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Sweet or bell peppers are one of the most widespread vegetable crops in Russia. It is grown in open unprotected ground in the southern regions and the middle lane, and in greenhouses - almost everywhere. Despite the fact that the plant is extremely thermophilic, which is not surprising, because its homeland is the tropics of Central and Latin America, the modern level of agricultural technology and high-quality selection work make it possible to obtain decent harvests of a tasty and healthy vegetable in domestic conditions.
Description and benefits of sweet pepper
The culture in question is an annual plant, with single or group leaves in the form of a rosette, usually of various shades of green. The sweet pepper flowers are large, the fruits are false hollow berries of various bright colors (from red and yellow to brown and green). A feature of sweet pepper is that it has many alternative names, most of which are actively used in everyday life - bell pepper, paprika, vegetable pepper, red or green pepper.
The main advantage of bell pepper is its excellent taste. Most varieties of vegetables are universal, that is, they can be used in various forms: salads, after heat treatment, for canning. Probably, there are no people in Russia who at least once would not try the classic stuffed peppers or the extremely popular lecho.
But when eating pepper, a person rarely thinks about its many and extremely useful properties. It is enough to list just a few of them:
- a huge amount of vitamins. In terms of the content of extremely useful vitamin C, bell peppers are the best among all vegetables, and among plants, only black currants and rose hips differ in a large amount. Also, pepper is a supplier of a very rare vitamin P, which has a beneficial effect on the work of the human cardiovascular system. According to numerous studies, with the constant use of bell pepper, the risk of stroke is almost halved - by 46%. In addition to these, the healthy vegetable also contains B vitamins;
- high content of nutrients. Potassium, magnesium, iron, iodine - they all enter the human body in the required quantities with regular consumption of sweet pepper. The rare capsoicin deserves special mention. This substance has a beneficial effect on appetite, starting and activating digestion processes. Its content is especially high in black pepper and chili, but in sweet it is quite sufficient to use it as an aperitif at the beginning of lunch or dinner;
- prevention and treatment of diseases. This point is largely a continuation of the previous two. The presence of a large amount of nutrients and vitamins allows pepper to be used as a variety of health diets. For example, it helps in the treatment of a wide variety of forms of neuralgia. In addition, studies carried out in recent years show that the constant consumption of sweet peppers significantly reduces the risk of the possible occurrence of various cancers.
The given rather large list of useful properties of pepper allows us to say with confidence that satisfaction from its excellent taste properties is far from all that it can and does give a person.
Features of growing sweet peppers
Bell pepper is a fairly thermophilic crop with a long ripening period. Based on these features, cultivation, as a rule, takes place in several stages.
The seeds used for planting seedlings can be purchased or collected by yourself. It should be borne in mind that hybrids marked with F1 are not suitable for self-harvesting of seeds, since they do not transfer their properties to the next generation.
Sowing of seeds takes place in domestic conditions at about the junction of winter and spring.
Attention! Specific terms are determined at the rate of 80-90 days before landing in the ground.
It is best to plant the seeds in separate special cups.
Caring for pepper seedlings is practically no different from caring for similar vegetable crops: regular watering, top dressing, hardening is allowed, the benefits of which do not have a consensus among experts. The optimal seedling size is 20-25 cm.
Planting in a greenhouse or open ground
Planting in greenhouses in central Russia occurs around the beginning of May. It should be noted that picking of seedlings is not performed.
Sweet pepper seedlings are planted in open unprotected ground in early June. The best precursors are onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, or eggplants. For faster growth and ripening for sweet peppers, windless places in the garden are chosen.
Before the seedlings take root, it must be covered with foil. When planting different varieties, they should be as far apart as possible in order to preserve their characteristics and differences.
Sweet Pepper Care
Agrotechnical methods of caring for bell peppers are quite traditional. The plant requires regular and fairly abundant watering, which should become even more intense during fruit ripening.
The soil should be loose, feeding is done 2 times per season - during the flowering of the vegetable and during fruiting.
Sweet peppers are quite susceptible to diseases and pests, so it is advisable to carry out preventive spraying.
Compliance with the described simple techniques will allow you to get a decent harvest of a healthy and tasty vegetable.
The best varieties and hybrids of pepper
Specialty shops offer gardeners a huge selection of a wide variety of varieties and hybrids of sweet peppers.
Bell pepper variety Apricot Favorite is intended mainly for planting in unprotected soil. However, it is often used in greenhouses, where it also shows excellent qualities. The bush of the vegetable plant is rather low, rarely grows up to 0.5 m. The shape of the peppercorns is conical. Their color changes from light green (technical maturity stage) to orange and even apricot (biological maturity stage), which is the reason for the name of the variety.
Peppers of the Apricot Favorite are quite large in size, often exceeding 150 grams. Moreover, the thickness of their walls is quite common - 7 mm. The high yield of the Apricot Favorite variety is achieved by the fact that up to 20 fruits ripen on each bush at the same time. In addition to yield, the undoubted advantage of the variety is its resistance to many of the most common diseases.
Not so long ago (in 1995), the sweet pepper variety bred by Russian breeders is currently one of the most widespread and popular. The reasons for this lie in its excellent properties and characteristics.
The bell pepper variety allows you to start harvesting in about 100-110 days, that is, it is early maturing. The bush of the plant has a compact shape, not very tall, on the trunk and branches there are a large number of leaves, bright dark green color. The peppercorns are in the form of a prism, the ribbing of the surface is weak. The size of the fruit is rather small, rarely exceeding the mass of 120 grams. The wall thickness is quite standard - 6-7 mm.
A distinctive feature of the variety is its high yield. With proper and competent care, it can reach 10 kg / sq. m. But the dignity of the variety is not limited to the yield. In addition to it, Agapovsky is able to successfully resist many of the most common diseases in domestic conditions, for example, apical rot, the tobacco mosaic virus. In addition, experts note the excellent taste properties of the variety, which are universal.
The variety Orange, which is quite common in central Russia, belongs to the mid-season. The bush of the vegetable plant is low, rarely grows above 0.45 meters. The peppercorns have a very prominent bright orange color, sometimes turning into red-orange. Their shape is rounded-elongated, with a smooth surface and no ribbing.
The bell pepper variety Orange, against the background of numerous congeners, stands out with two features at once:
- the presence of many small (up to 40 g) fruits, giving the bell pepper bush an original look;
- characteristic especially sweet taste and persistent aroma.
According to the method of consumption, the variety of bell pepper Orange is a universal one, retaining its original taste in salads and during heat treatment, as well as when canning or preparing lecho.
The variety has properties that facilitate and simplify its cultivation in the middle lane, even in open, unprotected ground. It is unpretentious in care and growing conditions, has the ability to withstand the effects of cold temperatures, and is resistant to most pests and diseases.
The California Miracle variety owes its wide popularity and distribution to its extraordinary characteristics. It is mid-season, allows you to get a harvest in less than 110-120 days. The bush of the vegetable plant is compact, but very large - its height often reaches 1 meter and more. Very powerful and resilient branches extend from the stem, so no garter is required for the plant.
The California miracle peppercorns are relatively large, each weighing 130-150 grams, and often even surpasses this figure. The variety is characterized by the fleshy structure of the insides of the fruit and their density. The color of the peppercorns is red or bright red, the shape is a regular cube, the surface of the fruit has a slight ribbing.
The sweet pepper variety is universal both in terms of the method of consumption (retains excellent taste in salads, during heat treatment and canning), and in the method of cultivation (in greenhouses and in open ground). At the same time, the taste of the California miracle is considered one of the best.
In addition to the already listed advantages, the sweet pepper variety is quite resistant to diseases, has a high and stable yield from year to year.
Sweet pepper hybrid Kakadu F1
The hybrid of sweet pepper Kakadu F1 has extremely original properties that distinguish it from most of its congeners. In terms of ripening speed, it is mid-season. The hybrid has a rare extremely tall shrub with a spreading shape and an extremely large number of leaves. Its height often reaches one and a half meters.
A hybrid of bell pepper is specially bred for growing in greenhouses, any kind of which suits it perfectly - both film, polycarbonate, and glass. Peppercorns, as a rule, have a slightly elongated shape of an elongated cylinder. The fruits are also quite large in size, often exceeding 30 cm in length, while the wall thickness is quite common - 6-8 mm. As a consequence of this size, the mass of one peppercorn can reach 0.5 kg.
The yield of this hybrid often exceeds 3 kg of fruits from one bush. It has excellent taste and is versatile in its preparation method.
An additional highlight of the hybrid is the presence of two varieties at once. In addition to the already described, and more common bright red, reminiscent of the colors of the famous parrot that gave the name to the hybrid, there is one more - with yellow peppercorns. Their size is somewhat inferior in size, but also quite large - weighing 0.3-0.4 kg and about 15 cm long. The second variety also has excellent taste.
Isabella F1 Sweet Pepper Hybrid
The main distinguishing feature of the Isabella hybrid is a fairly high yield and excellent taste. The plant is mid-season, its fruits reach technical maturity in about 120 days. Vegetable bush is tall, closed in shape.
When ripe, the peppercorns reach rather large sizes. Often their weight becomes 160 grams or more. Moreover, the fruits are relatively thick-walled - 8-10 mm. Their shape is the correct prism, the color of the peppercorns is various shades of bright red.
The fruit of the Isabella hybrid is great for fresh consumption. But they retain their taste both during canning and during heat treatment required for cooking.
Isabella, with competent and careful care, is quite capable of bringing 10 kg of fruit per sq. This does not require anything extraordinary, since the hybrid is unpretentious to growing conditions, which is an additional plus.
The choice of a particular variety or hybrid of bell pepper depends only on the wishes and preferences of the gardener. A huge offer of a wide variety of sweet pepper seeds will allow you to fulfill any of its requirements and wishes without any problems, and the right choice and compliance with the requirements of agricultural technology will allow you to get a decent harvest of an extremely useful and very tasty vegetable.