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Peter Pepper

Growing Tips
Peter Pepper Growing Tips©

Peter Peppers are a moderately difficult crop to grow compared to


normal vegetable or floral crops. It is not recommended that
they be planted directly outdoors. Daytime outside temperatures
should be at least 65° F and nighttime temperatures should be at
least 55° F before transplanting planting the seedlings outside.

Even fresh seed will only show a 55 to 60 % germinate rate under


ideal germinating conditions. Seeds should be planted about ¼ “
deep. They will typically germinate in about 6 to 8 days. Peppers
prefer acid soil (pH 5.5 to 7.0) and a soil temperature of 75° F to
80° F.
Peter Peppers are a warm season crop with an optimum growing
temperature of about 80° F. Optimum temperature for
germination falls somewhere between 70° F to 95° F. If
germination soil temperature is too cool, then artificial warming
is required. The garden center has soil germination heaters
specifically for this purpose or heating pads may be used
following instructions on the INTERNET.
(http://www.rocoto.com/Growing%20General.html shows how to
do it.)

Remember to bring water or fertilizer solutions to the same


temperature as the soil to avoid setting-back the seedlings.

If trying to germinate Peter Peppers under cool soil conditions then


fungus infection may become a problem. Soil fungus appears as
a white cottony growth on the surface of the growing media and
seedling.

Watch out for soil fungus ! If germination soil is too cool and wet,
then soil fungus may appear. This fungus will kill the seedling.
Soil fungus is prevented by (1) not over watering, (2) warm soil
temperature,or (3) using sterilized growing media like peat
pellets.

Peter Peppers should be started indoors about 8 weeks before the


frost-free date in your area. Peter Peppers are usually hardened
off to prevent sun scald before setting out in the garden. About a
week before transplanting to the garden, take transplants
outside for an hour or so to introduce them to the real world.
This is known as hardening off. It gives the seedlings an idea
about what they will soon be facing in the garden. Gradually
increase outdoor time as the seedlings get used to the real world
environment. Seedlings should be 5 to 6 inches tall when set
out in the garden.

Peppers aren't especially fond of being transplanted. Seeds should


be started in a small sterile environment like a peat pellet. As
the roots start to grow out of the pellet, it should be transplanted
to a peat pot. Eventually the transplant will outgrow the peat pot
and can then be transferred into a 4” pot. Seedlings should be
about 5” or larger before transplanting.

It is a good idea to remove flowers from plants for about a month


after transplanting in order to allow good development of the
root system. Ultimately yields will be increased by this
technique.
Germination may be enhanced by soaking seeds overnight in tap
water before planting into warm sterile starting soil or peat
pellets. In some cases soaking overnight in a solution made of 1
tsp laundry bleach + 9 tsp water will protect against seed
transmitted diseases.
Solarization is a processing using plastic mulch to heat-up soil. In a
warm climate like Florida, clear plastic mulch will heat soil to the
point weed and soil born diseases are destroyed. Black plastic
mulch heats soil too but not to the extent clear plastic does. You
may use black plastic mulch a couple of weeks before
transplanting peppers to warm up the soil somewhat. Use
garden staples to hold the plastic in place. At planting time the
plastic may either be removed or “X” shaped cuts made to allow
transplanting. For further information about solarization see
http://ag.arizona.edu/gardening/news/articles/12.8.html.

Harvest time. When peppers reach their full size, they will be dark
green in color. They will remain green for about a month and
they will then begin to turn red. Peter peppers can be harvested
at any size but I prefer to wait until they reach maximum size
just before they begin to turn red.