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Selecting Peppers for Spring Gardens

Selecting Peppers for Spring Gardens

AUBURN, Ala. —It is time to start thinking about what peppers to grow in your spring garden since most gardeners start the seeding process indoors in late January and early February.

peppersGrowing your own pepper transplants allows you to take full advantage of the possibilities. Transplanting is the technique of planting seeds in locations with optimal conditions, then moving the plants to another location, usually outdoors.

Here are three things to consider when starting your garden for the ppring with transplants.

Which varieties do you select?

Selecting which peppers to grow is a personal decision, and there are many different types of peppers out there- some sweet and some spicy. One of the most common peppers is the jalapeño. It is known to be spicy, but removing the seeds and deveining it takes away some of the heat.

Bell peppers are a well-known sweet pepper. They are usually seen in red, green and yellow, but can also be found in purple, brown and orange.

Some varieties of peppers can be hard to find, but one can search both general seed catalogs and specialty catalogs for specific varieties and start growing them inside as transplants, according to Eric Schavey, a regional Extension agent in Home Grounds, Gardens, and Home Pests with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

How many varieties should you buy?

Schavey says this depends on what you are planning to do with the peppers and your family’s taste preferences. Different recipes need different varieties of peppers. For example, if you are making salsa you might want three to four varieties of hot and sweet peppers.

What is the time frame for growing peppers as transplants?

When you are growing your own transplants from seed, Schavey said you should start your seed at least 20 to 30 days before your anticipated planting date. Once planted inside, it takes 5 to 14 days for germinations.

It is important to get the seedlings acclimated to outdoor conditions, which can be done by simply carrying the seedlings outdoors for a few hours a day, starting one week prior to planting, according to Schavey. After doing this for a few days, leave them out overnight for one night to complete the hardening off process before adding your plants to the garden.

After choosing the right varieties of peppers, and taking the right steps for the transplant process, your plants will be ready to be introduced to your garden and grow into peppers.

To learn more about how to enhance your garden and landscape, check out Alabama Extension’s “Gardening in the South” series. You can find the series on iBooks.

Based on proven Master Gardener training and seasoned with university research, the “Gardening in the South” series of books is packed with information, tips and tricks to being a successful Southern gardener.

Have a gardening question? Call the Master Gardener Helpline. To reach the helpline, dial 1-877-252-GROW (4769).

Featured image by Narcis Parfenti/shutterstock.com

Seedling image by Anest/shutterstock.com

About Mary-Allison Thrasher