Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: health

Sowing Saved Bell Pepper Seeds – Capsicum

Bell Peppers from saved supermarket seeds:

I hate to be negative but last  year I raised loads of pepper plants but didn’t harvest any edible fruits. I saved lots of seeds from bought peppers over the year and having had successful germination with saved seeds before I am once again sowing seeds of green, yellow and red bell peppers. I have obviously been doing something wrong when it comes to producing edible peppers so its back to researching the internet for growing tips for me. I have had good germination, potted on some good strong plants but sadly rarely got to eat the fruits of my labour. Below is a list of points that I gathered from my research.

Update on 17th February – One 7″ pot of moist compost sown with about 30 seeds of red, yellow and green peppers wrapped in a plastic food bag and put on the computer box for a little bottom heat. Fingers crossed.

Update Easter Sunday 1st April 2018 – The germination was amazing and today I am potting on the best twelve of the Bell Peppers grown from saved seed.

New sowing of bought seeds 1st April – I bought  new seeds of a yellow, sweet long chilli pepper. The variety is Sweet Banana from Seekay. I have sown four seeds today along with another pot of four saved seeds of a long red chilli pepper that I bought from Lidl. They were packed with seeds so I couldn’t resist saving them.

Important points to remember when growing peppers.

  •  Pepper plants are slow growing and need plenty of time to produce fruit before frost.
  • They are an ideal plant for container growing.
  • They need rich well draining soil with added calcium and regular watering.

Facts

  • Germination is 10 to 15 days
  • Harvest should  be 65 to 100 days
  • Require full sun.
  • Regular and frequent watering.
  • Rich soil with added calcium.
  • Ideal for containers.

Tips

  • To promote growth place a mat of tinfoil around the base of the plants to help the plant benefit from direct and reflective heat and light.
  • Sweet bell peppers are known for their high vitamin C, A and B6 content.
  • Plants should not be outside until the soil is warm, so start your seeds indoors in order to get a harvest before winter.
  • Find your expected last frost date and sow pepper seeds eight weeks before.

Bell peppers are some of the most versatile vegetables in the kitchen. They can be sautéed  with onions, sliced or diced in salads, soups, and casseroles. They can be stuffed, grilled, used on sandwiches, or simply sliced for a fresh, flavorful, and crunchy snack. These colourful vegetables  have a high vitamin and mineral content. Regular consumption of green peppers, which contain more than twice the vitamin C of an orange, helps protect against disease, boosts the immune system, lowers inflammation in the arteries that can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and cholesterol build up. Other nutritional benefits of bell peppers include thiamin, niacin, folate, magnesium and copper. 

Aicok Juicer

I have recently treated myself to a juicer. Initially it was to use up all the frozen berries that had accumulated in the freezer because I hadn’t been making jam. However, I am now very keen to try to consume a daily smoothie having read about the health benefits. Apparently its not just fruit that can be used up by juicing but vegetables too. My Aicok Juicer is small and was relatively cheap and is the centrifugal type.

There are two main types of juicer, centrifugal, the most popular and the cheapest and masticating cold press or slow juicers.  Centrifugal machines shred ingredients with their toothed blades on the bottom of a spinning sieve with a force that separates the juice from the pulp. They often have two speeds for hard or soft fruits and veg while pricier ones sometimes enable you to juice particularly soft fruits like berries. Centrifugal juicers generally tend to be smaller than masticating ones and work quickly. Some don’t even require you to chop fruit and veg up first. Masticating or cold press machines crush fruit and veg using slowly rotating augers that press out the juice through a punctured screen. There’s little they can’t juice but be warned, they are slower and often trickier to clean.

The next step is to discover which fruit and vegetables mix well together and which ones taste good. It seems obvious to me that any fruit and veg are healthy but not all go well together. The first experiment was made from what was available in the kitchen on that day. I had two bananas, half a pineapple and a few grapes plus a couple of scoops of Greek yoghurt and a good spoon of honey. This first try taught me something. I put everything that I was using in together through the little funnel to be juiced. Wrong!!! I should have just juiced the fruit and then added the yoghurt and honey to the smoothie afterwards. Made perfect sense after the event. I have since made juice with some frozen red currants, blackberries and raspberries that have been sitting in the freezer since last Autumn. I think I am going to love my new gadget. A few days on and although I have enjoyed quite a few smoothie drinks I am dismayed at the pulp waste which gathers in the bottom of the machine. I have given some to the chickens and composted some but am still shocked at the amount of waste created. I think citrus fruit in particular is still best done by hand in the old fashioned squeezer.

 

 

Look Up Stretch Up – 2018

I am a great believer in the benefits of Hatha Yoga and having had to have a break from it during the time I was looking after Adam I was eager to get started again. However, it was a good twelve months after he passed away before I felt strong enough to go back to my class. I knew it would take time to get back to fitness, especially at my age, but was determined to try. Now my teacher and the rest of my class mates are, to be polite, quite mature ladies. After a few weeks of puffing and panting and trying to get back to a semblance of fitness my teacher became ill. She had been battling cancer in my absence and had a relapse. At 80 years old she is still a strong woman but classes have been suspended for the foreseeable future. I am on my own. I know what I have to do but haven’t been doing it. On top of this my winter belly is stopping me from touching my toes and cutting my toenails. Drastic action is required. Advice from those who know is to practice little and often and to have a sequence or a plan in mind before you start. Quiet time, space and comfortable clothes are essential. I found the header image online so I hope the lady doesn’t mind.

Kalms – Herbal Medicine for PTSD and Insomnnia

Life, for the majority of us, is littered with tragedies and mine is no exception. Like most I have tried to count my blessings and carry on. However I have been persuaded  to get some help in the form of Kalms. Update – One month on and I have to say that the Kalms have definitely helped me to get some undisturbed sleep. I only take one at bedtime and as if by magic the flashbacks seem to be much less and some nights not there at all.
  • Kalms is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the  relief of symptoms of stress, mild anxiety,  irritability and sleep disturbances.
  • Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules is a traditional herbal medicine used for the temporary relief of  mild anxiety, stress and nervousness.
  • Kalms Night and Kalms  One-a-Night are traditional herbal medicinal products used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances.
All contain Valerian Root, Gentian and Hops.

Valerian

Valerian is a perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers that bloom in the summer. Its flower extracts were used as a perfume in the 16th century. Valerian has soothing, calming properties which counteracts anxiety and has been used traditionally to promote sleep. Valerian, also known as Valeriana officinalis, is a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. The root of the plant has long been used in herbal medicine for a variety of conditions such as sleeping difficulties, digestive complaints, anxiety and headaches.

Gentian

Gentian, one of the bitter herbs, has been used by herbalists for over two thousand years to help stimulate liver function. It was named as a tribute to Gentius, an Illyrian king who was believed to have discovered that the herb had healing properties. Gentian root herb comes from the yellow gentian plant, Gentiana lutea. This European native produces wrinkled, light to dark brown roots commonly used to make health supplements.

Hop

The hop first attracted attention as a medicinal herb in early Egypt.  It was later used in Europe to treat liver disease and general digestive complaints. Hops have a long history of use in folk medicine where they have been used to treat a variety of complaints. For example, hops are thought to have a sedative action and have been traditionally used in hop pillows for the relief of insomnia. Also, hops have been used as herbal antibiotics and were incorporated into wound salves and anti-inflammatory compresses. Hops also have a long-standing reputation for their ability to affect women’s hormonal balance, being used in hop baths to treat menstrual disturbances. The list continues, with hops being reputed to alleviate migraines, earache, bed-wetting, leprosy, travel sickness, digestive problems, kidney stones and coughing. With so many cures ascribed to one plant, it is easy to see how many viewed them as old wives tales. However, over the last few years there has been a major change in attitudes. New technologies have been developed which allow the rapid and relatively inexpensive testing of chemicals both synthetic and natural as cures for chronic diseases. As a result, pharmaceutical researchers have taken an increased interest in herbal remedies in their hunt for new medicines.

Pear – Pyrus Communis

Surprisingly the pear tree is a relative of the rose and the quince. Of our three pear trees in the garden only one has given us a decent amount of fruit this year. The Red Williams, a Minarette,  did have three baby pears but only one has reached maturity. It is a corker however and we are looking forward to next year when we may see more fruit. The Conference has no fruit at all but is a very healthy tree. The Beurre Hardy has about fourteen fruit all looking great and they should be ready to harvest soon. Late September or October is the time for picking pears I believe so it wont be long now.

Pears are a good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C, potassium and copper. A slow-releasing energy fruit, excellent for helping to balance blood sugar levels.

 

Hatha Yoga

Yoga is my latest passion. I have been thinking about trying it for years and done nothing about it but on Mother’s day this year Deb and Sean, my son and his partner, got me all enthused again. Deb has been going twice a week for about a year now and can’t recommend it enough. The lady that I was going to go to years ago, Marie, proved elusive and after much searching on the net and looking in the local papers I had all but given up when serendipity stepped in and I bumped right into her in Sainsbury’s. That was it. On the following Thursday night I presented my very stiff old body at her class and haven’t looked back since. I have been going twice a week and have made some lovely new friends as an added bonus. I feel so much better in myself after such a short time. It’s all about control, stretching and breathing and makes such sense for a lady of a certain age. Thanks Sean and Deb for the inspiration and the new yoga mat.

Hatha Yoga is a particular system of Yoga that focuses on the belief that purification of the physical body  leads to the purification of ha, the mind and tha, vital energy. Compared to the seated meditation posture it marks the development of asana, the full body postures now popular. wiki

 

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts are a good source of Thiamine, Riboflavin, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.

Today we planted up the new brassica cage with twenty Brussel Sprout plants and fifteen Cauliflowers. We gave them a feed of blood fish and bone and circled them with lime and slug pellets. I tidied up the salad tent and sowed three rows of spring onion and a row of salad leaf. I also sowed a largish pot with coriander seeds. Apart from being a useful herb they look and smell good.

As the weather has been dry for days on end we gave everything a good water too.

A Few Hours At The Allotment

We spent a lovely few hours at the plot this morning and caught up on loads of jobs. We put in the last of the potatoes which were the second batch of Charlotte and British Queen. We planted up the three courgette plants All Green Bush and put a polythene cover over until the plants are a bit hardier. I had left a tray of runner bean plants White Lady in the fruit tunnel to harden off and I noticed that most of them had been eaten by something so I am putting another batch in today to try and catch up. Into the brassica tunnel we put twenty five cabbage Greyhound plants, thirteen cauliflower All The Year Round and ten onion Marathon. Onion – The regular consumption of onions has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure  helping to prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and therefore reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.


 

 

 

 

A greyhound cabbage from last year

Late Autumn Harvest

We surprised even ourselves when we came home with two trays of goodies on our last visit to the plots. I gathered a few tomatoes from the lean to and have left the plants intact as they have quite a bit of fruit still green. I don’t suppose they will ripen but we will give them a chance. The last of the cucumber had shrivelled so those plants are ready to come down.

We brought home three cabbages, a Savoy and a Ballhead plus one red for pickling. One of the sprout plants had fallen over so we pulled it and harvested the sprouts. They were quite small but made a tasty meal. Brussel sprouts are a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. They contain iron, fibre, potassium, and B vitamins. They also contain folate, protein, and beta-carotene. Next I pulled four leeks which were ready to eat and a few sticks of Chard. The surprise find was a beautiful if small Romanesco. We are bringing the pumpkins home one at a time as they are heavy and they should make some tasty soup for us over the Winter with the left over flesh and seeds going to the chickens and ducks.