Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a popular vegetable grown for commercial purposes because most people purchase the vegetable to use it in dishes and salad dressing. Once the vegetable is ripe, it is found in shades of yellow, orange, green, purple, or red. At the same time, it comes in various shapes and sizes depending on the variety of bell pepper you planted.
Growing this plant from seeds can take a toll on you if you don’t have the patience to care for it. And in some cases, the seeds might not germinate because of a condition you missed. So, it’s necessary to ensure you follow the steps carefully.
Once seeds germinate, the plant grows for a long season of 60 to 90 days. Most gardeners prefer to start from starter pepper plants rather than grow from seeds. You can buy starter plants from your local nursery. This plant grows best in areas with full sun, well-drained and well-Aerated soil, and sandy loam soil. The temperature of the site should range from 21 to 29 degrees Celsius.
How to prepare bell peppers seeds for planting
If you choose to plant pepper from seeds, you can choose whether to buy from the store or make your seeds from an exciting plant in your garden. You can choose to buy if you don’t want the hassle of producing seeds.
However, if you choose to make seeds from an existing pepper plant, here are the steps to follow:
Select the Ideal Peppers
Once the pepper has been planted in the garden, it undergoes pollination, and while this is a good thing for the plant, it might not be the best when harvesting seeds. The best sources come from a plant with open-pollinated or heirloom seeds. These seeds can last up to 2 to 5 years if you want realistic germination rates. Seeds from them are capable of growing in the future.
Sometimes, you can choose a plant that has undergone cross-pollination, and once you use the seeds, the resulting plant will have character traits of both parents. That means the plant will be different from the one you harvested. So, ensure you choose carefully.
Harvest the seeds
Pick a fresh pepper and cut off the top. Use a spoon to scoop the pepper’s contents, including seeds. Separate the seeds from any substance, so you only have seeds. Spread them in a single layer and avoid bundling them together.
Dry the seeds
Once you spread the seeds in a single layer, place them in a warm place away from direct sunlight. Leave them for five to six days to ensure they dry out all the water. To make sure your seeds are dry, pick one of the seeds and snap it into half between your fingers. If the seed is dry, it will break/snap easily, but if it bends, it’s not dry enough.
Store the pepper seed
Storing depends on if you will use it in the future because it can last for 2 to 5 years if dried correctly. Put them in an airtight paper envelope to prevent moisture exposure, and store them in a dry, cool place.
Prepare nursery beds
You can use a nursery bed or a starting pot for this process. Both can work well. Fill the nursery bed with fresh soil.
Plant your seeds
When you are ready to plant the seeds, soak them in warm water for about three hours to soften them. The seeds can take about 4 to 6 weeks to germinate, while some seeds that grow fast can take 7 to 10 days.
Tips for successful germination
- Plant them in a warm indoor room, with temperatures that range from 75 degrees F to 80 degrees F.
- Provide the seeds with a light source, such as a grow light.
- Ensure you start planting the seeds before the frost season begins. About six to seven weeks before.
- Keep the soil moist. Water the soil daily, but don’t overwater.
- Thin the seedling so that each pot or hole has one healthy seedling.
Moving the plant from a nursery to the garden should be done when the frost season has passed. The best time to move the plant is when it’s at least two to three inches tall. Try to train your plant by hardening them before transplanting.
Hardening is done by continuously moving the plants outside for one hour on the first day and two hours on the second day until the plant can last for a full day. It ensures that your plant has a smooth transition from a controlled environment to a harsh outdoor environment.
Since the plant requires full sun to grow, ensure you place them in an area, they can get direct sunlight for 6 to 8 hours a day. If you are growing them in a pot, put them 6 inches deep.
How many bell peppers does a single plant produce?
If you have followed the correct procedure and have a healthy pepper plant, you will likely get at least 20 peppers in three months.
Is pepper plant healthy?
Yes, pepper is a healthy vegetable. It can offer you the following:
- It has vitamins
- It is high in antioxidants
- Source of hydration
- Low in calories
- Low in carbohydrates
No matter the color of the pepper, they all have the same nutrients and are a great source of vitamin C and beta-carotene.
Does the different colored pepper grow from different plants?
The short answer is No. The color difference in pepper occurs depending on the maturity date. If you let the mature plant stay longer on the plant, it will change color. The red and green pepper are from the same plant, however, the red pepper matured on the plant longer than the green one. The only advantage is that the longer it matures, the more its vitamin C content.