BenV's notes

Do it yourself Bell Peppers

by on Sep.16, 2009, under Boring

Nope, no computer stuff this time.
When I’m not behind my computer I sometimes dare to enter the domain called “outside”.
If you like plants, and especially plants that are in some way ‘useful’ (in other words: they produce edible parts), you might want to grow some of them yourself.
One particular cute little plant thingy that I planted this year is a bell pepper, or paprika as we dutch people call them. You might have heard of them, since they can be found in various sorts of delicious food like shoarma (apparently Shawarma in english), Dürüm, and various salads (and tons of other recipes).

Enough about where you might encounter them, I wanted to talk about having them as a plant.
Huh, plant?
Yeah, you know… a greenish thing with leaves and sometimes flowers that stands in the dirt all day trying to catch sunlight and occasionally some water.
Never heard of it.
Idiot. Play some more Mario or Spore until you know.

What I did this year was:

  • Buy a red bell pepper from the shop (because we needed one for dinner or whatever). Pick any color you like though, except for green, since green ones taste bad 😉
  • When preparing it for the food -keep- the part that has all the seeds, and peel off a bunch of them.
  • Put those seeds on a saucer and let them dry for a while (a day orso)
  • Take a pot, fill it with some nice soil and put the seeds into the soil. (not too deep!)
  • Cover the pot with a little foil. (I used a rubber band to keep it in place)
  • Put the pot in front of the window so it gets some nice sunlight during the day
  • Wait, water the pot a little once every few days

After a week or so something will start to grow in there. Mine looked like this:

Paprika plantje jong

Paprika plantje jong

Then you wait some more and water it some more and it’ll grow and get a bit bigger….
Paprika plantjes

Paprika plantjes

Until eventually they get a bunch of cute little flowers:
paprika bloempjes
The flowers will open up and look proud, and after that most of the flowers will fall off. Nature’s way of prefering one thing above another and making sure the plant won’t have more fruit than it can sustain I guess. So don’t worry about it dropping a few flowers. In fact, here they dropped pretty much all flowers except for one or two. The flower(s) that remains will slowly start to create a tiny little green bell pepper.
kleine paprika
The pepper will grow bigger and bigger — if you keep your plant somwhat happy that is, which means providing it with water and sunlight — until the plant is done with growing it. Then it will slowly start changing color if it catches enough sunbeams. Sun really seems to speed up the coloring process.
paprika verkleurd
And then when it’s completely colored you should cut it from the plant so the plant can stick its energy in creating new flowers/bell peppers.
Now you’ve got your home grown bell pepper, isn’t that cute?

Things I’ve noticed while growing these:

  • The plants grow bigger if they have more room to grow. We put one plant in a big pot and two plants in smaller pots. It shows in the size of the plant. For reference, here is one of the smaller ones and the big one. The smaller plant is less than half the size.
  • Kleinere paprika plant
    Grote paprika plant

  • They don’t like a lack of water. Sounds obvious, but when they are out of water for a short period, a day orso, (and the leaves start hanging and looking sad) the fruit will get distorted shapes. (or get dropped completely).
  • As they grow bigger the stem hardens so they don’t really need support from sticks or anything. Quite surprising with the big fruit.
  • It’s fun to see your own bell pepper hanging on the plant, however, checking it every 5 minutes won’t make it bigger or more colored.

As for the question “How about putting them outside?”, I haven’t tried this year since our garden was not quite ready for stuff like that yet. Also I expect that they dislike the dutch climate and therefore will either die, be sad and give no fruit, or give tiny fruit. I’ll try it next year though, just to see what it does 🙂

So…. try it yourself!
Next year I’ll also try growing some Jalapeño peppers, should be pretty much the same process 🙂


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