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Peppers don’t have that spicy image for nothing! Peppers are an excellent way to spice up otherwise bland dishes. Peppers are fruits of small perennial shrubs in the nightshade (solanaceae) family and belong to the genus, capsicum. The bell pepper or sweet pepper is the most popular type of pepper. The small spicy varieties are commonly called chili peppers. In the United States, bell peppers add sweet flavor to hundreds of popular dishes, from crisp salads to savory pizza and vegetable-laden stir-fries.
Nutritional Content of Peppers
All peppers are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, but the red varieties are simply bursting with them. Peppers are low in calories and fats, while being nutrient dense, containing fiber and providing numerous vital components. Peppers also contain capsaicin, a plant alkaloid that has numerous health benefits.
Health Benefits of Peppers
1. Promotes weight loss: Both hot and sweet peppers may enhance weight loss efforts owing to capsaicin which boosts and speeds up metabolism. In addition, the fiber content and its low calorific value make them useful in weight loss diets.
2. Reduce risk of cancer: Consumption of green, yellow and red peppers regularly provides the body with vitamin A and vitamin C that fights free radicals and other sources of cell damage. Peppers also contain lycopene, a nutrient known to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. Also, capsaicin has been shown to have some anti-carcinogenic properties.
3. Prevents cardiovascular diseases: Peppers help protect against cardiovascular diseases if they are regularly consumed owing to the beneficial action of capsaicin and other important phytonutrients and antioxidants found in peppers.
4. Control cholesterol: A study showed that adding hot chilies to daily meals may protect against the buildup of cholesterol in the blood.
5. Antioxidant nature: The high amount of nutrients and vitamins in peppers including vitamin C boosts the immunity system and lowers the risk of diseases such as arthritis.
6. Anti-inflammatory properties: Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which will lavish one with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
7. The capsaicin in peppers has multiple health benefits. Capsaicin has been studied for its bad cholesterol reduction, ability to control diabetes, bring relief from pain and relieve inflammation.
8. The vitamin B6 in peppers is essential for the good functioning of the nervous system and helps renew cells.
9. Promote eye health: Peppers are excellent sources of lutein and zea-xanthin, nutrients that help ward off the development of eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. Peppers are also packed with beta-carotene which is known for its ability to promote good vision and eye health.
10. Prevent Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases: Studies have shown that peppers have a great potential in fighting against neurological diseases.
We got an interesting “Ask Bryan” question today from Nick, a gardener in New York, who wrote this:
In looking to be more of a gardener and less of a consumer/dependent on
grocery stores, I started gardening. And over the last 3 years I have
gotten the knack down for what to do and how to do it better yet I know
I’m nowhere near knowing it all. So I come to you. Can I, with success,
create an indoor garden in my basement for over the winter? I live in NY
and the reason I ask this is I would love to buy heirloom seeds from you,
plant them and grow them over the winter and thus capture the best of the
best seeds from that harvest to use for that upcoming spring. Am I able to
pollinate a plant indoors without insects? What would I need to keep a 2
tomato plants and 2 pepper plants alive, vibrant and super healthy to make
it through a winter in NY?
So, here’s our answer!
Here’s a link to an article on our blog about growing seedlings indoors.
To grow your seedlings to the food stage indoors, we’re going to tweak the
above a little bit. Here goes: First of all, to grow successful tomato and
pepper crops indoors your temps inside where the plants are growing need
to optimally stay between 68-72 degrees. They can vary slightly on the low
side of those temps (no lower than 50 degrees), and can go up to 88
degrees for short periods; however, 68-72 degrees is optimal and will
ensure that your pollen is most potent.
In terms of pollinating without insects, no problem since both of these
plants are self-pollinating. However, shaking the blooms a little by
tapping the vines where there are blooms lightly before 11:00 in the
morning every day will ensure proper pollination.
Follow the raising and lowering of the lights exactly how it’s explained
in the seedling article; however, mature plants are going to need a rest
period. So, once the plants are approximately 2-3 months old and you can
see they are wanting to bloom (or start prior to 2-3 months if you start
to see any blooms). At this point, shut off the lights for 8 hours or so a
day to fool the plant into thinking it’s going through a night. This will
Now, we have to address the soil issue, because in the seedling article
you are growing in a soilless mix, which is ideal for seedlings but
doesn’t provide enough nutrients for a plant to produce full-size,
flavorful fruit. So, what we need to do is transplant your seedlings at
around 10 weeks into containers that are at least 3 gallons or larger.
Add some organic potting soil to the bottom, then add some MegaBone or
MegaStart into the pot, add your plant, then fill to the top of the soil
line with more organic potting soil.
Here’s a helpful hint: If you choose 3 different cherry size tomatoes,
then you can transplant all 3 into one container. For larger varieties,
then just one transplant per container. Here is a large sampling of heirloom tomato seeds if you want to check it out. Same with heirloom pepper seeds. If you go with a few elongated, smaller-type frying peppers then you can get away with 3
varieties per container (like Sweet Banana, Jimmy Nardello, Super
Shepherd, Garden Salsa, etc. But only plant sweets with sweet, and hots
In terms of organic soil amendments and feeding your plant, spray the leaves of your plants each week with
MegaSea, and rootfeed with MegaFish every 2 weeks. Use MegaPepe and
MegaMator as a soil side dress each week as well to ensure you can really
pull off a good crop indoors.
Keep us posted on how it goes, Nick! And send us some photos. What a fabulous idea!
Bryan and Kim