I'm raising 28 sweet pepper seedlings, Gypsy, Bounty, and Carmen, and I'll probably give a few away so I'll plant about 20 in the garden.
I use a soaker-hose system, so I'd like to plant the peppers in four short rows on the south side of my tomatoes as an extension of the tomato rows. That puts the pepper rows 5 feet apart, just like the tomato rows. I know that's extra-wide rows for peppers, but it works out for the watering grid.
Since the rows are so far apart, and they run north-south for good sun, can I get away with putting the peppers only 18" apart within the rows - or is that too close?
Ditto what Farmer said. Always spaced mine 18"/20" apart and never had any probs with plant size or production. Had lots of different issues over the yrs. but don't believe spacing was the cause. One yr. the Ravens took a liking to my sweet peppers and darn near cleaned me out. They were eating the peppers not just looking for bugs. I guess close spacing did make it real conveinient for them. ::)) kdcon
No need to zig-zag... In my experience, soaker hose will moisten the soil for a couple of feet on either side (less if the soil is really sandy). I run 2 soaker hoses down my 6 ft. wide veggie bed, spaced maybe a little less than 3 feet apart, and I can get a row of tomatoes (caged) along the back and 3 rows of peppers (2 rows between the pair of soakers and one in front of the second soaker), easily.
If you're not sure, dig down and see what's going on after you've run your irrigation... you'll probably have it in place (and your tomatoes planted out) for a couple of weeks before you put your peppers in the garden. And yes, you only see a little of the watering that's happening on the surface of the soil.
I wish I'd seen your idea about planting in double, staggered rows for the peppers BEFORE I gave away over half my sweet pepper seedlings. I only kept 40 plants because I didn't have more room. I'm planting lots of sweet peppers because I'm determined to get some peppers even if my soil has PMMoV! Call me greedy I guess...
Sorry! I guess I think more in terms of planting veggies on 12 or 18 or 24 inch "centers" than in rows as such, in order to fit as many as possible into my garden! (50x6 ft. looks big to some people, but it's very modest compared to what a lot of you folks do, LOL.)
I think you've started some virus tolerant varieties, so hopefully you'll get a nice harvest!
I thought I'd have all these extra seedlings this year... but some pest keeps biting the heads off the poor little things, and I may only end up putting out half the number I'd anticipated. :-( I think the survivors will be brought upstairs after potting up, and hopefully the greedy little bug? mouse? won't follow!