Capsicums, also known as peppers, are an easy vegetable to grow. Capsicums are rich in vitamin c and go great in a salad, stew, stir fry or kebab, they are also great for adding colour to a dish. Capsicums come in a range of flavours from sweet to hot and spicy,
A few of the varieties we have grown are sweet banana and mini bell. We have grown these with great success and even managed to over winter them.
When To Plant Capsicums
Capsicums are a summer heat loving plant. We transplant our capsicums into the ground in September, after there is no chance of frost and the days are starting to warm up.
Where To Plant Your Capsicums
Capsicums need to have 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day. Capsicums require a lot of energy to grow so we prepare the garden bed by adding some compost, manure and organic slow release fertilser. Don’t forget to mulch your plants.
How To Plant Your Capsicum Seeds
We find it best to sow your capsicum seeds into seedling trays as we like to be able to plant our capsicums in the ground by September. Capsicum soil temperatures need to be above 18 degrees to germinate, so by planting them in seedling trays you can bring them into a warmer environment. We use a heat mat, but you also could put them inside and put them on your windowsill.
How To Transplant Your Capsicum
Wait until your capsicum is between 5-10cm tall and has at least a set of true leaves. We recommend planting them 50cm apart. If it’s still too cold to transplant your capsicum plants outside but they have outgrown your seedling trays you can always pot them up and keep them in a warm location until your garden is ready.
How Long Does It Take For a Capsicum To Produce?
Capsicums can take 65-90 days to produce after they are transplanted.
How To Know When My Capsicums Are Ready For Harvesting?
Capsicums are ready for harvesting after the skin is firm and glossy. Capsicums don’t have to change colour for them to be ripe and can be picked at the green stage. However, a capsicum will be sweeter if picked once it has changed colour.
Caring For Your Capsicums
Depending on the variety of capsicum it may require staking. Place a sturdy stake in the ground when the plant is young. Prune any dead or diseased foliage off.
Capsicums can be overwintered, especially for where we live as it doesn’t get that cold. There are many different methods for overwintering your capsicums, but we have found just removing the fruit and flowers after April and doing nothing with the plant until September. The plant will look at bit sad but in September, we give it a hard prune back to a lower node and feed it with some compost, manure and slow release fertilser. You will find a capsicum that has been overwintered will produce fruit earlier than a capsicum which has not been overwintered.
Common Problem With Capsicums
Capsicums have been a pest and disease-free plant for us to grow, the only problem we have come across are caterpillars. Here is a list of common problems you may come across on your capsicums:
Caterpillars love eating capsicums and have found the best way to control the caterpillars to remove and dispose pf them and exclusion bags. Another way is to spray the plant with a bacteria spray bacillus thuringienses.
Blossom End Rot
blossom end rot is when your fruit has a black or brown patch on the bottom of the fruit. The cause is a lack of calcium, generally though it’s not from a lack of calcium in the soil but a lack of the plant’s ability to uptake it. Most of the cause is inconsistent watering.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
It causes brown spots all over the plant. The spots seem to be wet at first but will dry and scab over. Remove diseased and effected parts of the plant, if it the whole plant remove the whole plant. Water plant at soil level, not splashing water onto the leaves.
Fusarium and Verticillium Wilt
Causes the plant to look wilted as if it hasn’t been watered. This is a soil borne fungi that causes the disease. There isn’t a cure, but good crop rotation helps to prevent this as well as choosing varieties which are resistant to these diseases.
This can be a huge problem for some people and I’m thinking with the issues we have had with rats this year we may have issues for the first time. There are couple of ways to help control them, first is a physical barrier like a shade cloth or chicken wire. The other ways are to control the population by trapping, or you can spray the plant with a garlic or mustard spray.
These are white blisters which show up on your fruit. Be careful when pruning your capsicum to leave some leaves covering the fruit protecting them. On hot days cover them with shade cloth.