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Growing capsicum (bell pepper)

Capsicum (bell pepper)
A red capsicum starting to ripen

Have you been in the situation where you're cooking a dinner only to discover halfway through that you don't have a crucial ingredient: a capsicum (also known as a bell pepper)? I know we have. Probably too many times. That's probably a reflection on my culinary disorganisation. But everything works out fine as I pop outside and grab a fresh colourful capsicum from the vegetable patch.

Capsicums are actually perennials, able to grow for years, but most people treat them as annuals as they're badly effected by frosts. You can always cheat a little if you live in a cold climate. Pot them up and bringing them indoors during winter, and transplant them back out in spring.

Growing conditions

  • Capsicums are grown in the warmer months of the year.

  • They love sunny well drained beds.

  • Capsicums like a soil manured the previous season.

  • Add a little potash to the soil to encourage flowering.

  • In a 4 bed rotation system capsicum is grown with other acid loving vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant and chillies (hot peppers).

Capsicum (bell pepper)
A black capsicum (bell pepper)

Garden care

  • We've grown all sorts of capsicums over the years, all going well except for Sweet Cheese Pimento.

  • Capsicum seeds should be sown into seed raising mix and transplanted out once the seedlings have two true leaves and after all danger of frost has passed.

  • Capsicums grow well in containers only requiring a shorter stake.

  • Fruiting may drop off during cold or overly hot temperatures.

  • We haven't had too many pest or disease problems with capsicums. They do take a while though with their growth spurt.

Harvest time

  • If you want to get the maximum sweetness and taste from your capsicums resist temptation and wait for the fruit to fully ripen and change colour.

  • When harvesting remember to cut the stem of the fruit, don't pull it off.

 

Last Updated 17 November, 2008

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