Patsy Bell Hobson is a garden writer and a travel writer. For her, it's a great day when she can combine the two things she enjoys most: gardening and traveling. Visit her personal blog at http://patsybell.com/ and read her travel writings at http://www.examiner.com/x-1948-Ozarks-Travel-Examiner.
You still have time to start peppers from seed. I'm growing several chilies and a few different mild or bell peppers. The sweet pepper that caught my attention this year is the baby bell pepper. The plants are compact and heavy producers. Baby bells are a good choice for containers.
Left: Cheese-stuffed peppers make a tasty snack. Photo by Pille, courtesy Nami-Nami.
Right: Stuffed yellow peppers are easy to make. Photo courtesy Burpee.
As you plant peppers, stake or cage them. Pepper plants tend to be brittle and the stems can snap in heavy winds or storms. These cute little peppers can be used fresh or cooked in summer recipes. Leave peppers growing on the plants until their color is bright and the peppers are well ripened for the sweetest flavor.
Peppers, like tomatoes, are native to the Americas. This new baby bell pepper will be pretty served grilled, stuffed as tapas or on an antipasta tray. My little baby bell pepper plants are just about 2 inches tall and looks just like any other pepper plant. Baby pictures will be delivered about the time tomatoes start coming on.
There are truly a rainbow of colors for bell peppers. The green peppers are not as sweet and sometimes more bitter than the red, yellow or orange peppers. Belle peppers are at their sweetest when allowed to ripen on the plant in full sun.
Red peppers have more vitamins and nutrients and contain the antioxidant lycopene. The level of carotene, another antioxidant, is nine times higher in red peppers. Red peppers also have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers. Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamins C and A. One raw pepper provides more vitamin C than one cup of orange juice.
The red and yellow baby belle peppers are beautiful together
on an antipasto plate or in a large summer salad.
Photo courtesy Renee's Garden.
This pepper seed is easy to find. Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co., Johnny's Selected Seeds and Renee's Garden and many other catalogs offer baby bell peppers. But if you don't want to find them on your own, enter my giveaway! I'm excited to announce another giveaway: Renee is giving away baby belle pepper seed packets, which contain both red and yellow peppers, to three lucky Herb Companion readers. Winners will be chosen randomy and announced after they have been notified. Good luck!
HOW TO ENTER:
• Post a comment below that shares how you would like to use baby bell peppers in your home. Courtesy Renee's Garden.
End date: May 9, 2010 (12:00 AM, Central Time) UPDATE: Time's up!
And the winners are...
Eileen Pepel in Staten Island, New York
Linda Baylis in Lockhart, Texas
Teresa Dix in Marion, Indiana
Winners were chosen using www.random.org. Thanks to everyone who entered my Garden Giveaway! Watch out for even more giveaways.