Dozens of bell pepper varieties in an array of colors can be grown in your home vegetable garden each summer. Bell peppers can can grow in all U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones and tolerate a variety of climatic conditions. However, because they are a warm-season vegetable, they do best with a long growing season, the Iowa State University Extension reports. Regular applications of fertilizer can benefit the plants, bettering your odds for a healthy harvest.

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Bell pepper plants benefit from several applications of fertilizer.

Before Planting

Pre-treat the soil where you will plant bell peppers with a 5-10-5 fertilizer. Apply 2 to 3 pounds for every 100 square feet of garden space, the Iowa State University Extension advises. Alternately, have your soil tested prior to planting to see what specific needs your soil has and whether it would benefit from a different fertilizer.

After Transplanting

Once you transplant pepper plants outdoors, treat them with water-soluble fertilizer. The Iowa extension recommends using a water-soluble fertilizer or making your own solution by mixing 2 tbsp. of a 10-10-10 fertilizer in 1 gallon of water. Each plant should receive between 1 and 2 cups of the fertilizer.

After Fruiting

As your bell peppers grow, they will need at least one more fertilizer application. Wait until the plants set their first young peppers before applying fertilizer, the University of Illinois Extension reports. Use the same fertilizer you applied after the plants were set in the soil and repeat every three or four weeks. Always follow manufacturer's directions carefully to ensure you don't apply too much.

Application Technique

When fertilizing bell peppers and many other garden vegetables, side-dress the plants to prevent damage to the stems and leaves. To do this, apply fertilizer to the soil several inches away from the plant stem, Fort Valley State University recommends. Water the plants thoroughly afterwards, so the fertilizer incorporates into the soil.