Learning how to fertilize peppers is the first thing you need to do if you want to reap an abundant harvest. Fertilising is extremely important if you’re not so sure about your fertilising habits. Every greens aficionado knows that not every fertiliser brand on the market is suitable for all types of plants because it will depend on their growth patterns and periods.
However, you’d be glad to know that peppers are generally standard when it comes to fertilising agents compared to most vegetable crops. Standard means that peppers don’t require a fertiliser regimen that one can only use for a few types of plants.
Seasoned pepper growers make use of two types of fertilisers throughout the plant’s growing season. The first type of fertiliser is applied to toughen up the vegetable crop and ensure its leafy growth. On the other hand, the second type of fertiliser used to enhance the production of pepper pods.
What You Need to Know About Fertilizer Grades
5-5-5, 3-5-5, or 2-3-1 – you’ve probably noticed these 3-digit numbers that are on the packaging on most of the fertiliser brands that you can find at the nearest store. Aside from the fact that these numbers are a national standard for soil used for gardening purposes in the UK, they also represent fertiliser grades that tell you about the elemental nutrients that the product contains.
The 3 Basic Elemental Nutrients in Fertilizers
While the first number of fertiliser grades refers to the nitrogen content, the second number represents the phosphate content. The third number gives you the potassium content in the soil. Each of these elements has a critical role to play throughout your pepper plants’ growth process. To provide you with a closer look at these three essential elemental nutrients, check this out:
Your pepper plants need nitrogen to aid in photosynthesis, enhance the production of their foliage, and boost the overall health of the plant.
Thanks to phosphate, your pepper plants can have phosphorus, the essential nutrient prevalent in most life forms. In case you’re wondering, phosphorus enhances your plants’ ability to take in the energy that they can get from the sun.
Another nutrient that’s crucial to plant life is called potassium. It plays an essential role in the movement of water and nutrients through the plant’s tissue. Furthermore, your pepper plants will find it impossible to regulate the process of photosynthesis without potassium.
Although each pepper seed contains the required nutrients for germination, you need to understand that the plant needs more nutrients from the soil or the air to thrive at a certain point. Since pepper is a vegetable crop that belongs to the nightshade family, they prefer mineral fertilisers applied to the soil.
During their early growth, pepper plants would need a large amount of nitrogen to produce healthy foliage growth. During the later stage of their growth, they would need less nitrogen but more significant amounts of phosphate and potassium to develop more pepper pods. To achieve this, you can choose to use an even-grade fertiliser throughout the season, or you can choose to switch the fertilisers in the middle of the growing season.
When and How Often You Need to Fertilize Your Pepper Plants
You can’t expect to reap a bountiful harvest of peppers if you only fertilise them whenever you remember to do so. Without the regular fertiliser application throughout your plants’ growing season, you may end up under- or over-feeding them. You can only get the most out of your crops if you make it a point to keep track of your fertilising schedule and stick to it.
The first fertiliser application
If you’re not aware, the seed starting soil you’re using doesn’t have the nutrients that your plant needs during its earliest stages of growth. For this reason, your pepper plants need to be fed with light fertiliser as soon as you spot their first set of true leaves—light fertilising means using half the usual dose as indicated on the fertiliser’s packaging guidelines.
You can start fertilising most pepper varieties on the second week after you see the seeds sprouting. Since the plants’ root systems limited at this point, you need to keep the first application light. The fertiliser you’re using is crucial to forming your pepper plants’ healthy roots, stems, and leaves.
The Frequency of Fertilizer Application
In most cases, fertilisers applied on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. You would need to work some of these fertilisers into the soil before you transplant your pepper plants for the first time. Be sure to stick to a consistent fertilising schedule to avoid over-fertilizing or under-fertilizing your vegetable crops. Remember that your pepper plants need a steady supply of nutrients rather than an abundant supply at a single time.
Is Hobby Polytunnel Gardening a Great Idea for Pepper Growers in the UK?
Serious pepper growers in the UK should consider planting these crops in a hobby greenhouse. Among its benefits include extended growing seasons, protection from harsh weather conditions, pests, and vermin, and so much more.
Final Thoughts on How to Fertilize Peppers
Now that you know how to fertilize peppers, why don’t you try your hand at polytunnel gardening in the UK? Experience the joys of setting up your hobby polytunnel today!