Growing Sweet Peppers

This versatile veggie makes all the difference in many meals

Sweet peppers are tasty additions to dinner dishes, quick sandwiches, omelets and side salads. They provide big doses of vitamin C, too. Sweet peppers are easy to grow in most regions of the country and add color to your garden. Red peppers are actually just green peppers left to ripen longer on the vine. Popular green to red pepper varieties include 'Lady Bell', 'Lipstick', 'Bell Boy', and 'Gypsy'. 'Golden California Wonder' is a tasty yellow pepper.

Basic Ingredients for Successful Planting

Like most garden plants, sweet peppers prefer loamy soil that's rich in organic material and has a neutral pH. They also crave plenty of sun and regular watering. If you grow sweet peppers in containers (and they're a good veggie for that), your potting mix should contain ample amounts of organic material. Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose Container Mix is great for your container peppers. In your garden bed, work 3 inches of Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® All Purpose In-Ground Soil into the top 6 inches of your native soil before planting.

Planting Sweet Peppers

The easiest way to grow peppers is to start with strong, vigorous plants from Bonnie Plants®, so you'll already be well on your way to harvest. If you'd prefer to grow peppers from seed, start them inside 8-10 weeks before the last frost date in your area.

Plant 3 pepper seeds in a pot full of Miracle-Gro® Seed Starting Potting Mix. Water daily to keep soil moist but not soaked. When seedlings appear, remove the two weakest seedlings, leaving the strong to keep growing. Once the danger of frost has passed and your soil temperature is at least 65°F, transplant your peppers every 18-24 inches apart. Add a continuous-release plant food, such as Miracle-Gro® Performance Organic® Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules, and water thoroughly.

Water While They Grow

Peppers are thirsty plants. You should give them at least two inches of water every week. In warmer climate and during a long period of hot weather, you may have to water daily. Never let pepper plants dry out. Be sure to water at the base, not the leaves so roots get a drink and to help prevent disease.

Harvesting Your Sweet Peppers

You can let your peppers ripen on the vine, or pick them green and let them ripen indoors. Peppers get sweeter - and their Vitamin C content increases - the longer they're left on the plant. There's something deeply satisfying about strolling to your garden, picking a pepper or two, and adding them to the meal you're making next. Either way works, though, so enjoy them the way you want to.