GROWING GREEN: Spice up for garden with these hot pepper growing tips

Opinion Jun 04, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

Hot peppers conjure up images of exotic climes but they grow well in our area if a few simple guidelines are followed.

If you are growing them from seed, start in late February or early March. Use a well-draining, nutrient-rich potting soil and keep them in a warm place. They grow slowly and may take two weeks to germinate.

To warm the soil before planting outside, use black plastic mulch or wait until the evening temperatures remain above 15C. If your soil is heavy and soggy, plant them in raised beds or pots. Like most of us, they like their feet warm and dry.

Kelp meal and rock phosphate added to the potting soil provide the necessary nutrients for fruit set. A handful of dolomite lime prevents calcium deficiency, one suspected cause of blossom-end rot. Another cause is uneven watering, so watch for dryness and water as needed.

If blossoms start dropping, it may be too hot. Try shading the peppers with a screen, mulch the soil to keep it cool, or move pots to a shady spot during sultry afternoons.

Avoid over-fertilizing. Too much nitrogen will spur leaf growth at the expense of fruit. Diluted seaweed emulsion every week or two or compost tea is all that is needed.

Growing Green is a regular feature written by the Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). Rita Bailey, the author of this report, is a member who gardens in downtown Hamilton, where she mixes vegetables, herbs and flowers in her kitchen garden.

GROWING GREEN: Spice up for garden with these hot pepper growing tips

Opinion Jun 04, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

Hot peppers conjure up images of exotic climes but they grow well in our area if a few simple guidelines are followed.

If you are growing them from seed, start in late February or early March. Use a well-draining, nutrient-rich potting soil and keep them in a warm place. They grow slowly and may take two weeks to germinate.

To warm the soil before planting outside, use black plastic mulch or wait until the evening temperatures remain above 15C. If your soil is heavy and soggy, plant them in raised beds or pots. Like most of us, they like their feet warm and dry.

Kelp meal and rock phosphate added to the potting soil provide the necessary nutrients for fruit set. A handful of dolomite lime prevents calcium deficiency, one suspected cause of blossom-end rot. Another cause is uneven watering, so watch for dryness and water as needed.

If blossoms start dropping, it may be too hot. Try shading the peppers with a screen, mulch the soil to keep it cool, or move pots to a shady spot during sultry afternoons.

Avoid over-fertilizing. Too much nitrogen will spur leaf growth at the expense of fruit. Diluted seaweed emulsion every week or two or compost tea is all that is needed.

Growing Green is a regular feature written by the Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). Rita Bailey, the author of this report, is a member who gardens in downtown Hamilton, where she mixes vegetables, herbs and flowers in her kitchen garden.

GROWING GREEN: Spice up for garden with these hot pepper growing tips

Opinion Jun 04, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

Hot peppers conjure up images of exotic climes but they grow well in our area if a few simple guidelines are followed.

If you are growing them from seed, start in late February or early March. Use a well-draining, nutrient-rich potting soil and keep them in a warm place. They grow slowly and may take two weeks to germinate.

To warm the soil before planting outside, use black plastic mulch or wait until the evening temperatures remain above 15C. If your soil is heavy and soggy, plant them in raised beds or pots. Like most of us, they like their feet warm and dry.

Kelp meal and rock phosphate added to the potting soil provide the necessary nutrients for fruit set. A handful of dolomite lime prevents calcium deficiency, one suspected cause of blossom-end rot. Another cause is uneven watering, so watch for dryness and water as needed.

If blossoms start dropping, it may be too hot. Try shading the peppers with a screen, mulch the soil to keep it cool, or move pots to a shady spot during sultry afternoons.

Avoid over-fertilizing. Too much nitrogen will spur leaf growth at the expense of fruit. Diluted seaweed emulsion every week or two or compost tea is all that is needed.

Growing Green is a regular feature written by the Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). Rita Bailey, the author of this report, is a member who gardens in downtown Hamilton, where she mixes vegetables, herbs and flowers in her kitchen garden.