Growing Peppers in your Home Garden: How to Plant and Cultivate Hot or Sweet Peppers

It seems that every American garden grows a variety of peppers. They grow right next to the tomatoes and cucumbers and provide their sweet or hot flavor to many dinner dishes.

Americans introduced the pepper to Europeans who came to discover a New World. They grew all over South America, Central America and Mexico.

Most everyone knows what a bell pepper is. It is a common sweet pepper that comes in a variety of colors; green, yellow, purple, orange and red. Banana peppers are yellow and have an elongated nature. Pimento peppers, Sweet Cherry, Marconi, and Cubanelle Peppers are also in the sweet category.

Hot peppers include Paprika Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Hot Cherry Peppers, Poblano peppers, Serranos, and Jalapenos. Other really hot peppers are Asian peppers and Habaneros. One rule of thumb is the smaller the pepper the hotter it will be.

You can start peppers from seed but you will need to start them 6 to 8 weeks before you plan to plant them. Plant seeds, two to a hole, in potting soil. Spray water on the soil and place container inside a plastic bag to germinate. Peppers love heat and will sprout quickly by doing this. Once sprouted remove the bag and place pots where they get about 8 hours of sun per day. After they get 4 leaves (the first two aren’t really leaves, they are parts of the seed) move them outside in a protected place. Take them back indoors during the night for a few nights until they get used to temperature changes. After about a week and a half you are ready to plant them in the garden.

If you don’t have the time or resources to start peppers from seed, just get plants from your local nursery and plant after all danger of frost is over.

Peppers aren’t finicky about the type of soil in which they grow, but the soil should be well drained and receive about 6 hours of sunlight per day. Peppers will benefit from the addition of compost and peat moss to their growing area.

The best time to transplant into the garden is on a cool shady day or in the evening when the sun isn’t beating down on you or the peppers. Peppers can be planted about 1 foot apart. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the transplant and place it in the hole covering with soil. To keep slugs and other crawly pests away from your seedlings wrap a piece of newspaper around the stem and up to the leaves. Plant part of the newspaper with the roots and crawly bugs won’t bother your plants. Just make sure to keep the newspaper loose enough around the stem to not constrict growth. Water after planting and apply a layer of hay or dry grass. You can also use shredded black and white newspaper. Some pepper varieties have a problem once the fruit begins to grow and get large. They tend to break the stems with the weight of the fruit so it is a good idea to purchase bamboo stakes and begin to tie the plant to the stake as soon as it grows enough to do so. The best thing to use to tie it is panty hose.

Once your plants start to get taller you can use a 10-10-10 fertilizer per package instruction. Fertilize again when they get blossoms and again when the fruit appears. Peppers like a good amount of water. They will start to wilt when they need it so water as soon as you see them start to droop. An inch of water a week is a good rule. Be careful about the amount of nitrogen that is in your fertilizer. If you add too much the blossoms and small fruit will drop off because the nutrients will want to go into growing foliage. As said before, peppers like heat. For maximum fruit you need a temperature of 67 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Getting Back in Shape Post Pregnancy

Pregnancy is magical, yet a difficult time for any woman. Among other things, a pregnant woman goes through drastic body changes. She gains weight during the nine months of her pregnancy and then loses a portion of that weight post delivery. The weight loss isn’t necessarily equal to the weight gain, and her the figure she had spent years perfecting goes for a toss in the process.

Understandably, it is a very difficult time for any woman. None of her old clothes fit anymore, and she is left in a mess of self-loathing. In such a situation it is first and foremost important to keep in mind that body shaming is a poisonous societal pressure felt by all women. Pregnant or not, we have all experienced it. So it is important that the change in one’s body during this transitional period is embraced with positivity and maturity.

An important aspect of dealing with this situation is to have a healthy plan that will let you return to your former glory with ease and minimal stress. Firstly, don’t treat it as a necessarily harmful occurrence. You have given birth, brought a life into this world. It is a magical process, and one should be proud of what they have achieved. Let the getting back in shape be a positive process to, and one not driven by any negativity or stress. Support groups and therapy can prove to be very helpful.

Post delivery, it is important to eat a healthy balanced diet. Your body has been through a major change and needs proper nutrition. Also, you will be nursing your baby, so it is imperative that you consume nutritious food so that the breast milk is, in turn, nutritious for the baby. You will also need to maintain a minimum level of calorie intake, an average of 1800 per day.

Consult your physician and accordingly plan your diet and exercise regime. Don’t be too hasty, as your body will need some time before it is ready for rigorous exercise and diet. Be patient.

Nutritious food packed with omega-3-6-9 fatty acids and DHA are important. Cold water fish like sardines, tuna and salmon should be consumed for this. Dairy products like milk and yoghurt which are abundant in Calcium are needed to keep your bones strong. Protein rich food items like beans,  eggs, chicken and lean meat are also important.

Consume at least two to three liters of water daily, and stay well hydrated. You will tend to feel more thirsty if you are breastfeeding. It will also speed up your metabolism. Coconut water is also good during this time.

Postpartum massage can work wonders for your body. Take a package of at least a thirty-day postpartum Ayurvedic massage. It will help your body recover and prepare it for further rigorous exercise.

After consultation with your doctor and fitness expert, start exercising. A little at first, and then increase it slowly and steadily.

These pointers will help you deal with postpartum body changes and help you return to your former glory.