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Heirloom California Wonder Pepper. Fresh Bell Pepper are a must for the veggie gardener!  Ideal for salads, stir fries, pickling, salsas, etc…use fresh or freeze for the winter month.  One of our favorite varieties is the Heirloom California Wonder Pepper.  We have compiled a few tips and keys we have learned over the years in our gardening experience!  We hope you find it helpful!


GARDENING CARE:


LIGHT: Full Sun.  If you are growing in an apartment balcony, give it the most sun you can offer it.  At least 6 + hours is preferable)


SOIL: Use moderate soil that is not overly rich in nitrogen as to much fertilizer will cause lots of leaves and less fruit in pepper plants!  Well drained loam or sandy loam is good.  For heavy clay soil, add more organic matter!   If ground planting, raised beds are great for peppers! Later in the season, the pepper plants may need a little fertilizer to keep them bearing until fall.)


One of the main keys to growing peppers is: Lime.  Lime is a must for peppers even as it is for tomatoes.  If you can get what is called “Burnt Lime” which is a powdered version of limestone, you really have an advantage.  This is so because Peppers are very dependant on calcium to be a healthy plant, to produce a harvest, and to resist disease.  Lime is a natural source of calcium.  We usually put a small shovelful (or a couple hand-shovel fulls) of lime)  Lime may be purchased at places like Tractor Supply Co.  Farmer’s Co-op, Lowes, Home Depot, and gardening centers.  Very important key as Tennessee soil is generally deficient in calcium.  


Finally, try to select a planting site where you haven’t grown tomatoes, eggplant, or potatoes in awhile. These vegetable plants share many of the same soil and leaf diseases. If you are using a pot, just wash it if you previously grew tomatoes in it.  Give yourself an advantage.


WATER: Moderate need.  With peppers, they do not like their roots to sit in water (thus drainage is important)  Allow dirt to dry between waterings. Direct your hose to the base of the plant; AVOID water on the leaves!!  Morning is the best time to give your plant a drink so that the leaves can fully dry.


GROUND PLANTING: Yes (Highly recommended to mulch the base of the pepper so that mud and fertilizer do not splash on the leaves. Plus, mulching allows you a longer period before having to re-water.


POTTED: Yes (Again, mulching is helpful, see above)  


COMPANION PLANTS: Basil, Parsley, French Marigolds



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