When it comes to growing peppers in your home vegetable garden, your choices are just about limitless. Not only do peppers come in a wide range of sizes, textures, varieties and flavors, but they come in a range from sweet, to extremely hot where they are measured on the Scoville scale.
As a side note, now that you are wondering, the Scoville scale is a measurement of the spicy heat of foods as reported in Scoville heat units (SHU). The scale name is attributed to Wilbur Scoville an American pharmacist who devised the scale when he was trying to measure just how hot chile peppers can be.
Whichever variety of peppers you choose for your home vegetable garden, you will want to make sure you are taking the necessary steps to increase your yields. While I won’t classify growing peppers as hard, a few tips though, will make the ease of growing your peppers go a long way.
As it goes with anything that you grow in your home garden, the soil is the foundation, and if that foundation is weak, you will not be growing much. Before you plant, make sure you enrich your soil with plenty of compost. Most soil in the country has less than 5% of available nutrients. Your peppers are going to need a lot more than that, and the best way to get those nutrient values up there is to mix in some well aged compost. If you do not have a compost pile, start one, and until your homemade compost is ready, you can pick up certified safe compost from a local garden center for a few bucks.
Bring the Heat
Peppers love growing in hot temperatures. So if you live in an area where hot weather does not set in until later in the year, you will want to utilize greenhouse and humidity dome techniques to “fool” your peppers into thinking they are growing in the hot outdoors. Once temperatures remain consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night, that is when you can move them outdoors. Just make sure you plant your peppers in an area that receives a full day’s worth of sun.
Groom Your Plants
When your pepper plants are small, many of them will produce flowers. You will want to pinch the flowers off so the plant can redirect its energy into growing larger as opposed to fruiting at this point. Pinching flowers off will not harm the pepper plant, and of course leaving them on doesn’t harm the pepper plant either, but the benefits of pinching them off, outweigh leaving them on.
Most peppers start off green (not all but most) and the longer that you leave the pepper on the plant, will result in the pepper either changing colors or increasing it’s sweetness or hotness in flavor. For these reasons, that is why you literally have unlimited options when it comes to peppers.
Follow these tips above and you will be well on your way to enjoying your best pepper harvest yet.