Pepper - Sweet - California Wonder Bell, Certified Organic

Avg seeds/pkt 60

California Wonders are here to remind us that a sweet, ripe, red bell pepper is really a fruit. Sliced fresh, it will stand up beautifully to dips, and at 3 to 4 inches across, is big and firm enough for stuffing or grilling.

Start indoors 8 weeks before your average last frost. Sow seeds 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep in a well-drained seed-starting mix. Keep moist and warm—around 80°F. Plants emerge in 10 to 14 days. Like most long-season plants, pepper seedlings need 12 to 16 hours of bright light during the day to develop strong stems before transplanting them outdoors.

When outdoor temperatures average 65°F, about 2 weeks after your average last frost date, harden-off seedlings for a week and plant into well-drained soil that has been amended with compost and a granular, low-nitrogen fertilizer. Arrange plants 16 inches apart. I find a tomato cage is helpful to support mature, 24 inch plants which will be heavy with ripening fruit. Mulch, and provide consistent water so that soil stays moist and cool. Side-dress with a granular, low-nitrogen fertilizer once more after flowers set fruit.

Cut rather than pull the milder, green peppers in 60 days and the sweeter, red peppers after 75 days.

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