I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on when is the best time to pick peppers. At first I thought “isn’t it obvious?”, then I remembered something that happened at the grocery store a few years back. So I retract the thought, and here’s why.
Shopping for Peppers
One day David (hubby) and I were grocery shopping and were looking at the peppers. I was putting some green peppers in my cart, and was debating some red and some yellow peppers. Then David mentioned to get the red peppers, because they were a different variety from the green.
I looked at him funny and said, “The red and the yellow peppers are just the ripe version of the green peppers .” He hadn’t realized that the green ones were just not ripened, not a different kind altogether.
When to Pick Peppers
Peppers are great because you can pick them at any point of the growing process. Now I do like them to be pretty much fully grown (i.e. as large as I think they are going to get), but I pick them green, partially ripened and then fully ripe — it all depends on what’s for dinner! (And what kind of pepper, as you’ll read below.)
What’s also neat about peppers is that you can pick them green and they will ripen on the kitchen counter (or wherever you put your tomatoes to ripen). However, if I am picking them to ripen, I like to wait until they are just starting to turn color before I pluck ‘em from the plant.
Ocassionally, I do leave my peppers on the plant until ripe, but usually those are my non-bell-type peppers. For my bell peppers, I like to pick them earlier. The heat and humidity of where I live can sometimes let mold into the bell pepper’s interior, and when I cut open the pepper — yuck!
However, I don’t usually have that problem with other pepper types — banana, horn-shaped or hot. It’s just the bells that seem to want to mold on me. So I either pick them green or when they are just starting to ripen. That might not hold true for everyone, for for you folks in less humid climates, you’ll have to experiment.
Hmmm, I think I hear some peppers calling me from the vine! I’ll make like Peter Piper and pick some peppers. Catch you later!
Planting pepper seeds is pretty easy. Sure, all you need to do is put the pepper seed in soil, cover it and water it, but there are a few more steps along the way that can up the germination rate of your pepper seeds. Let’s take a quick look.
I can’t remember the last time I planted a pepper seed outdoors, directly into the soil. The germination rate is really poor that way, and seed-starting medium (“soil”) is a much better bet.
Go to your local garden center and locate some seed-starting soil. You can use straight sphagnum moss (finely chopped) or sphagnum and vermiculite combined, if you can’t find a ready-made seed-starting medium.
Do not use gaden soil directly; there are too many bacteria, spores and whatnot in it; fine for older transplants, not so great for seeds.
Containers for Planting Seeds
You’ll see in the two videos that I’ve used plain paper cups (“Dixie cups”) for my containers. Cheap and easy to find, you can poke holes in the bottom for drainage, and when it comes time for planting, the cup tears away from the soil very easily.
Planting Pepper Seeds Videos
Here are two videos I made on planting pepper seeds. The first one goes over supplies; the second is the actual technique. And after the second video, I’ll list where you can get some of the supplies online, if you can’t find them locally.
And here’s part 2 of how to plant pepper seeds.
Pepper Growing Supplies Online
First check your local garden center; depending on where you live, they may have most or all of what I used. If not, here are some places online where I have bought my supplies.
Earthworm Castings: Gardens Alive! and
Windowsill Greenhouse: and Amazon
Fish Fertilizer: Amazon and
You can probably find most of this at your local gardening center, but if you can’t (I’ve always had to order my earthworm castings online), you have some places you can check out.