Growing Bell Peppers

June 28, 2010 § 1 Comment

Bell peppers belong to the species Capsicum Annum. Bell peppers are the kind of peppers which don’t have the tang and heat of other peppers. Bell peppers are sweet. They include a receding gene that takes away the capsaicin responsible for the tang and heat. The term bell pepper is a misnomer courtesy of Christopher Columbus. Christopher thought it belonged to the black pepper family.

Bell peppers come in different sizes, shapes, tastes, and colors. In a variety of western cuisines they are considered essential in salads. Slices of bell peppers are good for snacks and they can also be added to pastas and salads. However you want them ~ stir fried, raw, or stuffed ~ they make nutritional values available.

Bell peppers are tropical plants and appreciate warm moist conditions. Although they can be grown outside in some European parts, they mature quicker and produce a better crop when grown in the greenhouse.

Bell peppers are expensive in most areas, and they are not difficult to grow. Temperature is the main thing to watch.

Sowing

When sowing the seed indoors start in mid-March. Fill a pot with standard moist multipurpose potting compost and place two seeds on the top. Cover lightly with the compost, and water the top lightly. Place the pots somewhere which has an even temperature of more than 19°C and cover to exclude light and keep in the moisture. The seedlings emerge in 15 to 20 days and as soon as they do, move them into the greenhouse. If both seeds have germinated then remove the weakest of the two seedlings. Perhaps place in another pot.

For growing them outdoors, you need to be sure that the chance of frost is long gone. A frost will either kill the plants altogether, or inhibit pepper growth so you have bare plants.

I’ve got 6 in large pots, thanks to dear neighbor Françoise, and we’re gearing to go! The weather is fine for it too.

Maintenance

They need to be kept to a temperature of at least 12°C for continued growth.

Harvesting

You can start harvesting peppers once they are three to four inches long and the fruit is firm and green. If they feel somewhat thin, they are not yet ripe. If they feel somewhat soggy, they have been left on the plant too long.

The red, yellow or orange varieties are just left on the vine longer to color. They start out green, but will have a thinner feel. Once they color, this thickens and you can pick them.

Remedies

The red kind of bell pepper contains lutein and zeaxanthin which protect against blindness. They seem to have a defensive effect against cataracts. This is perhaps due to the rich supply of vitamin C and beta carotene.

Recipes

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