Growing peppers and their history
CAN I GROW PEPPERS?
Peppers are a breeze to grow. Basically, you plant them and watch them take off! But, for maximum production, a little pampering helps. Plant peppers in a bed that receives full sun. Provide a sandy loam soil that drains well and contains plenty of organic matter. Depending on the size of the pepper varieties planted, spacing should be 12-18 inches apart. Peppers can double as ornamentals, so tuck some into flowerbeds and borders. Most sweet peppers mature in 60-90 days; hot peppers can take up to 150 days. Keep in mind, however, that the number of days to maturity stated on the seed packet refers to the days after transplanting until the plant produces a full-sized fruit. You must add 8-10 weeks for the time between sowing and transplanting which means most of us will be starting pepper plants indoors in January or February!
History - Peppers were grown extensively in Central and South America, Mexico, and the West Indies long before birth of Christ. But it was Columbus and other early explorers who introduced peppers to a welcoming European market. In fact, the pepper is a major New World contribution to the cuisine of the Old World. The Europeans became so fond of peppers, they carried them throughout the known world.
By the 17th century, peppers were cultivated not only in Europe, but in much of Asia and Africa.
Oddly enough, even though peppers are indigenous to the Americas, they were not introduced to North America until they arrived with the early colonists --- something of a circuitous route!
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