There are few things that you can grow in your garden that are as versatile as the pepper. Hot, sweet, red or green – even yellows, oranges and purples can add a touch of the exotic to your next dish. For most gardeners it simply wouldn’t be the same without a nice harvest of peppers come late summer and early fall.
But why limit yourself to fresh peppers for only a few months of the year? Unbeknownst to many of us who do not live in a desert climate, peppers are actually perennial plants that can live for many years if given the proper care.
There are two main ways that you can grow peppers indoors. The first is by starting a plant from seed, and the second is by bringing your existing plants indoors at the end of your normal outdoor growing season.
Starting Peppers Indoors
Starting your peppers indoors from seeds is fairly simple and can be done at any time of year. Seeds should be planted in a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite and sand (roughly equal parts of each). Place two seeds in each pot near its center, and push the seeds just below the surface of the soil. Keep soil moist but not wet, and keep pots in a spot where they will get sunlight throughout the day.
If you are starting peppers from seed, then you will have the advantage of selecting a variety that will grow to the ideal size for your indoor space. If you have lots of room, then you can grow larger plants such as red bell peppers or Hungarian wax peppers. If you are short on space, however, then try more compact varieties such as dwarf chilies.
Bringing Your Outdoor Peppers Inside
If you’ve already got pepper plants in your garden, you’re ahead of the game. Peppers in containers can be brought directly inside.
For peppers that are planted directly in the ground, the process for bringing them inside is trickier – but so worth it! Start this process well before your first frost. Using a sharp shovel, you can dig around each plant and lift it out of the ground, placing it into a plastic (not terra cotta) pot. This should be done during the evening so that the plant has the cool of the night to recover.