When buying seedlings look for plants that are stalky, not tall and slim. It is best to buy seedling before flowers and fruits appear as this will take away from the energy they need to grow roots once transplanted. Just like tomatoes pepper plants can be planted as far in the ground as their first set of leaves.
Starting Plants from Seeds:
You can start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. I prefer to start them even earlier. As long as you have the room to give them large enough pots for their roots as they grow. When they are about 6-8 inches tall each pepper plant should be in their own pot. When planting outside it really depends on the type of pepper you’re planting to determine the space they will need but to be safe about 3 ft. apart. Plant them deep into the ground to the first set of leaves; this will help keep the pepper stable.
Harden off peppers once weather temperature has warmed up and stays above 10 degrees Celsius. Slowing place pepper plants in full sun on warm sunny days about 2 hours every day, slowly increase the the time by about 1 hour every week. Make sure to bring peppers in a night if the weather is dropping below 10 degrees Celsius.
Keep watering thoroughly, some people like to stop watering hot peppers once they start setting fruits to make them even hotter! Peppers enjoy a steady supply of water so try to avoid letting the soil dry out for too long, unless you want to make your hot peppers hotter. Peppers need full sun.
+Tomatoes +Marigolds, nastriums
It takes peppers between 60-80 days from transplant, depending on pepper type and variety.
Harvest peppers as soon as they are a usable size. If using bell peppers allow them to fully ripen to yellow, orange, or red. This may not be possible in shorter season areas. But do your best. Cut them off with pruning shears (or sharp scissors) leaving part of the stem attached to the fruit. Keep them in a cool place (like the fridge). If frost threatens you can dig up the entire plant and hang it upside down in a dark place. The peppers will continue to ripen. It’s best to use gloves when handling hot peppers and avoid eye contact as they may burn the skin and eyes.
Peppers store fairly well when stored in the fridge. Sweet peppers can be chopped in half, sliced or diced and frozen for at least 3 months. Hot peppers can be frozen for at least 10 months. Warning peppers will lose their crispiness once frozen.
Peppers can also be pickled, made into salsa, added to sauces, dried. Hot pepper seeds can be used as a spice in flavoring cuisines.
Use a garden cover to extend the growing season of your peppers.
Try growing hot peppers varieties indoors over winter in a sunny windowsill.