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Discover Sweet Peppers

Here’s the chance for you to discover some of the basic facts about Sweet Peppers as well as some essential growing tips. Use these to decide whether you want to grow the vegetable, whether you are able to and what you need to do or look out for in order to grow a bountiful crop!

Sweet Peppers Fact Sheet
Sweet Peppers
Other names: Capsicum annuum
Appearance/taste: Bell-shaped and green in colour when immature but changes to red, yellow, orange or purple when ripe; tastes succulent with sweetness varying according to colour
Popular varieties: Gourmet AGM & Gypsy AGM
Interesting fact: The name “pepper” was given by the famous explorer Christopher Columbus who brought the vegetable to Europe
Nutritional value: Vitamin A and C; Antioxidants (vitamin E)
When to grow: Seed into pots in late winter to early spring; transfer to larger pots as the roots grow and then into tubs or growbags; plant out in early summer into the ground when late spring frosts have passed
Likes: Sunny site, shelter and high temperatures achieved by a polytunnel or large protective frame; needs a well drained and moisture retentive soil; well rotted organic matter dug into ground before planting; general feed fertiliser when growing; fleece to keep plants warm and protected from pests
Dislikes: Cool conditions and wet soil; humid air in greenhouses; red spidermite; aphids
Watch out for: Lack of air in greenhouses where high humidity leads to rot and promotes activity from pests
Harvest time: Mid to late summer; pick when immature or leave to change colour that will affect their flavour
Cooking tips: Crisp and refreshing when ate raw on its own or in salads; can be roasted and stuffed; used to add flavour in sauces, stews, relishes and casseroles.
Essential Growing Tips for Sweet Peppers
> Choose your seeds with care. There are different types - sweet peppers are large fruits. Chilli peppers are smaller and much hotter. Sweet peppers can be picked when they are green or they can be left to turn red.
> Peppers are easy to grow, especially in pots. They need a sunny site. If you are using grow bags push them against a sunny wall to provide extra warmth.
> The stems will need supporting from canes or wires. Growing tips do not have to be pinched out like cordon tomatoes.
> Seed must be sown indoors using pots or trays. In late winter, sow the seed about 1-2cm (0.5”-1”) deep, and cover lightly with soil. They will have to be left in a warm spot where the temperature reaches around
70°F, 21°C.
> When the seedlings appear they can be left to grow in a temperature of between 12-15°C, 55-60°F. The seedlings should be separated into individual pots when they are about 5cm (2”) high. Gradually lower the temperature around the plants, getting them used to outdoor temperatures. They can be planted in a permanent position in the vegetable plot when the first flowers appear.
> Alternatively, keep moving them into increasingly larger pots. Do not put more than three plants in a grow bag. Fruits can be picked in late summer and through into the autumn.
> Plants need to be kept supplied with water and fed regularly if growing in pots. When the plants are about 38cm high, gently take off the growing tips of each plant. This will encourage it to stay a manageable size, and increase its production of fruit.

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