead and threw them out.
Any ideas, they get regular watering daily and get full sun.
By Janice S
I have to agree with blossom end rot. Do NOT water them every day. That is way to much water for a pepper plant. Also add some calcium to your soil. IE: crushed egg shells will do nicely here, and is a cheap solution.
Pepper blossom end rot is caused simply by a calcium deficiency in the pepper plant. Calcium is needed by the plant to help form the cell walls of the pepper fruit. If the plant is lacking calcium or if the pepper fruit grow too fast for the plant to supply enough calcium, the bottom of the pepper begins to rot, because the cell walls are literally collapsing.
The calcium deficiency in the plant that causes pepper blossom end rot is commonly caused by one of the following:
A lack of calcium in the soil
Periods of drought followed by large amounts of water
In the long term, adding eggshells, small amounts of lime, gypsum or bone meal to the soil will help improve the levels of calcium and will help you avoid pepper blossom end rot in the future.
Why are my pepper plant leaves curling up? I always have a veggie garden every year and my bell pepper and hot pepper plant leaves always curl up. I think I over water. They are on a drip system though. It comes on for an hour twice a day, once at 7 am and once at 6 pm. What I've researched online it sounds like I might be over watering, but could I also may be under watering? Help please. I will attach a picture below.
By Juliekaylee from Oroville, CA
This sounds like stress. Curling leaves can happen if you set your pepper plants out before it's warm enough. Give them a chance to recover. And make sure the soil is moist enough a couple of knuckles down.
Does any one have a picture of what green bell peppers look like when they are growing? What does the plant look like?
Hardiness Zone: 9b
By Mickey M from Tucson, AZ
Hope this helps. GG Vi (09/24/2010)