Peppers/sweet peppers (Capsicum) and Bell peppers are a fruit and come in all shapes, colours and sizes as well as flavours to enhance your salads and cooking.
They can be sown from seed from February onwards; ideally in a propagator as they like warmth and bright sunlight. You can use cling film or a clear lidded tray as an alternative. Keep your seeds in a warm and sunny place and remove the cling film once the seedlings appear.
Re-pot your seedlings in to bigger pots before their permanent growing place, which can be in grow bags, large containers in the greenhouse ideally or in a full sun position outside if you are in a milder area. Remember to harden them off beforehand.
They will require a little water regularly, getting the right balance so they do not become dry or waterlogged either. Compost does dry out quickly, therefore water containers and grow bags generously. Also mist the plants to help prevent pests.
The pepper plants will benefit from some Tomato feed once they start to flower and also pinch them out to help encourage growth.
They may also require some staking to help support the growing plants once they product fruit.
All peppers will be green initially, turning colour to red and some are yellow, orange and purple. The longer you leave the fruit, the less it will produce and therefore may pay you to pick some early ones and/or regularly.
They should be ready from late summer onwards until any new growth ends when the climate cools down. They will be plump and picked easily - check your variety type for sowing and harvesting times.
Peppers add wonderful flavour to sauces and soups as well as being eaten raw, adding vibrant colour to a salad. They can be blanched and frozen and also dehydrated.
You may also be interested in our Chillies page.