Man does my husband ever love hot peppers. There are so many ways you can preserve excess hot peppers from the garden to enjoy later!

How to Grow Hot Peppers and Sweet Peppers

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You can learn how to grow hot peppers and sweet peppers in your garden to add nutrition and flavor to your dishes. They are pretty, fun, and yummy. You just need a few things for success. And check out this month by month garden planning guide to help you know when to plant!

hot peppers growing on a plant in the garden

Here’s a link to a great vegetable garden planner you can print right out and use at home! So cute!

Sweet peppers or bell peppers hurt my stomach and Mr. Kent doesn’t like them. They aren’t a real hit with the kids either, so we don’t grow them. We use our garden space to grow hot peppers which Mr. Kent and many of the daycare parents LOVE. Recipes like these Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits are a big hit!

Planting hot peppers

I like growing them because there are so many different kinds and it’s interesting. I love how pretty sweet peppers and hot peppers are on the plant.

Sweet and hot peppers are in the nightshade family. You don’t want to grow them with your other nightshades, so plant them far away from tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. Both sweet and hot peppers are full of great nutrition and can be added to a variety of dishes. They are also very colorful so they make your dishes look great.

Ornamental peppers are edible, they won’t hurt you to eat them. But they are grown for their beauty and colorful look, not for taste. They may be too hot to enjoy. And they don’t have a lot of flavor for you to enjoy. 

Hot peppers and sweet peppers, like tomatoes, will grow more roots if you plant them deeply in the ground. Bury half of your plant in the soil for a sturdier plant that is less likely to blow over in the wind.

Hot peppers and sweet peppers, like tomatoes, like very warm temperatures, so don’t be tempted to plant them too early and try to cover them every frost. If you wait until a couple of weeks after your last frost date, they will far outperform the plant that was planted earlier. They don’t appreciate the cool nights of spring.

Our last frost date in Northeast Oklahoma is April 15, so I wait until May 1 to put out our tomato and pepper plants.

How to grow peppers

When your plants get well established in the garden, you can prune up to half of the growth off and your plant will produce much more vigorously. If you don’t want to go that hardcore, you need to at least pinch off all the flowers from the plant for the first few weeks. This will help the plant put its energy into growing bigger and stronger and that will give you far more hot peppers and sweet peppers overall.

Do you plant seeds in the ground or plants? In Oklahoma, it’s nearly impossible to germinate pepper seeds outside because of the fluctuating temperatures. Once the temperatures remain steady enough to germinate the seeds, it’s getting too hot for them to germinate. Our spring is so short, we have to sprout our seeds inside.

I recommend everyone start with seedlings for hot peppers and sweet peppers and forgo seeds altogether. You are welcome to try your luck at growing your own seedlings under a grow light, but I don’t’ have the skill or patience for it. We plant everything else from seed but buy our sweet and hot pepper plants and tomato plants.

Growing sweet peppers

Your pepper plants should be spaced 12-20 inches apart in the garden. They are a great choice if you have a small space to garden in. They grow great with basil, chives, lettuce and carrots. There are other plants peppers like, but these are great for natural pest control because they repel what likes to eat peppers.

For bigger peppers and a bigger harvest, you need plenty of sun. Don’t try to grow your hot or sweet peppers in partial sun. They love sun and they love heat.

Sweet and hot peppers also like consistent watering. Just water once a week and water deeply. Click here to see how to water your garden. A thick layer of mulch around established pepper plants will help you keep the moisture consistent as well.

Peppers like a good fertilizer so use lots of compost or some organic fertilizer to help them produce. Once they begin to set flowers, don’t use too much nitrogen-heavy fertilizer because they will produce lots of green matter, but not as many flowers that turn into fruit.

Peppers generally do not need staking.

Peppers can be harvested at any stage. You can eat them as small or as large as you like, they are tasty any time. Peppers will begin green and as they mature, they will usually turn red or another maturity color.

Green bell peppers at the grocery store are immature fruit that turns red, orange, or yellow later. The riper they are the sweeter they are. Green bell peppers are generally more bitter.

Hot peppers get hotter as they mature. A green jalapeno is much milder than a red one. Hot peppers and bell peppers come in so many wonderful shades and colors. It’s fun to try many different ones. Harvest peppers when you need them or when they taste the way you like. There’s no right time.

For ideas on how to use excess hot peppers, click here. And here are some ideas for excess New Mexican chilies too. And even more recipes for hot peppers here.

Enjoy this gardening season with your pepper plants!

How to grow:

And you can grow other spices at home too!

Hot peppers growing in the garden.

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