How to grow Peppers
When to plant peppers in South Africa.
The planting and growing season for peppers is August to December.
Where to get pepper seeds
You can either purchase seed from your local nursery but if you eat peppers regularly you can collect the seed from them . Cut them out of your pepper and dry them in a container on a window sill. Once dry they are ready to be planted.
Young pepper- still green in colour
Preparation of soil.
You can plant peppers in pots or in the ground. If you are planting them in the ground ensure that you have a nice sunny spot and are not planting them where peppers have grown recently.
Germinating the seeds.
Seeds should be spread out around the pot so that they are have space when they start shooting. It does not matter if they are too close because once they are large enough you can transplant them into the ground or into other pots where you can give them the space they need to grow. Depending on the variety of pepper you can space them between 20 and 30cm apart . The larger the variety the more space the plant requires.
Plants should get about 3cm of water per week and if it is very hot and dry add a layer of mulch around each plant. This will help to keep the roots damp and the soil cool. Don't allow the plants to dry out.
As the plants grow larger and start bearing fruit it is a good idea to stake them. This will stop the stems breaking under the load of fruit.
There is no exact science to harvesting your peppers. They can be harvested when they are green or purple or you can wait until they change colour to red, yellow or orange. The only rule here is not to pick the pepper by hand but to rather use a pair of pruning sheers and clip it off the plant. This will stop you damaging the plant and allow other fruit to mature on the same stalk.
Glasshouse red spider or two spotted mite:
To avoid these pests which thrive in hot , dry conditions spray your plants regularly with organic sprays based on soft soaps such as dishwashing liquid, plant oils or extracts.
Greenfly colonies form on the tips and soft shoots of pepper plants. They damage the plant by sucking the sap out of it and then excreting a sticky honeydew which encourages black sooty moulds to form.
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