There is nothing more beautiful than a basket full of homegrown peppers. I have been growing peppers in my garden for the last twenty years and I have never been disappointed.
There are many reasons to love peppers as well as their beauty. For starters, they are very easy to grow, they are loaded with nutritional value and have an incredible raw and cooked flavor. If you're a first-time gardener, peppers are a good place to start.
Peppers, also known as sweet peppers, can be red, yellow, orange, green or even lavender and white. Peppers are the only members of the Capisicum genus that do not produce capsaicin, the extremely hot chemical we know in hot peppers. The peppers are native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America.
To grow this tender tropical plant with a warm season, you can: start the seeds early in the interior or buy plants after the risk of frost has passed. Only those who live in very hot climates, such as the deep south, can begin the seeds outdoors.
Start seeds inside
Starting seeds indoors will save you money and give you an advantage in the growing season. This is particularly useful if you live in an area with a short growing season. The seeds should begin approximately 8-10 weeks before the last spring frost date.
Choose High quality organic seeds. for better results. Fill small pots with organic potting soil. I like the little biodegradable pots That can be planted directly on the ground. Place three seeds in each pot and cover with a light. layer of soil. Place it in a warm area with lots of light: pepper seeds will germinate at 70 degrees and warmer. Keep the soil moist but not saturated. Once the seedlings begin to grow, thin the weaker and let the other two grow. Fourteen days before the transplant, start hardening your plants. To do this, water the plants first and place them outdoors in a protected place. If you have a cold frame or a greenhouse without heating, this works very well. Be sure to harden on days when the temperature is constant. Leave your plants outside for two hours on the first day, four hours on the second day with more direct sunlight. Gradually increase the amount of time plants spend outdoors in direct sunlight. Do this for two weeks. You can leave the plants outside all night only if there is no danger of frost. Add organic fertilizer or aged compost on the ground in your garden a week before transplanting pepper plants. Transplant the outdoor seedlings after all the threat of frost has passed. The soil must be at least 65 degrees or the plants will not. If you need to heat the floor, put a layer of black plastic on it for about two weeks before planting. Place the plants at a distance of 18 to 24 inches, but keep the plants that shared a pot nearby for them to touch. Place three matches in the hole with each plant and add a teaspoon of organic fertilizer. This will give the plants sulfur that helps them grow. Once the peppers get their true leaves, fertilize weekly until the fruit appears. Water the peppers regularly but do not saturate them.
Starting the pepper plants
If you start with more mature pepper plants, place them 18 inches apart in a garden soil rich in organic matter. Peppers too grow well in raised beds and containers. Add slow-release organic fertilizer to the hole when planting. To grow large, healthy peppers, plants need between 6 and 8 hours of sunlight per day. Water the plants immediately and provide 1 to 2 inches of water per week, more if the weather is warmer. Feed the plants every three weeks after the fruits are placed with an organic fertilizer to promote growth. Apply mulch or straw around each plant to help retain moisture. Provide support to the pepper plants as they grow.
Harvest the peppers as soon as they reach a good size. As the peppers remain on the vine, they become sweeter and also contain more vitamin C. Do not remove the peppers from the vine, instead use sharp and clean scissors or a sharp and clean knife to remove the fruit from the plant.
Place the peppers in a plastic bag and refrigerate up to ten days after harvest. You can also dry peppers in a conventional oven. First, wash the peppers and remove all the seeds. Cut them into half-inch strips. Steam the strips for ten minutes and spread on a baking sheet. Place the oven at 140 degrees and dry the peppers until they are brittle. Once the peppers are cold, place them in storage bags. Freezing peppers is also a great way to save your harvest. I like to freeze them and use them in soups and stews all winter. Wash the peppers first and cut the stems. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Cut into strips or even dice and place in a cookie sheet. Place the tray in the freezer for about an hour or until it is frozen. Place the frozen peppers in a freezer bag, eliminating as much air as possible.
Tips for bigger and tastier peppers
Always choose high quality seeds and pepper plants. Never plant seedlings in fresh and humid soil. Peppers as the heat. Fertilize with tea compost or fish emulsion to obtain robust plants. Use a drip irrigation system for a regular supply of water. Pinch of some of the first flowers. Remove all suckers. Cut the pepper plants regularly. For larger fruit, Spray the plants with a mixture. of a spoonful of Epsom salts in a gallon of water once the plants bloom and once every ten days after. To keep new seedlings warm, place a cage around them and wrap the plastic around the cage. This creates a mini greenhouse.
Health benefits of peppers
Although we often think that peppers are vegetables, they are really a fruit. The nutritional value of peppers depends on the color you choose. A red pepper, for example, contains more than eight times the amount of vitamin A than a green pepper.
All peppers contain a large amount of antioxidants. One pepper contains twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin C and lots of vitamin B6.
Other vitamins and nutrients in peppers include:
Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin E Vitamin K Manganese Magnesium Match Potassium Molybdenum Fiber
Carotenoids: Red peppers get their beautiful shade from a special antioxidant known as lycopene. This carotenoid helps fight the free radicals of toxins. Research has shown that lycopene can help prevent certain types of cancer Including prostate, lung and stomach. The carotenoids found in yellow and orange peppers help protect against cardiovascular disease.
Fact: A 2008 study found that steam peppers improved their "binding capacity to bile acids". This results in less recirculated bile acids, better cholesterol use and less fat absorption, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
Peppers are a great source of potassium: All peppers are a great source of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral for balance that helps regulate blood pressure and muscle function.
Peppers also contain fiber that helps regulate cholesterol and aid in digestion, as well as folate, which is essential for the functioning of red blood cells.
Peppers are great on their own for a nutritious snack, but they also combine well with many delicious dishes. Here are three easy ways to benefit from the goodness of homegrown peppers.
Bison Peppers Stuffed
If you are looking for a healthy meal for guests, this is the option. It tastes as good as it looks and is full of ingredients that promote health and nutrition.
4 medium peppers in half 2 teaspoons of coconut oil 1 cup chopped onion 8 oz. Of ground bison 1 clove garlic 2 teaspoon cumin 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 cup of black beans 1 cup of sauce 1 cup cooked brown rice 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese Chopped chives and fresh coriander
Cover a 9 × 13 baking dish with coconut oil. Place the peppers, cut them up, on the plate. Heat the coconut oil on the stove and cook the onion until smooth. Add the bison and spices. Add the beans, the sauce and the rice. Fill each pepper with the mixture. Cover the plate with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, cover with cheese and bake until the cheese melts. Top with scallions and cilantro.
Hot Pepper And Avocado
This salad is great combined with organic roast chicken or even on its own for a light lunch or snack.
1 mature avocado, cut into cubes 1 large pepper, cut into cubes ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half 2 green onions, sliced 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro Juice of one lemon Salt and pepper
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy.
Sweet Pepper Breakfast Smoothie
I love to drink this in the morning for a burst of energy.
1 medium banana, fresh or frozen peeled 1 can (8 ounces) of pineapple, drained 1? 2 cups red pepper, seeded and chopped 2 cups frozen mixed berries 1 cup filtered water
Add all the ingredients to a blender and mix well. Serve immediately.
Reference: https://www.naturallivingideas.com/growing-bell-peppers/, by Susan Patterson
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