Growing Guide - Capsicum
Capsicum, also known as Sweet Peppers, is the ultimate lesson in patience in your vege patch. It is a slow-growing plant and if you want your capsicum to ripen into a colour you will need to leave it on the vine to mature.
- Capsicum grows in warm weather only. If you live in warmer climates you can start planting early Spring. In cooler climates hold off until late Spring/ early Summer.
- Prepare soil with well rotted organic matter two weeks prior to planting.
- Position your capsicum in the warmest part of your vege patch with 50cm spacing.
- Capsicum doesn't like wind so make sure you shelter it with companion planting (corn works well) or build a windbreak.
- Plant alongside parsley, tomatoes and basil.
- Apply a 3-5cm layer of mulch once you have established seedlings. You will also need to reapply later before fruiting.
- During the growing process add organic matter into the soil around the base of the plant and feed with a liquid fertilizer once a fortnight.
- Water 2-3 times in the first month then cut back to one solid water per week to encourage stronger root growth.
- Support the mature plant with a stake if necessary to help the plant support the weight of the fruit.
- If you see fruit fly around your vege patch, bag the growing capsicum to prevent them from laying inside and destroying your harvest!
- To avoid damaging the plant twist the capsicum until it snaps off or use scissors.
- You can harvest green capsicum once it has stopped growing in size. If you prefer it to colour you will need to leave it on the vine for another 3 weeks.
- Picking green capsicum will increase the growth of further capsicums.
All capsicum varieties grow green fruit to begin with and as it matures it turns to the colour of the variety you have planted. Capsicum comes in yellow, orange, red and black varieties, chosen for their variance in flavour and size. Here are some common varieties.
- Californian Wonder - A red, large capsicum with a long heavy harvest.
- Golden Wonder - The yellow member of the Wonder variety.
- Giant Bell - A sweet, large bell shaped red variety.
- Chocolate Beauty - A very productive gourmet variety with a deep brown skin.