Video: Growing Sweet Peppers In The Garden And Greenhouse
Features and origin of pepper
Bulgarian or sweet pepper, as gardeners call it - in almost every garden you can see small, slender bushes, with "peppers" hanging closer to the ripening period. The fruits are sometimes painted in such bright colors that they just ask for a sunny salad.
Sweet pepper can be called a real friend of man, because he has been with us, one way or another, for more than ten thousand years. It is now impossible to establish exactly where the pepper came from, but it can be said with confidence that he is a real honorary citizen of three countries - Mexico, Guatemala and the United States. Pepper loves warmth and an abundance of light, he loves to bask in the sun, but in our area it succeeds quite well.
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How did he get to our continent? It was not so long ago, about 500 years ago. Pepper got in with merchant ships sailing through Portugal and Spain to Turkey, where it quickly gained popularity. Already from Turkey, an outlandish vegetable came to Bulgaria and became Bulgarian forever. It seems that it is to the Bulgarians that we owe the fact that the pepper gains weight, ripens and jumps to us in salads, pickles, as a seasoning in soups and many other dishes, and also serves as a medicine that helps to better digest food and normalize metabolism. That is why even high consumption rates of pepper will not cause any weight gain.
Peppers, apparently, are akin to potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes and cucumbers, the demand for these crops does not fade away and, it seems, will never fade away. Of course, industrial plantings, which ensure the flow of products to different parts of our country, are concentrated exclusively in the southern regions of Russia, as well as in Ukraine and Moldova.
Consuming pepper, growing it on our site, or simply purchasing it on the market, or in a supermarket, we no longer even think about the fact that once in Russia this culture simply did not know, and even earlier did not perceive pepper as food in others. corners of the planet. Initially, they used it exclusively as a medicine, they tried to treat it or the juice of unripe fruits with a variety of diseases, up to asthma. But he only helped well against colds, because there is much more vitamin C in it than in the usual medicine for acute respiratory infections - lemon.
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By its nature, and in warmer climates, sweet pepper is a perennial culture, but in our country it dies with the arrival of winter. And only by sowing seeds, next year, we renew it in our garden.
In the wild (this is probably an interesting sight) sweet pepper grows in the tropics of America, sometimes occupying large territories. There you can also find a large number of its various species, of which not all have been chosen and introduced into culture, but only a few - peppers, Peruvian, Colombian, and also Mexican, which we are used to seeing on our table.
Sweet peppers do not require pollinators, they form large fruits, which are more correctly called berries. These miracle berries come in such a variety of colors that it is possible to list all the colors for a very long time, the more familiar colors to us are red, orange, green and yellow. All fruits, regardless of color and shape, contain a large amount of biologically active substances, vitamins, mineral compounds, as well as organic acids and sugars.
In order for the fruits to ripen and collect all the substances necessary for both us and the plant, sweet peppers need to be grown through seedlings. Seedlings should be planted in the smoothest, lightest, well-heated place with loose and nutritious soil. The fruits will grow and ripen completely only if the temperature during this period does not fall below + 18 ° C degrees. In conditions of high humidity and low above-zero temperatures, the plants seem to plunge into a lethargic sleep, stop growth and can even shed the ovary.
Pepper is thermophilic and afraid of frost, so do not rush to plant its seedlings, wait until there is no danger of return frosts at all, but small frost is not terrible for adult plants, they can also tolerate zero temperature.
Over the years of cultural cultivation of pepper, breeders of all countries have created a considerable number of varieties, but it is best to use proven, domestic cultivars that are zoned and can grow without problems in our climate. There are also a lot of them, and from a rather wide variety, the most interesting
The first on our list will be Alyosha Popovich - this is a mid-season variety, the fruits of which will be on your table three months after sowing the seeds. As befits the name, the plant is very large and gives large fruits, the average weight of such a berry is not less than 200 g. The fruits are juicy, thick-walled with a skin invisible even when cooking. Ripe fruits are red, but those that have reached technical ripeness are light green.
Due to the solid size of the bush, a planting scheme of about 50 by 20 cm is recommended for this variety. Of the undoubted advantages of the variety, one can single out undemanding support and formations, high yield, often exceeding five kilograms per square meter, as well as resistance to verticillosis.
The next variety, which ripens about a week earlier, is Belozerka. It is less tall and more compact, does not have a pronounced trunk. The variety forms cone-shaped, triangular fruits of white-cream color in technical ripeness and bright red in biological ripeness. The fruits are smaller, their weight is slightly more than 100 g, but in terms of wall thickness, juiciness and taste, they are in no way inferior to the previous variety. Among the advantages of the variety, one can distinguish a pleasant aroma of ripe fruits, resistance to mosaic, alternaria and verticillosis, as well as a very good yield, often exceeding 5 kg per square meter.
The variety with the pleasant name Snow White fell in love with gardeners due to its ripening time. The fruits are ready for harvest already three months after sowing the seeds, and if you grow the variety in a greenhouse for which it is more adapted, then this period can be reduced by another couple of weeks. The small disadvantages of the variety include the need for shaping, which consists in breaking out all the lateral shoots and leaves located below the first fork. The positive qualities of the cultivar include the fact that it forms compact plants, slightly closed, low (45-50 cm).
Fully ripe fruits have a triangular shape, smooth surface and light color, but when the seeds are fully ripe, the fruits turn red. In biological ripeness, they have a length of about 15 cm and a wall thickness of just over a centimeter, and a mass of about 100 g.
The fruits of this variety are amazing fresh as a high-vitamin product, they are also suitable for all types of processing. The optimal planting scheme for this variety is 40 by 50-60 cm. Plants planted according to this scheme can produce more than 7 kg of fruit per square meter of the garden. In addition to the already named hits of sales, gardeners are also in demand for other cultivars: Bonus, Bogatyr, Victoria, Vesper, Dobrynya Nikitich, Yellow Bouquet, Ilya Muromets and a new very high-yielding variety Zdorovye.
Is the farming technique of growing pepper difficult? Not at all, you can even say that it is extremely simple, but you should not miss important points. The most important of them, which should be the first on the list, is the time for sowing seeds to obtain seedlings. The main thing here is not to rush, but also not to delay - the optimal time during which the seedlings should develop is two months or 60 days, so you need to sow the seeds around the end of February - early March.
Before sowing, the seeds should be soaked in a weak solution of potassium permanganate, which is impregnated with a gauze cloth or bandage. As soon as the seeds hatch, they must be sown in the ground. It is best to use not common large boxes, but individual cups, and not plastic, but paper ones, because they are easier to break and get the seedlings with a lump of earth without damaging the root system.
For growing seedlings, you can also use special peat cups. You can not extract the seedlings from them, but immerse the glass with it in the soil, it then completely dissolves and serves as additional food. The soil in which the seeds are sown also serves as food, so it must be optimally selected. The best option is a soil consisting of peat and ordinary earth in equal proportions. You can cook it yourself, or you can buy it at the store.
Before filling the glass with soil, make a hole in its bottom; an awl heated on a flame is best for this. So you can make holes in not just one, but a dozen cups stacked together. If this is not done, then the roots from excess moisture, which simply has nowhere to go, can rot.
Before sowing seeds, which, by the way, are best sown two at a time, the soil must be shed with a weak solution of potassium permanganate
After the soil is added to the cups and the seeds are sown into it, they must be placed in a bright and warm place, a window sill can become it. It can accommodate such an amount of seedlings, which is enough for planting on a hundred square meters of land.
To ensure good initial seed growth, it is better to cover the cups with a foil, which must be removed as soon as the sprouts appear above the soil surface.
In order for the plants to feel good there, they need to be provided with moisture. When growing peppers, you need to be very careful with its amount, because excess moisture can lead to the appearance of a black leg - a dangerous and destructive disease for seedlings. Water the plants sparingly, only with warm water and so that the earthen ball is slightly moist, but not overdried.
A week after sprouting, the seedlings will become stronger and can be rearranged on a table that should be placed by the window. At this point, it can be left until the period when it will be necessary to transplant the pepper into the ground. In the process of growth, seedlings can be fed. For this, mineral fertilizers dissolved in water are suitable, the main thing here is not to feed the plants often, otherwise, when planted in the ground, they will get used to new, more modest conditions for a long time.
It is also necessary to plant seedlings correctly. Here, special attention must be paid to the root collar: it should not be buried, it should be located at the level of the soil, as it grew in a glass.
As for the planting scheme, it depends entirely on the varietal characteristics of the crop and is often indicated on the seed packaging. It is impossible to neglect the recommendations of professionals and thicken the planting, this will only lead to a decrease in the yield and the mass of fruits. All further care is simple, it consists in periodic loosening of the soil, combating weeds, in the evening watering the plants with warm water and several dressings (usually two) with liquid mineral fertilizers.
Nikolay Khromov, Candidate of Agricultural Sciences, Researcher, Department of Berry Crops, GNU VNIIS im. I. V. Michurina, member of the R&D Academy
Photo by E. Valentinov