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How to Fertilize Pepper Plants

bell pepperIf you are serious about the quality of your garden’s produce, you know that fertilizing properly is paramount to your success. It isn’t difficult, as long as you understand some basic principles.  Pepper plants, in particular, will respond well to a little extra attention at the beginning of their growth stages. And like most other garden vegetables, they will do a happy dance with some high quality organic compost mixed into the soil.

Pepper plants require very little special care, but adding some high nitrogen fertilizer, such as fish emulsion, at planting time will be helpful in getting the plants established.  Once the plants set blossoms, be sure to switch to a 4-8-8 fertilizer. Pinch off the first flower sets until the plants reach mature size, ensuring the plants are big enough to support the growing peppers.

Be sure to not plant seeds or set young plants out until the last chance of frost has passed. All types of peppers like the weather hot, so keep them indoors or in a cold frame until the time is right.  Also, make sure to provide a full-sun location for growing all varieties of peppers.

If you have grass clippings from an untreated lawn, these not only make a good mulch around the plants but the slow breakdown of the clippings will provide extra nutrients to the soil.  This is also a wonderful way to maintain control over pesky weeds and to keep moisture in the soil around your tomatoes and other garden plants.

Pepper plants are popular in home gardens because you get a lot of bang for your buck.  The plants have a compact and neat upright growth habit, and they take up very little space for the amount of fruits they bear.  Peppers are available in nearly every color and size, and from super sweet to fiery HOT!  There is even a scale, called the Scoville Scale, to classify the heat intensity of different varieties of hot peppers.

Peppers are versatile in the kitchen—served on raw veggie trays, sliced in fresh salads, stir-fried, or cooked into nearly every imaginable dish.  Sauteed along with onions, bell peppers are requisite ingredients in fajitas, Western omelettes, and sloppy Joes.  Pico de gallo and salsa verde would be nothing without jalapeno peppers.  And the beautiful part of peppers is that they’re one of the easiest plants to grow in a patio container or directly in the ground.

Stuffed bell peppers are great with ground beef, cheese, or chopped mixed vegetables combined with bread crumbs. Marinated peppers in vinegar, salt, sugar and water are a delicious wintertime appetizer.  And, roasted peppers fresh off the grill are among summer’s best offerings.

3 Responses to “How to Fertilize Pepper Plants”

  1. walter says:

    i have found that #1 teaspoon of ebonson salts every other week will help to green up the plants with a teaspoon of mild fertilizer one week later, will help give you a bumper crop of peppers–tomatoes–egg plants, which are all in the [night shade family]

  2. mike says:

    Hello, what is the best liquid or powder fertilizer for my hot pepper plants.

  3. jstutzman says:

    Mike, we have found Neptune’s Harvest Fish and Seaweed to be the best for hot peppers. Here is more info, http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/ProductCart/pc/Neptune-s-Harvest-Fish-and-Seaweed-Blend-Fish-Emulsion-Plant-Food-c27.htm

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