How to Plant Grow and Harvest Bell Peppers

The botanical name for bell peppers is Capsicum annuum. It is a vegetable that requires full sun, neutral, loamy soil. The hardiness zones are 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11. Bell peppers are pest resistant, have different shapes, sizes and flavor. Common flavor include sweet, hot, spicy.

Varieties
Two popular varieties are the yellow colored Golden California Wonder and Lady Bell. Others are the Lipstick, Bell Boy and Gypsy.
• Golden California Wonder
• Lady Bell
• Lipstick
• Bell Boy
• Gypsy

Pests and Diseases
A sunken fruit with dark color is an indication of disease. Common pests and diseases are Blossom-End, Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Flea Beetles and Aphids.
• Blossom-End
• Cucumber Mosaic Virus
• Flea Beetles
• Aphids
Planting
Ideal temperature for seed germination is 70F. Start seeds indoors 9 weeks before last spring frost. Seed four in pot and remove weak seedlings.
Plant the seedlings together for better protection and greater yield. Harden the plant 1 to 2 week before transplanting. Prepare your garden soil 7 days before transplanting by adding aged compost or fertilizer.
Transplant seedlings and keep paired plants together. Then space each pair 20 inches apart in soil between 65F to 70F. Warm soil with plastic cover and introduce sulphur.

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Care
Avoid soggy or water logged soil and use plastic covering or mulch to maintain soil moisture. Plant in well-drained soil, weed carefully, prove support for the plant and fertilize after first fruit. Spray the plants with Epsom salts solution, water regularly and avoid direct sun.
Harvesting and Storage
Fully mature peppers contain more vitamin C and have sweet taste. To harvest cut the pepper off the plant. Make sure the knife is clean and sharp to avoid damage to the plant.
Place in plastic bags and refrigerate. Bell peppers under refrigeration can last 10 days. Other ways to preserve them include drying in oven. It is better to remove the seeds and cut into strips before drying.

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