Peppers are a popular choice for vegetable gardens because of their health benefits and versatility in cooking, so you want to make sure you grow your peppers as large and healthy as possible and be the best they can be. This will require using fertilizer, which is a relatively easy and pain-free method of providing your peppers with the nutrients they need. While all vegetables respond well to fertilizers, it is particularly true of peppers, especially during their infancy. Spending a little time to properly fertilize your peppers in their youth will be worth it down the line.
The best fertilizer to initially apply to your peppers should be one that is very high in nitrogen, such as fish emulsion. When applied at the time of planting, this fertilizer will help your pepper plants get established in their new soil by providing a constant stream of the "food" they covet. Another reason for applying a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content is that peppers have trouble growing in cold conditions. When you plant your peppers, chances are the temperatures will not be conducive to optimal growth, meaning a fertilizer is almost a necessity.
Once the pepper plant blossoms, you want to switch from a nitrogen-heavy fertilizer to one with more phosphorus and potassium, like a 5-10-10 fertilizer. Too much nitrogen after blooming can kill the plants. Consult the instructions for your particular fertilizer, but it is common to apply about three pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet.
Another option for fertilizing your peppers is using manure and compost. These materials release very slowly into the soil and provide a long-lasting stream of nutrients to your pepper plants. Of course, the "best" fertilizer for peppers depends on your soil, so test the soil before planting. Regardless of which fertilizer you choose, apply a heavy watering after application of it so the ground does not become too concentrated with fertilizer.