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Hot peppers and sweet peppers require the same care. They come from the same wild species. Plant them in full sun when it is hot (temperatures below 50 will cause blossoms to drop).

Plant peppers in rich, well drained soil, mixing in lime, bone meal and a balanced, time release fertilizer before planting. While young, allow pepper plants to dry out a little between waterings. Pepper plants are heavy feeders, but avoid the use of high nitrogen fertilizers.

As they start to bloom, give them a weekly feeding of liquid fertilizer that is higher in potassium. Sow Pepper seed indoors beginning in mid January, and plan to set them out in the middle of May. Pepper seeds are one of those that is slow to germinate, so remember to be patient.

Pepper seeds will not germinate at temperatures under 70 degrees. Start them in peat pellets, and then transplant to 4 inch pots when they have three good sets of true leaves. Remember, be patient. Peppers take their time, but a good crop is well worth the wait. Peppers can be hardened off once they are about 6 inches tall.

They will do just fine if you let them get even larger, Most varietis of peppers should be placed about 16 inches apart. Peppers can be grown in containers as well. Pinching back the tips when the plant is about 12 inches tall, and firmly established will promote bushy growth. Toward the end of the growing season, pull the plants from the ground, and hang them upside down in the greenhouse, shed, or garage...the fruits will continue to ripen for several months.

Hot peppers will get hotter the longer they are left to mature. Removing seeds before cooking will take away some of the hot. Always be careful when handling hot peppers not to rub your eyes, or other sensitive areas. Eating spicy foods stimulates endorphins in your system, and gives you a sense of well-being.

Along with tomatoes, peppers are high in anti-oxidants, and promote a healthy heart, and good blood circulation along with many other benefits. Plant peppers with tomatoes to help keep pests to a minimum. Peppers are also happy to be planted near basil and okra.

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