HARVEST AND USE
Harvest when peppers have ripened to red. Cut rather than pull peppers from plants. Enjoy them sliced up raw, sautéed, stir-fried, grilled or piled on pizza. Discard all pith and seeds to avoid even a hint of heat.
Start indoors 8 weeks before outdoor night temperatures reach 55°F (13°C). Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart in a container of seed starting mix. Keep moist but not soggy, and very warm (80°F (27°C). Provide a strong light source until seedlings are ready to plant outside. When seedlings are 2-3 inches tall, transplant into 4 inch pots. Keep at 65-70°F (18-21°C). Feed with half-strength liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks.
When night temperatures reach 55°F (13°C), acclimate seedlings to outdoor conditions. If planting in garden beds, space 2 to 2 1/2 feet apart in rich soil in full sun.
Peppers need full sun at least 6 hours per day. Mulch well to maintain even moisture. Provide short stakes or cages to support heavy sets of ripening fruit. Check containers often and water regularly; when plants begin setting fruit they may require daily watering.
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