Sweet peppers and chilli peppers (chillies) are natives of tropical America and have probably been eaten since 7500BC. Nowadays almost all cultivated forms of chillies are of Mexican origin with the jalapeno chilli taking its name from the state capital of Veracruz, Jalapa.
Sweet peppers are also known as bell peppers, especially in the USA. They are sweet because unlike chilli peppers, they contain minimal or no capsaicin, which is what gives chillies their heat. Peppers are so easy to grow and to manage. They do best in a greenhouse, but will give good yields outside in warm, sunny positions and many are ornamental enough for patio pots.
How to Sow and Grow Peppers
Fill a seed tray with moist compost until almost full. Sow seeds thinly, 0.5cm(¼in) over the surface and lightly cover them in a little more compost. Place in a warm environment 15-20°C(60/68°F) and keep moist. Keep seedlings in a light position, but shade from direct sunlight. When large enough to handle, transplant singly into small pots, ensuring a temperature of 15°C(60°F). Plant into growing bags, large pots or the greenhouse border, 40cm(16in), when the first flowers have opened. Keep watering regularly and feed with liquid fertiliser as fruits start to progress. There is usually no reason to pinch out the growing tips, as plants become naturally bushy as they grow.