This week I wrote about how to grow hot peppers, both in the ground and in containers, on the Attainable Sustainable Blog. Hot Peppers or Capsicum are unbelievable herbs. They are useful as a synegist herb to help other herbs work better in any medicinal herbal blend. They increase circulation and metabolism. They promote perspiration. They can be a first line of defence for sore throats and nasal congestion. If you can take the heat, a pinch of cayenne on the tongue with a bit of water can work wonders to get your head cleared. Almost as well as a teaspoon of horseradish.
Medicinally speaking, while an herbal blend may call for cayenne, you can use any hot pepper. The amount of heat in a hot pepper varies, with some being hotter than others.
How to Grow Hot Peppers
Hot peppers, from the Capsicum family, are the International Herb of the year for 2016. Hot peppers come in a large range of shapes, colors, and spiciness. From mild to the hottest ghost pepper, there are peppers for every purpose. Peppers can be preserved by fermenting, pickling, drying, and freezing, and they can be eaten fresh. You can stir fry them, stuff them, sauce them, and bake them. The hotter peppers are ideal for infusing in oil, vinegar, or vodka for spicy condiments, to use in Mexican, Thai, or Indian cooking. Milder peppers are eaten raw on vegetable trays and in salads.
How to grow hot peppers
Hot peppers are grown from seed. Ideally, start peppers indoors in pots about 8 to 10 weeks before your last frost date. Transplant them outdoors when all danger of frost has passed and nighttime temperatures remain above 50°F. If you live in a warm climate that doesn’t see frost, peppers can be grown as short lived perennials once you get them started.
Peppers can be finicky to get started, so I recommend starting them indoors in pots, rather than planting them directly in the ground. Presoak the seeds, and then be patient as they get started. It can take a week or up to three weeks before you see life in the seedling pot. A sprinkle of cinnamon on the soil surface will inhibit damping off while you wait.
Once they have 2 to 4 true leaves you can transplant them into larger pots. Give them good full spectrum supplemental light so they don’t become leggy.
For complete instructions on growing and harvesting hot peppers see my post on Attainable Sustainable.