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VEGETABLE GARDEN: SELECTED VEGETABLE CROPS [continued]

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  MG Manual Reference
Ch. 10, pp. 111 - 113

[Selected Crops: intro | asparagus | beans | broccoli | brussels sprouts | cabbage | cauliflower | sweet corn | cucumbers | eggplant | lettuce | melons | onions | peppers | potatoes | squash | tomatoes | herbs | herb use ]

Peppers
PEPPERS Top

ENVIRONMENTAL PREFERENCES
Light: Sunny.
Soil: Well-drained, loose soil with moderate organic matter.
Fertility: Medium-rich
pH: 5.5 to 6.5
Temp: Warn (70 to 75° F).
Moisture: Average.
CULTURE Top
Planting: Set out transplants after soil has thoroughly warmed in the spring. Start seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks prior to this date.
Spacing: 18 to 24 inches by 30 to 36 inches.
Fertilizer Needs: Medium feeder. Use starter solution for transplants. Sidedress cautiously after first fruit sets with 3 table- spoons 33-0-0 per 10-foot row; too much fertilizer may cause excessive vegetative growth.
CULTURAL PRACTICES Top

Although types of peppers belong in one of six groups, most are classified according to their degree of hot or mild flavor. The mild peppers include Bell, Banana, Pimiento and Sweet Cherry while the hot peppers include the Cayenne, Celestial, Large Cherry, and Tabasco.
Bell peppers, measuring 3" wide by 4" long, usually have 3-4 lobes and a blocky appearance. They are commonly harvested when green yet turn red or yellow when fully ripe. About 200 varieties are available. Banana peppers are long and tapering and harvested when yellow, orange or red. Another sweet pepper, Pimiento, has conical, 2-3" wide by 4" long, thick walled fruit. Most Pimientos are used when red and fully ripe. Cherry peppers vary in size and flavor. Usually they are harvested orange to deep red.
Slim, pointed, slightly twisted fruits characterize the hot Cayenne pepper group. These can be harvested either when green or red and include varieties such as Anaheim, Cayenne, Serrano and Jalapeno. Celestial peppers are cone shaped, 3/4 to 2 inches long, and very hot. They vary in color from yellow to red to purple making them an attractive plant to grow. Slender, 1" to 3", pointed Tabasco peppers taste extremely hot and include such varieties as Chili Piquin and Small Red Chili.
Peppers generally have a long growing season and suffer slow growth during cool periods. Therefore, after the soil has thoroughly warmed in the spring, set out 6-8 week old transplants to get a head start toward harvest. Practice good cultivation and provide adequate moisture. Mulching can help to conserve water and reduce weeds.
Hot peppers are usually allowed to fully ripen and change colors (except for Jalapenos) and have smaller, longer, thinner and more tapering fruits than sweet peppers. Yields are smaller for hot peppers.
COMMON PROBLEMSTop
Diseases: Tobacco mosaic virus, phytophthora wilt, verticillium wilt, curly top virus, bacterial spot, anthracnose.
Insects: Aphids, flea beetles, cutworms, thrips, whitefly.
Other Pests: Aphids, flea beetles, cutworms, thrips, whitefly.
Cultural: Blossom end rot from moisture irregularities or calcium deficiency; blossom drop from night temperatures rising above 75° F or excessive fruit set on entire crop.


HARVESTING AND STORAGE Top
Days to Maturity: 100 to 120 days from seed; 70 to 85 days from transplants.
Harvest: Harvest sweet peppers when they reach full size, while still in the green or yellow state. When allowed to mature on the plant, most varieties turn red, sweeten, and increase in vitamins A and C content. Cut instead of pulling to avoid breaking branches. Hot peppers are allowed to ripen and change color on the plant. Entire plants may be pulled and hung just before full frosts.
Approximate yields: 2 to 8 pounds per 10-foot row.
Amount to Raise: 3 to 10 pounds per person.
Storage: Medium-cool (45- 50 degrees F), moist (95% relative humidity) conditions for 2 to 3 weeks.
Preservation: Freeze; use in pickles and relishes or dried as spices.
 

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