One of the easiest things to grow in Oklahoma is bell peppers. Since there are thousands of varieties, almost everyone can find at least one or two that they like to eat and cook with. They don’t take up too much space in your garden and are heat-loving plants. They do well in raised beds and containers and add color and interest. They are big producers, easily justifying the land they occupy.
If you’re looking to grow common varieties of peppers, you’ll most likely find them in the spring at any local garden center or nursery. However, if you want to venture into the big, wide world of peppers, you’ll enjoy buying seeds and creating some yourself. One of my favorite websites to check out for peppers is Pepper Joe’s . I also like shopping at Baker’s Creek Seeds because they offer old varieties whose seeds I can save and replant in the future.
Peppers are known for their heat, and when left to ripen on the vine they are the hottest. However, there are several varieties that rank very low on the Scoville scale, including bell pepper, and can even be enjoyed by children.
Peppers should be planted 18 to 24 inches apart in rich, well-drained soil. They need full sun, which means they need six to eight hours a day. Peppers are somewhat heavy feeders, so make sure your soil is made up of quality compost. They require regular watering, but the ancients say that if you deprive them of water, they will get hotter. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it’s an interesting women’s story.
I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out, but did you know that when peppers are fresh their name is one thing, but when they ripen and are dried their name changes? For example, when fresh, our favorite pepper to use in salsa is called a Jalapeno, but when that same pepper turns red and is dried, it is known as a Chipotle pepper. Once a fresh Poblano pepper is dried, it becomes known as an Ancho pepper, and the common Anaheim pepper, when dried, becomes known as a Colorado pepper.
Although fresh, a pepper offers certain qualities, but when dried, it brings a whole new set of characteristics to the culinary table, literally! Although it is fresh, it can be used in many different ways, but once dried, it takes on a fresh start, a fresh start. During the drying process, a transformation takes place and it can literally be used in whole new ways.
As I reflected on this conversion process, it made me think of times in the Bible when God changed someone’s name. Abram became Abraham, Saul became Paul, Simon became Peter. As they were transformed from their lost and fallen state to become redeemed disciples of God, He changed their names. They had a fresh start, a fresh start. Now He could use them in whole new ways for His glory.
In Revelation 2:17 we read:Let him who has ears hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give hidden manna, and I will give him a white pebble, and a new name written on the pebble which no one knows except the one who receives it.“Just think, one day in Heaven, God is going to give a gift, a white stone to each person who ‘overcomes’. On that stone their new name will be written. It will be a special name that only that person and God will know. Wow !
This summer, as you work in your garden and tend to your peppers, stop and think how good it is that people and peppers have a new name! Pray and ask God to help you be one of the “overcomers”, then wait excitedly to see what your new name in heaven will be. God is all about gifts and new beginnings, and He uses the most common things, like peppers, to remind us of that.