Bell peppers and chili peppers are common staples that add flavor and color to your meals. They’re also easy to grow, even in small spaces.
The heat of peppers is measured in Scoville heat units. A green pepper scores a zero on the scale, jalapeño peppers earn around 2,500 to 4,000 and Mexican habaneros, 200,000 to 500,000 units.
There are many different types of peppers, from sweet to flaming hot, making more than one variety useful in a single dish, adding complexity to the flavors. Popular pepper varieties include bell, Chile, banana, Hungarian, cayenne, jalapeno, Serrano, habañeros and others.
Below, I’ll summarize growing tips for bell peppers1,2,3 and hot chili peppers,4,5 both of which are useful additions to a well-stocked home garden. I personally grow red bell peppers, habaneros and Thai chili peppers and love them all.
Uses and Medicinal Value of Peppers
Green, red and yellow bell peppers all contain phenolic compounds, ascorbic acid, carotenoids and free radical scavenging activity.
Green peppers have the highest phenolic activity but lower carotenoid content than the red and yellow varieties. Red peppers have the highest ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and a higher level of free radical scavenging activity.
The active ingredient in hot chili peppers is capsaicin, which is what makes your mouth burn and gives the peppers their pungent odor. The smaller the pepper the hotter it tends to be.
The endorphin rush capsaicin triggers makes this compound an effective remedy for pain and other medical conditions.
Research also suggests it helps shrink fat tissue,6 inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells,7 and may even reduce your risk of Parkinson’s disease by nearly 20 percent when eaten regularly. Chili peppers also contain other beneficial bioactive plant compounds, including:8,9
- Capsanthin. This is the primary carotenoid (antioxidant) in red chili peppers, giving them their red color and typically accounting for up to 50 percent of the spice’s antioxidant content
- Lutein. Most plentiful in immature (green) chili peppers, it has been shown to help maintain and improve eye health10
- Violaxanthin. It is the main carotenoid found in yellow chili peppers, which accounts for 37 to 68 percent of their total content
- Sinapic acid. Also known as sinapinic acid, this antioxidant is known for its neuroprotective potential11
- Ferulic acid. This compound has shown promise in protecting against diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases12
Growing Bell Peppers: Preparation
Whether you’re growing bell peppers from seed or using store-bought seedlings, begin by selecting and preparing the site. Peppers need lots of sun and grow best in deep, loamy, well-drained soil where peppers have not previously been grown, so move them around your garden if growing several years in a row.
Add about 1 inch of compost to the soil, but avoid adding too much nitrogen, as this can cause excessively rapid growth, making the plants larger and bushier but less productive and more prone to disease.
If growing from seed, start the seeds indoors eight to 10 weeks before your last frost date. You can find frost dates for your local area by checking The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which is available online.13 Soak the seeds in lukewarm water for a few hours and keep the seed tray in a warm spot to encourage germination.
Before you transplant your seedlings into your garden, gradually expose them to outdoor conditions. By reducing stress, the plants will become larger and more productive.
Begin by placing them in an area sheltered from high wind and excessive sun exposure for a few hours a day for three or four days once daytime temperatures are consistently in the mid-60s. Over the following week, slowly increase the number of hours you leave them outdoors.
Pepper plants grow best in warm soil, so if the garden bed is still cool, warm the soil by placing a dark landscape paper over the area. Also make sure all threat of frost is over and nighttime temperatures are above 60 F before planting them in the ground.
Growing Bell Peppers: Transplanting and Harvesting
Space the plants 12 to 16 inches apart and stake taller varieties to protect the stems from breaking as they grow. If planting several varieties, separate them by at least 500 feet to prevent cross-pollination. Also keep them separate from other plants in the nightshade family, such as tomatoes and eggplants.
Water frequently, giving the plants at least 1 inch of water per week, or up to 1 gallon per day during hot, dry weather. Adding mulch will help retain moisture and normalize the soil temperature. Just remember they do like warm soil, so if temperatures are on the low end, mulching can actually make the soil too cool, which will stunt growth.
If daytime temperatures are below the mid-80s you may also want to consider a covered dome to retain heat. Should the weather get too hot, on the other hand, you may need to provide some shade to protect the fruit from sun scald. Staking up a piece of shade cloth should be sufficient.
Planting them 12 to 16 inches apart will also allow the leaves of the plants to touch, creating a natural canopy to protect the fruit from excessive sun exposure.
As the plant grows and begins to bloom, pinch off the first early blossoms. While this may sound counterintuitive at first, doing this will redirect the energy toward growth, allowing you to get more and larger fruits later. Leaving these early blossoms on will result in just a few small, early fruits.
Once the plant starts bearing fruit, side dress with organic fertilizer. Phosphorous is needed for fruit production while too much nitrogen will cause the plant to grow too fast and produce less fruit, so make sure your fertilizer has more phosphorous than nitrogen.
Once the bell pepper has matured on the vine and is turning its designated color (whether yellow, red, green or purple), harvest your peppers by cutting them off with hand pruners.
Yanking them off by hand can damage the plant. While they can be harvested at an immature stage and allowed to ripen on your counter, allowing them to fully ripen on the vine will improve the flavor.
Growing Chili Peppers 101
Growing chili peppers takes about six months so you should plant them by May, although starting early is recommended so the plant will ripen just in time for summer. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for growing chilies:
- Fill a multi-cell seed tray with rich organic soil. Gently tamp it down and moisten with water. Place a seed in each cell, then lightly cover with a thin layer of soil. Water gently using a fine mist spray, then cover with cling wrap and store in a warm area of your home. The soil should be moist but not soaked.
- After two to four weeks, at the first sign of growth, move the seedlings to a warm, well-lit place, but out of direct sunlight. Water the plant from below to strengthen the roots, and check daily to ensure the surface is moist.
- Once the seedlings sprout a second set of leaves, transplant into 2- or 3-inch pots with moist soil and use liquid tomato as a weekly feeding.
- When the plants reach a height of 4 to 5 inches, transplant into larger pots, and stake the plants once they’re 7 or 8 inches tall.
- Once the plants are about 12 inches tall, pinch off the tips right above the fifth set of leaves to encourage bushiness. Transplant to a larger pot if needed and make sure to check the plant daily for aphids. (If aphids are present, follow the instructions provided in the section below.)
- When flowers appear, gently dab a cotton swab into each flower to pollinate.
- Cut off the first chilies while still green to encourage fruiting all season long (July to October).
How to Address Aphids
Aphids are typically found in the folds between leaves. Simply spraying them off with cool water can help. Ladybugs and syrphid fly larvae14 (also known as hover flies or flower flies; often mistaken for bees and wasps) are natural predators that can quickly suppress an aphids infestation. You can tell you have active syrphid fly populations in your garden if you see black oily smears on plant foliage. This is the excrement of the larvae.
If you don’t have an active syrphid fly population, you can buy live ladybugs (available online) and apply them to your garden.15 Before releasing them, refrigerate the live ladybugs for 30 minutes. It’s best to release them in the evening, so be sure to time it properly. Spray some water on the lower portion of the area infected with aphids, then sprinkle the chilled ladybugs on the lower half of the plant.
The chilling will slow the ladybug’s metabolism, basically putting them to sleep for the night. As the sun warms them up in the morning, they’ll start scavenging for food and laying eggs. So, even though many will fly away, the eggs will hatch larvae that continue feeding on the aphids, and the grown ladybugs will continue the lifecycle of laying eggs and controlling pests in your garden.
A quick note from our founder-
Over the past year, my friend Dave at PaleoHacks has been working on a secret cookbook with world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu chef Peter Servold.
Well, today this new this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE
That's right -- as a special launch promotion, we're offering our brand new Paleo fat loss cookbook to you for free (Chef Pete lost 60 lbs using these recipes!) -- All you have to do is just cover a small shipping cost (international shipping is a bit more).
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because we only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
However I promise what you'll discover today will be completely worth it.
Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
...suffocating tissue, restricting blood flow, damaging joints and infecting your healthy cells.
Shockingly, that nightmare is a reality for most:
64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
It's choking their organs, assaulting their metabolism and sucking their energy dry.
But here's the worst part:
For most, this bodyfat has become "calorie-resistant":
It's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
This zombie fat is essentially... "dead tissue".
That's important for those who have 10, 25 or 50 or more pounds to lose...
AND for those who aren't technically overweight, but have what's called "pocket obesity"...
...unsightly patches of fat that cling to specific places, like:
just above your hips, lower belly, where your butt and legs meet... and even arms, neck and face.
However, there's good news:
Obesity researchers have now discovered a "metabolic jumper cable":
It jolts dead bodyfat back to life.
This allows your metabolism to burn it as calories and re-energize your entire body.
First though, here's the #1 reason why bodyfat becomes calorie-resistant:
It lacks blood flow. This has 3 effects:
- Not enough oxygen or nutrients reach fat cells, so they become unresponsive..
- Released fat can't be sent to other tissues to be burned, so fat cells suck it back in...
- 3) Metabolic hormones carrying the "burn calories" message don't reach the fat cell...
All this means one thing:
Your body can't transform into energy, the 135,000+ of calories the average person stores as fat!
You become a metabolic zombie: NO energy to think. NO energy to move. NO energy to motivate.
Update: calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
The discovery of this "metabolic jumper cable" can now reverse this process:
- It wakes up un-responsive bodyfat with a powerful calorie-burning hormonal jolt....
- It pops open fat cells, sucks out the fat, sending it off before its yanked back in...
- It shuttles fat to your brain, heart, lungs, kidneys - even your bones - to be burned as energy.
Not only do those layers of "zombie fat" start coming off, but your entire body just works better.
Plus, as your whole body burns more calories, those patches of pocket obesity whittle away.
This "metabolic jumper cable" isn't any exercise, machine or pill.
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive.
It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know.
And on this next page, you'll find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
PS - Studies show that not only can healthy levels of this powerful calorie-burning hormone devour bodyfat and fortify soft muscle, but it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
P.S. Make sure you check out the next page to get to know the 10 simple moves that will bring vitality back into your life!
If you haven't heard of Claude Davis yet do yourself a huge favor and watch this video. He's going to be the talk of 2016.
One of the smartest guys I ever had the pleasure of meeting, Claude set-up a unique system that changed his life forever.
I already tried it myself and let me tell... you I was completely blown away... His surprising tactics could make your life easier and give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Don't just take my word for it... watch his short video and decide for yourself.
Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
Secret #1: Enjoy real food. Don’t fall for the lie that you have to deprive yourself to lose weight.
Secret #2: stop eating out. You will automatically eat less without even noticing.
Then start detoxing your body with tasty, nourishing smoothies that are just as easy on your wallet as they are easy to make.
Because a single day of enjoying Liz’ smoothies demonstrated the radical power of her superfood-packed red smoothies to make me feel incredibly good.
Now prepare yourself for one of the biggest weight loss secrets there is. A secret that, when you use it properly, can transform your body and your health.
You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
So that’s why I’m losing weight without going hungry.
Watch Liz’ free presentation. It’s packed with revolutionary weight loss information—information that works. Because it’s based on how nature.
Click the button only if you want to wear smaller clothes, breathe easier, move more freely and just plain feel better.
- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
- The “low-fat” foods that can dramatically increase your risk of cancer.
- And the superfoods that rescue your body from this assault by detoxing you…
Revitalizing your metabolism so you can Shed pounds as well as toxins, renew your body and reset your internal clock by up to 7 years.
Because until now, the Red Smoothie Detox Factor has been available only to Liz’ private clients. But now that she’s perfected it to work for almost everyone, almost every time, Liz is sharing it with rest of us so we can feel better and look better.
Get Red Smoothie Detox Factor before the price goes back up.
Because Liz offers a ridiculously good guarantee. You have 60 days to decide you love the Red Smoothie Detox Factor. If you don’t love it—for any reason, or even no reason at all —Liz will refund your money. 100%. No questions asked.
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.