I know, I know, they are supposed to be the easiest thing in the world to grow, but not for me. The plants always look good, but the fruits rot before they get fully red. I tried in the ground, in pots - always a disappointment.
You are not a failure. Waiting for the fruits to get red? There is the problem. Why are you waiting for them to get red before picking? That's like not picking tomatoes until they are fully red - almost guarantees bugs, sun burn, rot, hail and all sorts of other problems.
And no, they are far from the easiest thing in the world to grow.
Yeah, in my experience bells are fairly difficult to grow, as peppers go.
Peppers aren't supposed to be heatless, its basically lots of inbreeding that causes sweet bell peppers. Makes the line weak.
Of all the peppers I've grown, that always seems to be the case. The sweet peppers stay small and don't produce very much, while the hot peppers explode into thick bushes and make dozens of pods.
I think peppers are very hard to grow. They are frustrating. Last year almost every one of my sweet peppers plants, died, one by one. They would wilt and die and I never figured out why. Maybe try some milder hot peppers, I'm with Edymnion, I think hot peppers are easier. I eat hungarian wax peppers when they are yellow, because they have barely any heat and it satisfies my need for a pepper in my salad. I don't like green peppers, so I am patiently waiting for some of the sweet peppers to turn red, and hope they don't rot :) But, I know some will.
I beg you to not feel bad! I don't know who said that bell peppers are the easiest thing to grow, but they're wrong! Maybe they're easy in the North, but not in the South. I've been gardening for a few years now, and this is the first year I've been successful with them. The only thing I did differently this year is that I didn't growing traditional bell peppers. I'm growing Chervena Chushka and they were a little slow but otherwise have worked out well.
I have a couple of traditional bell peppers in pots, and I ended up making tents for them (with row cover) because I've had a terrible problem with sun scald.
I'm having trouble getting sweet peppers (cubanelle and bell) to get anything more than 2 true leaves. I went out one day to find the 4 cubanelles I had going just completely gone.. Not wilted or dead, just flat out gone. I shrugged it off and started some more, just went out again though.. Now 2 of my bells are pretty much dead.. My jalapeno and carribean reds however, are doing great. They're working on their 4th and 5th set of true leaves now.
Reading what Edy said makes sense of my experience.. Maybe not the mysteriously disappearing part (I figured it was a bug or something) but the fact that the sweet varieties seem to be doing nothing while the hot varieties are growing great. There is literally nothing different about the conditions these 4 different types are growing under. Same soil mix, same amount (and time of sunlight) same amount of watering, etc.
Iamsupernova, groundhogs will eat my pepper plants down to a nub practically, as will deer, so it may have been a critter larger than a bug that got yours. Though they are pretty hardy plants and will bud out new leaves rather quickly if you protect them after the damage and keep the roots moist. I just consider it a heavy pruning when the local groundhogs get mine.... I try not to get frustrated about it lol... Though if I ever catch the guys in the act, it will probably be there last act lol...
Getting good fruits on peppers can be challenging, but I have never had trouble getting good vegetative growth out of them. In that regard I feel they are pretty hardy and easy to grow.... It's getting the nice big ripe fruits that we desire where they become somewhat challenging.
The most I really need to worry about around here is birds or squirrels.. And the occasional cat defiling my garden. I've never even seen a groundhog, tunnel or any sign of them, and my yard is fenced on all sides (we live in a suburban neighborhood) so deer aren't a problem, either.
This is my first year gardening though, so there may well be groundhogs around, just haven't found anything to ever eat in my yard and have steered clear of it.
I've kept my eye on the birds cuz I've read some people have trouble with them eating seedlings, but all the birds around here that I've watched seem content to just eat the bugs crawling around in the grass. I've yet to find a squirrel actually in my yard, I just see them time to time running across the powerline that runs along the back of my yard.
oh, my gosh, I feel so much better! I'll try picking them early; maybe they will taste ok, even if they are misshapen. And next year, I'll try those hungarian wax peppers
The misshapen ones taste just the same :). It's rare I get a perfect "grocery store" looking bell. You can also pick them at any stage of growth, even "green" bells will ripen to a color, usually red, if left on the plant long enough. Also if there is any sun scald or scars on some, just cut those parts out and eat the rest... That's what I do:). As long as the pepper is not actually rotten theres no reason to waste it because of a little scar.
They will be sweeter if you allow them to ripen but you can eat them green too, really a matter of preference. I like them in all stages of ripeness.
I grow only in pots. This year I put pepper plants in between the tomato pots. The tomato plants shade the pepper plants and help to prevent sun scald. I just picked some nice orange bells with no sun scald. I usually pick them when I see a tinge of color (red, yellow, orange). They aren't big, but they are nice.
I have three different varieties of Bell peppers growing right now with fruit, my first year of growing them. They are all in the same raised bed getting same amount of sun and water etc. One variety is : Bonnie Bell from Home depot Nursery transplants. This has about 3" diameter green peppers. I think this variety is supposed to have fruit that is not smooth, wrinkly fruit. All the peppers are like that. The second variety: I bought some red bell peppers from produce market. They were very sweet. They were large in size, 5-6" diameter, roundish. So, I took the seeds from that and planted them. Those plants right now have few peppers that were about 5" long but only about 2" thinck. The length is now static but the width is growing. I suppose with time they will perhaps be similar to what I bought in the market. I will be saving seed from this variety later in fall. The third is also a market bought fruit. these were red sweet peppers, fruit being 9" long and 4-5" in width. Oh yes, they were impressive and very sweet. I planted seeds from that only about a month ago. The plants are still small. I will see what I get from them. I have also used this method with couple of squashes.
I am so far pleased with this method of planting seeds from the fruit I like rather than plant some thing out of a packet. I know, you are going to say that seed from fruit may not come true. Not any worse than growing something out of a packet or from nursery and get a surprise.