Growing Green Bell Peppers in Zone 4

Bell Pepper

Bell Pepper

I just finished placing my order for pepper seeds. It seems early. But it is time. Pepper plants grow slow and in this part of the country I like to give them a long head start. With any kind of luck I may even see some peppers forming on the plants by the time they are moved out to the garden.
There are many varieties to chose from, but it seems like I always have my best luck with California Wonder. It is not a premium seed which keeps it low cost. It grows large enough for stuffing and sets a large number of peppers per plant. ( great for chopping up and freezing for over the winter )
There are also some varieties that are just huge. Like Big Bertha and Great Stuff-up to 5 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches long. I have had some success with these but found they do not set as heavy as California Wonder..
Start your plants in a seed starter tray. Two seeds per cell. Once they start to form their second leaves I cut off the weakest plant. In about 4 to 6 weeks if your plants are doing well you will want to transplant them into larger containers to give them room to grow and form good root development. I use round Peat Pots for this so when it is time I can plant them with out disturbing the plant.
About 2 weeks before moving your pepper plants into the garden start hardening them off. Move them outside into shady areas for short periods of time to get them broken in to the outside environment. Increasing their exposure time every couple of days. When it is time to plant try and pick a cloudy day.

In the garden place your plants 1 to 1 ½ feet apart. About a month into the season I side dress with ½ teaspoon of triple 10. Do not over fertilize.

Peppers are very easy to freeze-Just chop them up into zip lock freezer bags and freeze them and they are ready to use.

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