With 9,000 years of cultivation history behind them, it is no wonder that there are a myriad of peppers varieties available to the home gardener — in a multitude of colours. All pepper varieties can trace their origins back to a single wild specie native to Central and South America.
Culture: Start peppers indoors from mid-February to late March. Using a soilless growing mix, sow the seed 6 mm (¼”) deep. Keep the growing medium at a temperature of 21 C (70 F) to enhance germination. Grow the seedlings under bright light and temperatures of 16 – 21 C (60 – 70 F) to produce solid, stocky plants.
Transplant your peppers out after hardening off in late May to early June. Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil. Space the plants 30 – 45 cm (12 – 18″) apart in rows spaced 60 – 90 cm (24 – 36″) apart.
To help the plants establish, use a water-soluble plant starter fertilizer when transplanting. Keep the plants evenly watered through the season, control weeds, and avoid high nitrogen fertilizers. Staking is recommended with most varieties.
Do not be in a rush to harvest your peppers, as most varieties are at their peak taste and quality shortly after they turn colour. Remember that the number of days to maturity is measured from the date of transplanting.