Harvesting peppers: This is how to do it

long bell pepper
long bell pepper

When are peppers ripe for harvesting? How do you take them off in a plant-friendly way? And especially important in the fall: How can unripe peppers be ripened? Here you will find the answers about harvesting peppers.

Peppers are a healthy snack and spice up any colorful vegetable dish. Whether yellow, orange, white, red or green, they come in many different colors, and many people plant them in their own gardens or on their balconies. But how can you tell when the vegetable is ready for harvesting? And how do you harvest peppers correctly?

Between mid-July and October you can harvest your own peppers. If you gently remove the fruit, you can constantly re-harvest. Please do not forget to fertilize and water during this phase. From ripe fruits you can also obtain seeds for the next year. And the unripe peppers can be left to ripen in a warm place in the fall, if it gets too cold, the plants will no longer grow and the fruits will not ripen outside.

When are peppers ready for harvest?

Once they have reached their variety-specific color, the fruits are also ready for harvest. Depending on the location, greenhouse or in the open, this can be between mid-July and mid-August. In the open, of course, it takes longer. Larger fruits take longer than smaller varieties. There are no green peppers per se, they are simply unripe. Nevertheless, they can be taken from the shoot and eaten. However, the taste is then not yet really present, possibly they taste somewhat meaningless or even bitter. Removing green peppers can also be useful if there are a lot of peppers on one shoot and it is threatening to break off under the weight. Especially with large-fruited peppers this danger exists.

You can usually harvest peppers until about mid-October, when it is too cold, especially outdoors. With a warming fleece or by moving them into a greenhouse, this works especially well with plants cultivated in pots, you can extend their enjoyment until November.

Gently harvest the pepper

The best way to separate a bell pepper from the shoot is with a sharp knife or scissors. This allows you to cut selectively. If you try it with tearing off, can cause other pods to fall off, and the resulting cracks are entry points for plant diseases. Even by twisting off, you will not be able to separate the tough fibers on the bell pepper stalk. A stalk should always remain on the pod to keep the fruit closed. This is especially important if you want to store your peppers later.

Accompanying care

Even during the harvest period, it is necessary to regularly provide the peppers with a good supply of water and a low-dose vegetable fertilizer on an organic basis. Supplementary watering can be done with nettle manure. Otherwise, the yield will fall short of expectations.

How to after-ripen peppers

The peppers are hanging green on the plant, but temperatures are already dropping below 17 °C / 63 °F? If you can’t spare the plants the cool air with a fleece, remove the heat-requiring peppers and let them ripen on a sun-favored windowsill. For them to change color, however, they must have reached a certain degree of ripeness before they are taken off.

It does not make sense to put an apple or a tomato, which emit the ripening gas ethylene, with the peppers. This is because the gas does not trigger a ripening process in peppers.

After the harvest is before sowing

If you have cultivated true-to-seed varieties, you can certainly obtain seeds from them. However, only if it is certain that there has been no fertilization with ornamental peppers or chili. Variety-pure seed can be obtained by carefully opening the flower before it opens and transferring pollen from a plant of the same variety with a small brush.

Seeds can only be obtained from fully ripened peppers. To do this, carefully detach them from the pulp and leave them to dry in the sun on a surface that absorbs water. Kitchen roll or a paper handkerchief is suitable for this purpose. After drying, store the seeds in a dark, cool place in a paper bag until next year’s sowing season.

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