Add Heat to Your Home Garden


The options of what to do with fresh hot peppers are endless, and if you enjoy adding a touch a heat to your meals, growing your own pepper plant is worth doing! Imagine having access to fresh, hot peppers right at home. Growing your favourite kind of pepper not only gives you all the fresh peppers you can handle, but the plant itself adds a nice decorative touch to your garden, balcony, or window sill.

With countless varieties, hot peppers can provide a volume of flavour and heat to any dish. Whether you enjoy a small kick to your meal that's more sweet than spicy, or crave the fiery sting of the ghost pepper, there is a pepper waiting to be planted at your home. Adding a touch of heat from hot peppers to your regular dishes, whether you're making tomato sauce, meat, fish, or even salad can provide a nutritional punch.


Health Benefits

Each type of pepper is packed with loads of benefits. The compound in hot peppers that causes them to be so hot is called capsicum. Capsicum has many beneficial properties and is often used in medication as an aid for pain relief. Its anti inflammatory properties, useful in medication, are also effective when ingested. Eating them regularly is thought to aid in heart health and lead to anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. Additionally, hot peppers are high in antioxidant carotenes and flavonoids, and contain more vitamin C than is found in citrus fruits.

This doesn't mean you need to eat a whole pepper every day and suffer through the intense sting. Adding small amounts of hot peppers or even sweet peppers at a level that you can handle is all that it takes!


Varieties of Peppers

If you can't bear to eat spicy food, don't worry because the same benefits can be found in sweet peppers as well. Finding the pepper that works for you is your first step in getting all the nutritional benefits.

There are many different kinds of hot peppers that not only look different but vary in flavour and spice level. The heat of each kind of pepper is measured on the Scoville scale. A bell pepper has an SHU rating of 0, Italian Pepperoncini has an SHU of 100 500, Jalapenos have an SHU from 2,500 8,000 and Habaneros SHU can range from 100,000 350,000. Choose your spicy heat!


Planting

Hot peppers are incredibly easy to plant and grow; and June is a good time to take a trip to your local garden center to pick out the pepper plant that suits you. Planting a garden does not always require you to have a large yard with elaborate garden space, and this is especially true if you are looking to plant peppers.

Best planted in a pot or a well soiled area that gets full sunlight during the day, once you get your plant in the ground and add some regular watering and T.L.C, you'll have beautiful little peppers in no time. Full sun helps the soil stay at the right temperature, and pepper plants love warm soil as it helps their roots soak up the nutrients needed to flourish. They also use the heat and sunlight to change colour as they mature. Always starting out green, the longer you leave the pepper on the plant the more the colour will change and gain more nutrients.

When ready, you can pick your peppers and cook with them, chop them up for garnish, hang to dry for later, or even bottle in some oil to use as you like. It's time to get planting!


- Nadia Mariotti









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