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how to plant pepper


Nov 10, 2022

There are over twenty species of peppers in the Capsicum genus, but only five species are commonly cultivated. Its spicy-tasting fruits are highly appreciated in the cuisine of several regions of the world, but not all cultivars produce the substances that generate the burning sensation or produce them in sufficient quantity to make the fruit spicy. The cultivars of these species whose fruits are not spicy are known as sweet peppers, which despite the name, do not necessarily have a sweet taste, they just do not have a spicy flavor. Bell peppers or peppers are sweet peppers from a group of cultivars of one of these pepper species. Pepper is also widely used for medicinal purposes and there are many pepper cultivars that are grown as ornamental plants.

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how to plant pepper full tips

Capsaicin and some other related substances called capsaicinoids are responsible for the sting of these peppers. These substances, which are only present in the fruits and are not present inside the seeds, activate nervous sensors sensitive to heat and abrasion, hence the burning sensation, without causing any real burn in the body. In moderate amounts, their intake can lead to a feeling of well-being, thanks to the endorphins produced by the central nervous system in response to the stimulus generated by the presence of these substances. But pepper can also easily produce very unpleasant sensations, both when ingested and when handled. Drinking milk or washing the area with milk is an effective way to relieve the burning sensation. Ingested in quantity, peppers can cause health problems such as nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

The concentration of capsaicin and other capsaicinoids in the fruit is one of the factors that determine its burning. Another factor is which of these substances are present in the fruit. Each of these substances has a slightly different effect and burning sensation (there are 14 known capsaicinoid alkaloids, including capsaicin, which is the most common). So pepper cultivars can be more or less hot, and even different peppers that are on the same hotness scale can produce different sensations, depending on which of these alkaloids are present and what their respective concentrations are.

A hotness rating of peppers is given by the Scoville scale. First, it was a subjective scale, where a certain amount of extract of some pepper was diluted in increasing amounts of water and sugar until some people could no longer detect the stinging of the solution. The amount of water needed until the solution was no longer described as spicy by the tasters gave the amount of Scoville units of the tested pepper cultivar. For example, if the extract needed to be diluted in 10,000 parts of water, the pepper in question was said to have a “heat degree” or sting of 10,000 Scoville heat units. Currently, high-performance liquid chromatography is used to determine the concentrations of capsaicinoids present in pepper extracts, and the graduation is given by the pungency units of the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA), although these can be converted to heat units of Scoville (1 ASTA pungency unit multiplied by 15 is a Scoville heat unit).

An important observation to be made about any pepper heat scale is that the values ​​presented for each cultivar are average values ​​obtained from some samples. Environmental and cultivation factors influence the number of capsaicinoids present in the fruits so that the real degree of heat of a new pepper sample can be both higher and lower than the value found in the tables for that particular cultivar.

Most cultivated species of pepper

Capsicum annum – This is the most cultivated pepper species in the world. Its flowers are white (a few cultivars have purple flowers) and there is only one flower per node. Bell peppers are a group of cultivars of this species that do not produce capsaicinoids in the fruits. There are a large number of cultivars of this species, and some of the most famous groups are, in addition to bell peppers, cayenne pepper, jalapeño or jalapeño, banana pepper, Thai pepper, ancho, chiltepin, guajillo, cascabel, shishito or Japanese pepper, peperoncino or peperoncini, Peter pepper, serrano, and mulatto.

Capsicum baccatum – A feature that distinguishes this species easily from the others is that its flowers are white, but the petals have yellowish or greenish spots. It includes, among others, girl’s finger pepper, camera pepper, campus pepper or bishop’s hat pepper, pitanga pepper, and Lemon drop.

Capsicum Chinese – despite the scientific name, it is also native to the American continent (originating from the Amazon Basin). The fruits usually have a characteristic aroma, there are two or more white flowers per node, and the anthers of the flowers are purple. These are the hottest peppers known. Includes Gurupi pepper, chili pepper, goat pepper, pout pepper and Habanero, Bhut Jolokia, Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Scorpion, Scotch bonnet, and Fatalii peppers.

Capsicum frutescens – The fruits of this species typically grow erect (although there are pepper plants of other species that also have fruits that are not pendulous, growing erect). There are two or more flowers per node and the flowers are greenish-white or greenish-yellow, with purple or bluish anthers. Includes chili pepper and tabasco.

Capsicum pubescent – it is the most different species, the leaves are pubescent (have hairs) and the seeds are dark. Its flowers are purple. It is considered a more difficult pepper to grow. Includes Rocoto and Manzano peppers. Some other pepper species are sometimes cultivated as well, but this cultivation is generally restricted to a few places on the American continent where these plants are native.

The temperature range from 16°C to 35°C is suitable for most species and cultivars. Most of these pepper plants are tropical or subtropical plants and grow best in warm climates, but pepper plants of the Capsicum pubescens species and some cultivars of other species that are adapted to milder climates grow best in temperatures below 26°C. None of these plants can withstand frost and long periods of low temperatures.

The pepper plant grows best in high light conditions, with direct sun. In very hot locations it can be beneficial to provide partial shade during the hottest hours of the day.

Ideally, the soil should be light, well-drained, fertile, and rich in organic matter. As for soil pH, pepper plants generally tolerate a pH between 4.5 and 8, but ideally a pH between 5.5 and 7.

The pepper plant must be watered frequently to keep the soil moist, but it must never remain soggy.

Pepper seeds can be sown directly in the final location, but the most common is to sow them in seedbeds, cups or plastic or paper bags. The seeds should be approximately 0.5 cm deep in the soil. The seeds can also be placed on blotting paper or other absorbent paper always kept moist and in a warm place, until germination, when they are then carefully transferred to the soil and covered with a light layer of loose soil. In soil, seeds usually germinate in 1 or 2 weeks with temperatures around 28°C to 30°C, but seeds may have dormancy and may take a long time to germinate, especially if the temperature is mild (less than 20°C). Ç). The transplant to the definitive location is done when the seedlings reach 8 to 10 cm in height.

The recommended spacing varies with the size of the pepper plant and the growing conditions. Generally, adequate spacing is between 20 cm and 60 cm between plants, with grow lines spaced from 60 cm to 120 cm. Pepper can be grown easily in pots, but these must be of an appropriate size for the size of the pepper plant that will be grown.

Remove invasive weeds that are competing for resources and nutrients. Some cultivars need staking to keep the plants from tipping over. In this case, tie the plants to wooden stakes, but without restricting the growth of the stems. When picking or handling the fruits of cultivars that are spicy, it is very important to wear gloves. If hot peppers are handled without gloves, do not touch the eyes, nose, mouth, or other parts of the body without first cleaning your hands thoroughly. Water is not efficient to remove capsaicin from the skin, as this substance is not soluble in water. However, it is soluble in alcohol and in oil.

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