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Peppers

HOW TO PLANT PEPPERS:

Peppers are a good choice for backyard gardeners, there are so many varieties you can grow that you can’t find in the supermarket.  There are a few tricks for growing peppers properly and getting the most out of your plants — so keep reading!

SOIL PREPARATION:

One of biggest keys to success in organic gardening is the condition of the soil.  There needs to be adequate organic matter to hold moisture and nutrients.  And at the same time, the soil needs to be loose enough for good aeration and drainage, which will help promote strong root development. It is easy to grow peppers if your soil has the proper nutrients. People always assume their soil is average, but unless you have a soil test it is just a guess.  More often than not, it is necessary to amend the soil to achieve optimum pH balances, as well as the proper levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. Testing your soil is ideal; however, at a bare minimum, before planting anything, work in at least 2-4” of organic mulch and at least one-half inch of finished compost into your topsoil.  And if you suspect your soil is less than ideal, mix in 1-3 cups of MegaPepe, depending on your soil condition, to every 100 square feet that you are planting your peppers.  (For areas of your garden where you are planting other types of garden vegetables, use MegaVeggie instead. And for the soil around your tomatoes, use MegaMator). These 100% organic soil amendments will make up for a lot of deficiencies. Also, mulching with compost or straw will help keep the soil moist and also help to feed the plant and prevent weeds.  Don’t mulch over 3-4” because this might prevent oxygen from entering the soil and could cause root rot.

PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS:

There are three things most first-timers do wrong when planting peppers. They plant too far apart, they don’t give them enough nitrogen, and they don’t let the soil warm enough before they plant. Where we are in the White Mountains, we have to plant with walls-of-water. This does two things: blocks the wind and warms the soil. You really don’t save any time by planting too early because the plants aren’t going to grow, and it will make them more susceptible to disease. So if you’re not planting in walls-of-water, wait to plant until two weeks after your last frost date. The soil will be warm enough then.

If direct planting from seed: Plant seeds 1/2” deep in rich soil, then water with MegaSea seaweed solution. This will help germinate the seed and promote root growth.  Space 9-12” apart in rows, with 18-24” between rows. If planting in raised beds, plant 9” on center. This close distance will help the plants shade each other and keep the fruit from becoming sunburned.

If planting seedlings: If you choose to plant seedlings, start indoors 8-10 weeks before your last anticipated hard frost (then they’ll be ready for planting outdoors in about 10-14 weeks, which will leave enough time for your outdoor soil to warm up).  When planting outside, harden them off first.  This is done by placing the seedlings in direct sun for an hour, then placing in the shade.   Each following day increase the time in the sun by one hour; repeat this each day until they are in the sun for 6 to 8 hours, which will take a week or so. Make sure they don’t dry out.  

When planting, plant at the depth of your starts or a little deeper, and use a tablespoon of MegaStart or bone meal in the bottom each planting hole. It is best to root feed with MegaSea seaweed right after planting to prevent shock.  Seaweed is better for shock prevention than any other product on the market.

FERTILIZING/AMENDING:

After planting, continue with MegaSea once a week by spraying leaves, and MegaFish every two weeks through watering the soil around the base of your plants until harvest. I use a hose sprayer for fish, but just make sure you spray enough so that the roots of the plants are soaked.  If fish gets on the leaves, don’t worry, it won’t burn the leaves. Every 2 weeks, side dress with 2 tablespoons of MegaPepe around the base of the plants and water in.  Continue the seaweed once a week along with fish emulsion every two weeks.  Do not let the soil dry out; soil should be moist but not soggy.

Recommended Schedule for Fertilizing and Amending Soil:

1.  MegaStart or bone meal -- at planting
2.  MegaSea seaweed -- at planting and once a week until harvest
3.  MegaFish hydrolyzed fish -- every two weeks after planting until harvest
4.  MegaPepe -- every two weeks until harvest

SWEET CORN SECRET:

Make sure and give your pepper crop Mega Pepe every two weeks, because this organic amendment will insure proper nitrogen and give you crisp thick-walled peppers. This works on all varieties whether hot or sweet, and in fact, your hot peppers will be hotter and your sweet peppers sweeter.  If you do this, along with seaweed once a week and fish every two weeks you will have a great crop!