Feeding peppers is one way to get bigger harvests, but when and what should you feed them? Let me help you out!
Your pepper plants will need different nutrients in different parts of their life.
When they are young and growing, then they want lots of nitrogen as this is responsible for the leafy green growth in plants.
Later, when they begin to flower and fruit, they will need more potassium, which helps promote the development of more flowers and fruit.
The different levels of these nutrients will be broken down on your fertiliser into an NPK rating.
Here you can see the NPK rating on my Tomorite tomato feed.
This is 4-3-8 fertiliser. So it has a lot of potassium in it but still plenty of nitrogen and phosphorus.
This is the perfect feed for pepper plants while they are actively flowering and developing fruit.
When the plants are younger, you can use a higher nitrogen feed to put on plenty of leaves and new growth.
You don’t want to overdo it on the nitrogen in the later stages as this can lead to lots of leaves but little fruit.
Here is the same brand of Tomato food but this is the organic version.
As you can see, the NPK is very different and much more balanced at 3:3:3.
This is very common with organic fertilisers, which tend to be much more balanced without one standout nutrient. This is because it is harder to naturally make a feed with one nutrient a lot higher than the others.
What I Use
This is what I am using this year, and it works well on my peppers and tomatoes.
To keep things simple – any tomato feed will work well with peppers too.
I like to garden organically, so I am using an organic feed.
Feeding The Soil
One overlooked aspect of feeding plants is that, ideally, you will feed your soil rather than your plants.
If you do this right, you will find your plants don’t need much additional feeding. I still like to give them a liquid feed now and again, but it is not essential.
There are lots of ways to feed your soil; here are a few that I employ:
- Compost Mulch
- Compost Tea
- Organic Fertilising
If you take good care of your soil and promote the growth of microbes as well as adding plenty of organic matter, then you shouldn’t need to feed your plants at all!
If you want to learn more about making compost tea then read my article here.