Cayenne

Originally from Cayenne in French Guiana, cayenne pepper is a member of the plant genus, capsicum, which includes the bell pepper, paprika, and green chilies. Cayenne pepper, also known as red pepper, is known to be one of the hottest pepper spices. Cayenne Pepper has many names, including hot flame, devil's tongue, red bird pepper, African pepper, cockspur pepper and goat*s pepper.The fiery taste and bright red appearance of cayenne pepper make it a popular culinary spice. But recently, this herb has received recognition as a powerful healer. Hot peppers have been used in the tropical areas of South and Central America and Africa for somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 years. The earliest recollection of cayenne pepper in any documented form was in 1493, when Christopher Columbus* voyage. With the booming spice and herb trade taking precedence, the discovery of this hot spice was not only important, but quite exciting to herbalist around the world. A compound called capsaicin gives cayenne their fire. Many herbalists have said that if they could have only one herb to work with, they would choose capsaicin. Capsaicin is the greatest single herbal aid to circulation and can be used on a regular basis. It gets into the blood stream so fast it is capable of preventing a heart attack and it is excellent for strokes, nausea, fainting, shock, dizziness or internal or external bleeding. The active ingredient, capsaicin, is used in over-the-counter and prescription topical drug cream products for the use of painful joints, stomach problems, as a gargle, for hangover, and when a fever is present. Capsicum cream and oils relieve arthritis and aches, not just by warming and stimulating blood flow, but also by blocking pain transmission by nerves. This chemical relieves pain and itching by acting on sensory nerves. Capsaicin temporarily stimulates release of various neurotransmitters from these nerves, leading to their depletion. Without the neurotransmitters, pain signals can no longer be sent. The effect is temporary. Cayenne pepper is also used for toothache, in the relief of cluster headaches, and cayenne pepper tea is used for the common cold. Cayenne dramatically drops blood sugar levels and should by avoided by hypoglycemics. Cayenne promotes excretion of cholesterol through the intestines. Capsaicin and other constituents in cayenne have been shown to have several other actions, including reducing platelet stickiness and acting as antioxidants. Cayenne is high in vitamins A and C, are very nutritious. Because of its vitamin C and beta-carotene content, it helps improve eyesight. Bursitis, diabetic neuropathy, osteoarthritis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, shingles (herpes zoster), and postherpetic neuralgia may be helped as well.

The trick to growing hot peppers is getting them to germinate. I have heard of soaking the seeds in water with a little salt added. I have not had much luck with this method. What I have found is that soil temperature of your starter flats seem to cause the seeds to germinate so much better. 80° F to 85°F (27° C to 29° C ) is optimal. 70° F (21° C) will work it just takes them longer. At cooler temperatures the seeds may rot before they germinate. Places such as the top of a refrigerator or water heater may be warmer than most of your house. Light is not needed until the seedlings first appear.

After the first leaves appear move them to a sunny spot. Give them a drink of manure tea, or weak fish emulsion once a week. Plant roots need air as much as they need water, choose a light, well drained soil to be sure they get both. Gradually expose the seedlings to the outside environment, starting in a shaded environment and slowly exposing them to more sunshine. Don*t let them dry out or burn. After a few days to a week they will be ready to transplant 10-15" apart. Wait until daytime temperatures average 70°F (21°C), and nighttime temperatures are above 55°F (12°C) to transplant. Peppers hate cold feet, and will just sit and sulk if the soil is not warm. One trick to heat your soil for peppers is to thoroughly prepare the soil for planting, then cover the soil with clear plastic. This will allow sunlight to reach the soil, and trap the heat. You can start this very early in the spring. A bonus to this is that the warmth will cause weed seeds to germinate, and then the intense heat will kill the weeds. Two or three weeks after the last frost, remove the plastic, and set in your pepper plants without disturbing the soil any more than necessary to avoid turning up new weed seeds.

Peppers do well without much added nitrogen, but they need a good supply of magnesium. When I plant out my seedlings I put a couple of tablespoons of Epsom salts in the planting hole. When the plants start to blossom, spray them with a weak solution of epsom salts. This provides magnesium which will help the plants produce dark green leaves and an abundance of peppers. Water them well in hot dry weather. Some say that allowing the plants to dry to almost wilting will increase the heat of the fruit, do not try this unless you can track the condition of your plants very carefully, peppers will not survive bone dry soil for very long. Avoid watering in the late evening hours. The foliage should be kept as dry as possible. If you notice blossoms dropping of your pepper plant, temperature may be the reason. The pepper is a warm season vegetable. It grows and produces fruit when the soil and air temperatures are warm. The temperature range for fruit set is quite narrow. When nighttime temperatures fall below 60° F (15°C) or above 75° F (23°C), blossoms are likely to drop and fruit will not set. Daytime temperatures above 90° F (32°C), will also inhibit fruit set, but fruits will again begin to form when cooler daytime temperatures appear.

Protect them from cut worms by taking a small plastic soda bottle and cutting the top and bottom off. Push the plastic ring down into the soil around the plant. These can be washed in a mild bleach solution and re-used every year. Avoid planting peppers where related plants-tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes have grown in the last three years. Peppers shouldn't follow soybeans or peanuts either. Don't let tobacco users handle your pepper plants without washing their hands first. The virus that causes tobacco mosaic, which affects peppers, survives the cigarette manufacturing process. A lot of pepper diseases are fungal and most are seed borne. If you can't purchase certified seed, then you can sterilize seeds by soaking in a bleach solution prior to planting. If you are susceptible to soil borne diseases like southern blight, try turning your soil very deeply to bury old crop residue that may contain disease-causing organisms.

All peppers are perennials and can be grown in containers and brought indoors when frost threatens. Or dug and potted up for the winter. If you live in a dry climate you can preserve your peppers by air drying them. Leave them on the plant and hang the whole she-bang upside down until dry. If you live in a humid climate, you*ll need a dehydrator. You can use your oven too, on very low setting. Be careful to wear gloves when handling, chopping, peeling, etc. If you grind up the dried peppers, the dust can be an irritant as well. You can freeze peppers, although the texture is not the same, they will retain their heat and flavor.

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Deer are attractive to look at, but they're the bane of many a gardener's existence: they like to nibble on the tender shoots or flowers of a great many plants, and they can decimate a garden overnight. They've learned that gardens on the edges of populated areas provide a reliable food supply. Though deer aren't picky eaters, strong-smelling and unpleasant-tasting plants are the last to go. The animals' tastes seem to vary from area to area, so check with your Cooperative Extension Office for a list of plants least likely to appeal to the local deer population.

Fencing is the most certain protection. Fences should be 7 to 8 feet high on level ground, up to 10 feet high if the garden is on a slope.Chicken-wire cylinders will protect individual young plants. Motion sensors that activate water-spraying hoses when deer arrive at night are sometimes effective.

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Brandie

"I have found, through years of practice, that people garden in order to make something grow; to interact with nature; to share, to find sanctuary, to heal, to honor the earth, to leave a mark. Through gardening, we feel whole as we make our personal work of art upon our land."

 

 

 

 

 
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