Green peppers are often referred to as sweet or bell peppers and come in many varieties. Pepper plants originated in tropical areas of the world where they grow as perennials. However, these tender warm-season vegetables are usually planted annually in summer vegetable gardens. Most pepper plants can take from 60 to 95 days from sowing to harvest, but you may not know that green peppers are actually not fully mature.
Most gardeners either start green peppers from seeds indoors seven to 10 weeks ahead of the proposed planting date or purchase green pepper transplants in the spring because of the temperatures required for growing these tender plants. The best temperature for growing peppers is no more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and not less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. You must wait until the soil has warmed in the spring and there is no more chance of frost to plant peppers outside.
Soil and Light Requirements
Providing the ideal growing environment for the green pepper plants to develop and begin producing fruits starts with the planting location. Pepper plants prefer well-drained, moderately rich soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. If possible, test your soil and alter it accordingly depending on the results. Amending the soil with 3 inches of organic matter is a common practice to enrich the soil without testing. Green peppers require full sunlight for more than six hours.
Planting Green Peppers
Only purchase healthy green pepper plants with three or more sets of leaves and no blossoms. Water the plants well before planting. Wait for a cloudy, cool day to place the transplants in the vegetable garden. Space the pepper transplants at least 18 inches apart and in rows at least 24 inches apart. Dig holes to plant them at the same depth and saturate the soil to remove any air pockets. Apply a starter fertilizer at half-strength to each plant.
Maintenance and Harvest
Maintain the plants properly to ensure ideal growth and development occurs. Place a layer of mulch around the peppers to retain soil moisture and avert weeds or remove the weeds manually. Water the green pepper plants as needed to maintain moist but not soggy soil. Apply a vegetable fertilizer as directed while the plants are growing. Harvest the green peppers when the fruits have reached the size desired. Remove the peppers from the plants with a sharp knife or pruner to prevent damage.
Varieties and Days to Harvest
Sweet bell hybrid peppers change from green to red, including varieties like Bell Boy, Brigadier and Enterprise (71 days) and Palidin, Ranger and Sentry (75 days). Green ornamental peppers include NeMex Twilight and Thai Hot (70 days). Hot hybrid green peppers include Ancho Ranchero (70 days), Ancho Vila (80 days), Cherry Bomb (68 days), Grande and Super Chili (75 days). Open-pollinated sweet and hot green peppers include Queen (68 days), Valencia (70 days), Red Chill (82 days) and Ancho Gigantia (90 days).