In My Garden: PeppersWednesday, November 04, 2015
Soil Type: Loamy
Water: Don't overwater, but check regularly
Plant Type: Vegetable
GROWING PEPPERS IN CONTAINERS
Depending on the type of pepper plant, it may be good to stake it. Be sure to place the stakes in the pot before adding the soil and before you plant it. Staking after it's been growing can hurt the roots. Fill the container halfway full with the potting soil. Position the plant close to the stake and fill in the soil around the plant. Pat down a little to hold it in place, and water it thoroughly. If the soil settles lower, add a little more until it's the appropriate depth in the pot. Make sure to plant the seedling the depth it was planted in its nursery pot.
Set your new pepper in a sunny spot with protection from the wind. Peppers need full sun, so try to give them at least 8 hours of a sun per day. Check the pot daily to make sure it is not over dry, and water as needed. Peppers do not like soggy soil, but they do need adequate water to grow properly. When fertilizing, water the pepper plant first, and then fertilize it after. This protects the plant from fertilizer burn. Harvest the mature peppers regularly to keep the plant producing.
HARVESTING PEPPERSPepper plants self-pollinate, so you don't need bees to get fruit, but having bees pollinate helps you get more peppers! If you are growing them in a pot with less access to pollinators, like an enclosed porch, you can actually pollinate them yourself. Give the blooms a shake each day, or rub a small brush or your finger inside each bloom, which will move the pollen to the back of the bloom.
To harvest ripe peppers, use kitchen shears or scissors to snip the stem. Pulling them off the plant can actually uproot the plant.
COMMON PESTS OR DISEASES OF PEPPERSThe common diseases or pests that attack peppers are aphids, flea beetles, cucumber mosaic virus, blossom end rot that appears as a sunken area that is softer and turns darker. Also, if temperatures are below 60F or above 90F pollination can be reduced. If you fertilize with too much nitrogen, it will reduce the amount of fruit that sets.
HANDLING HOT PEPPERSWhen handling hot peppers that have turned red, they are likely to be the hottest. Be very careful while handling them. Capsaicin, which is the oil from peppers that gives them their heat, is mostly concentrated in the veins, ribs and seeds. Be careful to not get the juice in your eyes or nose, and if that happens flush immediately with cold water. If your mouth is on fire, try eating yogurt or drinking milk to take away the burn. Also, blue Dawn dish soap can take it from under your nails. I learned this the hard way when handling serrano peppers. I got the oils under my nails and couldn't get it to wash off. I found out it was still there hours later by putting my contacts in with the oil on my fingertips. The only thing I could do was flush my eyes with eyedrops, and wait thirty minutes for them to water themselves clean. Blue Dawn was the only thing that got rid of the oil under my nails. Talk about a fun experience!