Bell Pepper Growing Tips + Recipes Using Bell Peppers.
Bell peppers are usually so expensive in the grocery store that it’s one of those plants that you should try to grow yourself if you can. I’ve grown them in containers and in raised beds, and both methods have worked for me. Here’s How To Grow Bell Peppers and 10 Delicious Bell Pepper Recipes!
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I use bell peppers in the majority of my recipes, so I love it when I can use my own homegrown peppers instead of store-bought ones! This is an especially good way to save on groceries if you normally buy organic bell peppers. At my grocery store, red organic bell peppers cost more than $2 each, so my garden bell peppers let me keep feeding my family organic peppers without breaking the bank!
How To Grow Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are a long season plant, so they require patience from gardeners before anything is ready to harvest in late summer, especially if you want red, yellow, or orange peppers, since green bell peppers are actually immature fruit.
Thankfully though, if you love peppers and want to be able to harvest a large number, each plant is able to produce multiples. Plants do not require a lot of growing space, so you can pack a lot into a single bed, or as I said, grow them in pots.
Setting Up Your Garden
Bell peppers like loose, well-drained soil, so make sure that the soil in the garden bed or containers is not dense and heavy. Add nutrients to the soil with organic fertilizer or organic compost that is well mixed in. Because bell peppers are vigorous growers, they need to be in a garden space that is located in full sun for at least eight hours out of the day.
You can start bell peppers as seeds. You need to start your seeds 8-10 weeks before your last frost date. Then bring them out into the garden once all chance of frost has passed. Transplants are easier and can be added to a warm garden bed spaced approx. 10-18 inches apart (check your tags) or 1 per square if you’re doing Square Foot Gardening (here’s a free printable Square Foot Gardening planner).
Caring and Maintaining Peppers
Bell peppers do not require a lot of oversight before they begin to flower and bear fruit. Water thoroughly and regularly, but don’t overwater the plants. Pepper roots do not like to be wet all the time, and rotting will occur at the base of plants that are left to grow in soil that is constantly moist. So allow the soil to dry between watering.
Bell peppers are good companions to many other plants but do not plant with the brassica family (in other words, cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage). I like to plant peppers with tomatoes, basil, and eggplants as companions. Support your plants with cages or stakes because they’ll start to bend once they are heavy with fruit.
Once the peppers begin to flower, they will begin to bear fruit. There are always going to be peppers that are ready to begin growing or are in the middle of growth, so it is important that you carefully remove each fruit from the stem. Use sharp scissors or a knife to cut your peppers off the stem, avoiding damage to the plant. The longer you let a pepper mature, the sweeter it will taste.
If you have too many peppers to use at one time, they are easily frozen or dried.
10 Delicious Bell Pepper Recipes
Bell peppers will add lots of nutrients and flavor to all your favorite dishes! Here are some tips on cooking with bell peppers:
- There are many colors. Most of us reach for traditional green peppers, and they are pretty delicious. However, you can also use red, yellow, orange, or other colors too. Red bell peppers tend to be sweeter, so take that into consideration, depending on your recipe.
- Store peppers in the fridge. They should be kept cold except for when you are cooking or serving them; for best results, keep them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Or chop and keep them in a food storage container with a tight-fitting lid to use later.
- When choosing a pepper, pick ones that are brightly colored and firm. They should also have a shine to them and no wrinkles or soft spots.
- It’s fine to freeze peppers. Keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months! They can be stored whole, chopped, or sliced, depending on your preference. Add them to your favorite recipes, and enjoy!
- Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers from Damn Delicious
- Chicken Fajita Stuffed Bell Peppers from Cooking Classy
- Roasted Red Pepper Potato Soup from A Cookable Feast
- Marinated Red Bell Peppers from She Loves Biscotti
- Hawaiian Chicken with Bell Peppers from Spend with Pennies
- Shrimp and Swiss Chard Saute – Fashionable Foods from Fashionable Foods
- Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers from Well Plated
- Jalapeno Mac & Cheese Stuffed Peppers from Our Best Bites
- Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers from For The Love Of Cooking
- Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers from Momsdish
You might also be interested in: Vegetable Gardening 101 Series