Capsicums

Please click here to download the pdf

 

Capsicums are sweet green, red, yellow, orange or brown fleshy fruit that are known by different names indifferent parts of the world.

In Australia and India they’re capsicums but in other parts they are known as peppers (bell or sweet), chillies or paprika. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, C (red more than green), E and B6, folate and fibre.

Capsicum is part of the Solanaceae family, which also includes tomato, eggplant and potato. They are very versatile in the kitchen, enjoy them cold in salads, sandwiches, pickles, salsas or cooked in baked dishes or stuffed dishes, stews and pizzas.

 

Follow our seven easy steps to successful capsciums harvest including tips along the way.

Seven handy tips on how to grow tasty delicious capsicums How to grow vegetables -capsicums Handy Hints

When to plant.

Capsicums can be grown in most parts of Australia. Check with garden centres and hardware stores for varieties available in your local area.

  1. In most areas it is easy to grow capsicums from spring to autumn.
  2. In cold climates, grow capsicum as a summer to early autumn crop with plenty of shelter from cold winds.
  3. In the tropics, capsicums grow year-round but are best sown in autumn and spring.
  4. To keep on picking capsicum, make several plantings between spring and summer.

Seven handy tips on how to grow tasty delicious capsicums How to grow vegetables -capsicums Handy Hints

Location

  • Capsicum need warmth to grow so wait until all threat of cold and frost is gone before planting them out into a warm, sunny part of the vegetable garden.
  • Select a location which receives full sun but protects from winds which can break the stems.
  • They can be grown in pots, but do not overcrowd them. An advantage of a pot is that they can be moved around to catch the sun and miss the wind.
  • Companion plant with carrot, onions, tomatoes and herbs such as oregano.
How do you look after your soil?

Soil.

Get the soil right to harvest a bumper crop of delicious capsicum.

Follow our steps for easy soil preparation.

  • Capsicums are related to tomatoes and grown in the same way with rich, well-drained soil and reliable moisture.
  • Dig in compost or well-rotted manure before planting or apply Seasol Liquid Compost.
  • In areas with heavy or poorly drained soils, grow capsicums in raised garden beds.
  • A soil rich in nutrients helps build strong plants so add Seasol Plant + Soil Booster (100g per square metre) and a fertiliser such as PowerFeed Controlled Release Tomatoes & Vegetables.
  • Water in well and let the soil rest for a week or two.
Handy Hints - How to grow tasty winter vegies

Step 1 – Sowing seeds.

  • In cool and temperate zones sow seed from mid to late winter and onwards into seed raising mix in a seed tray or punnet. Keep in a warm, sheltered spot such as a foam box.
  • If planting straight out into the soil, wait until the soil warms up in late spring. Sow seeds 6mm deep into damp soil and space at 35-50cm apart, in rows 40cm apart.
  • If planting in pots, chose a pot that is at least 40cm diameter in a sunny spot that is protected from strong winds. Plant one or two seeds 6mm deep into damp potting mix.
  • Water in well with Seasol GOLD or Seasol as this will help to increase seed germination rates. (Mix 30mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water).
  • Soil should be moist but not wet, so check soil moisture daily to ensure capsicum seeds have the right conditions to germinate for strong healthy growth.

Note: These are not capiscum seeds, it’s an illustration to show seeds being sown.

Step 2 – Germination.

  • Capsicums need warm conditions to germinate (16°C and above). Expect germination in 10-14 days (slower rates in colder conditions).
  • For faster seed germination rates in seed trays, put them inside on a heating pad.
  • If growing in punnets, prick out small seedlings when they are large enough to handle. Transfer into 10cm pots to grow on before transplanting into the garden when plants are about 15cm high.
  • When capsicums sprout, they only have two leaves. These seedlings leaves look like two narrow leaves on either side of the stem.
  • Water gently and apply Seasol GOLD or Seasol weekly as this will help to stimulate strong root development and healthy growth.

Step 3 – Baby capsicum seedlings.

  • About two weeks after the seed leaves have opened, the true leaves will appear; these are the first capsicum leaves.
  • If overcrowding occurs, select the strongest seedling and thin out or transplant the rest.
  • Use scissors or tweezers to thin out seedlings to avoid disturbing young roots.
  • Capsicum seedlings need a lot of nutrients to grow to produce a tasty bumper crop so liquid feed with PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables every 2 weeks. Increase the application rates from 20mL to 50mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water as the plants mature.
  • Check the moisture level of the soil daily – it should be moist not wet.
Seven handy tips on how to grow tasty delicious capsicums How to grow vegetables -capsicums Handy Hints

Step 4 – Planting out capsicum seedlings

  • Transplant seedlings when they are large enough to handle (usually 2 to 3 leaves).
  • Space seedlings about 50-60cm apart and plant to the depth of the plant in its punnet or a little deeper for support.
  • Where seedlings have been purchased, plant according to the directions on the plant tag.
  • In windy areas it may be necessary to support plants with a stake or trellis.
  • To reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment, water in well with Seasol after transplanting to promote rapid root development and healthy plant growth.

 

Seven handy tips on how to grow tasty delicious capsicums How to grow vegetables -capsicums Handy Hints

Step 5 – Capsicum plant growth.

  • If using trellis or stakes as plant supports, manage their growth by training the plant up the stake or along a trellis.
  • Check for weeds and remove them as they compete for space, water and nutrients.
  • Keep growing plants well-watered, directing water to the roots rather than over the leaves as wet foliage may encourage fungal disease.
  • Every 6-8 weeks apply another application of PowerFeed Controlled Release for Tomatoes & Vegetables to produce a bumper crop of delicious capsicum and to revitalise depleted soils. Remember to water it in thoroughly after application.
Seven handy tips on how to grow tasty delicious capsicums How to grow vegetables -capsicums Handy Hints

Step 6 – Capsicum flowering and fruiting.

  • The plants are ornamental in flower and in fruit and will crop well.
  • As they grow, they form a small bush with white or yellow flowers, which produce fruit that ripens from late spring to autumn colouring from green to usually red. Extremely hot, overly wet or dry conditions, or cool cloudy days slow ripening.
  • Flowers appear quickly and are small, and yellow and white, apply extra fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables as the flowers begin to grow. This will enable the fruit to form correctly and the plant to grow, keep flowering and to form heaps of tasty produce.
  • The fruit forms fast and grows rapidly, so keep plants well- watered as fruit forms. Also ensure the soil is mulch to keep in soil moisture and reapply where necessary.
Seven handy tips on how to grow tasty delicious capsicums How to grow vegetables -capsicums Handy Hints

Step 7 – Capsicum harvest.

  • Capsicums are ready to harvest when they are large and well formed, usually after 8-12 weeks depending on variety.
  • Pick capsicum at any stage from when the fruit is a reasonable size (around 10cm long). Fruit can be picked green or left on the bush to ripen and develop full colour (red, yellow, orange or brown/chocolate depending on variety).
  • While conditions are warm and fruit is picked, plants keep flowering and producing fruit.
  • Use knife or secateurs to cut fruit from the plant. Avoid pulling or twisting it off as it is easy to break the branches.
  • Capsicums keep in a fruit bowl but, for longer storage, put them into a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge where they’ll keep for several weeks.

Things to watch out for……..

Capsicums are usually trouble free, particularly when grown with regular water along with protection from cold.

  • Cold damage If the weather turns cold after planting out seedlings or small plants,
    cover them overnight with a homemade cloche to protect them from frost. Cut down milk, juice or soft drink bottles can be used as a temporary cloche. Remove the cloches during the day.
  • Fruit fly In fruit fly zones, ripening capsicums are susceptible to fruit fly attack. Fruit that has been stung by fruit fly may rot and the flesh may contain maggots. To protect fruit, use organic fruit fly baits as the fruit ripens. Exclusion bags can also be fitted over the fruit to keep out fruit fly and other pests. Alternatively harvest green, fully sized green fruit to eat.
  • Blossom end rot Black leathery or dry brown patches at the base of the fruit (where the flower was attached) is a condition called blossom end rot. It relates to a lack of calcium and is brought about by erratic watering, especially allowing plants to dry out while they are flowering and fruiting. Improve watering to avoid the condition occurring. Fruit may still ripen. Add lime to raise soil pH in acidic soils.