|Hungarian Wax Pepper (Capsicum annuum)|
Peppers do not tolerate frost and cold, so plant them after all chance of frost has past and the soil has warmed. Northern gardeners will need to start seeds indoors about 8 weeks before they plan to plant or purchase started plants from a garden center. Plant individual peppers in full sun about 18-24 inches apart and support them with a 2 foot cage or stake as large fruit will weigh down the plant. Maintain an equivalent to 1 inch of water/rain per week. Pepper fruit are susceptible to blossom end rot if they are exposed to extreme moisture fluctuations (especially deprivation). Mulching the plants after the soil is warm will help maintain an even moisture and reduce the potential for blossom end rot.
Peppers can be harvested green or ripe whether they are the sweet or hot varieties. Ripe fruit will easily break away from the plant, but it is best to use a garden clipper to snip the fruit's stem rather than chance damaging a plant. Handle the fruit with care as the capsicum that produces the heat can also be irritating to skin and mucus membranes (eyes, nose). Pepper plants will continue to flower and produce new fruit as long temperatures are moderately warm.
Happy Gardening! :)