Have you ever wondered how to grow capsicums in your home garden? Capsicums or bell peppers are easy to grow from seed providing you with a plentiful supply during the warmer months of the year for salads, stir fry’s, casseroles or even roasted and canned.
Germinating Capsicums from Seed
How to germinate capsicum seeds and plant seedlings in the garden.
- Preparing the Punnets
First fill a punnet or seed tray with seed raising mix. Water the tray well then make depressions 5 mm (1/4 inch) deep then place two seeds in each depression. Cover the seeds and keep moist.
- Winter Germination
If you are germinating seeds during winter then find a warm place inside such as a windowsill then cover the trays with plastic wrap to create a humid atmosphere.
Frost will kill capsicum plants so it is advisable to only germinate plants outside once all threat of frosts are over.
- Seedlings Emerge
Seedlings will emerge in 10 to 14 days. Remove the plastic wrap and make sure the punnet doesn’t dry out completely.
- Pot Up
When the plants have 2 to 4 leaves transplant to 10 cm (4 inch) pots. Fertilise with a half strength of liquid fertiliser every 2 weeks. The capsicums will be ready to plant in the garden when they are 10 to 15 cm (6 inch) tall.
- Planting Location in the Garden
Choose a sunny and sheltered position in the garden and only plant out in the spring when all threat of frosts is over.
If you live in a warm climate and have a shade house, they can be grown successfully in 50% shade. These pictures are of capsicum plants grown in a shade house.
- Soil Preparation
First add compost or well-rotted manure to the soil. Place plants at 40 to 50 cm (20 inch) apart.
- Plant the Capsicum Seedlings
Plant the capsicum then make a ridge of dirt in a circle around the plant about 40 cm (16 inch) in diameter. This will keep the water around the plant reducing the amount of watering needed. If you live in a climate with high rainfall this isn’t necessary.
- Mulch and Water
Mulch with straw or sugar cane mulch then water in well.
If you need seed trays try these biodegradable pots from Amazon. (Paid link)
Caring for Capsicum Plants
Capsicums are easy to care for. They will benefit from applying liquid fertiliser every two weeks, will need regular watering and keep the area weed free.
The plants will have small white flowers from which the fruit forms. The capsicums can be picked green or you can wait until they turn red. Regular picking will encourage more fruit to grow.
They are usually ready to be picked 10 to 16 weeks from sowing.
Looking for shade cloth that can be used over plants? Try this 50% shade cloth from Amazon. (Paid link)
Blossom End Rot on Capsicums
You will see blossom end rot on the bottom of the capsicum. It will be a brown coloured splotch that is sunken. Don’t despair, this is common with capsicums and usually due to irregular watering.
Take off any affected fruit then water more often and give the plant a deep watering.
Avoid fertilisers with a high nitrogen content as it tents to promote leaf growth rather than fruit. Try a seaweed concentrate.
Another factor could be the PH of your soil. If the rot doesn’t clear up with regular watering then it is worthwhile to test your soil. The blossom end rot likes acidic soils so you may need to add a small handful of lime to your soil. Sprinkle it around the base of the plant then water in well.
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Are you interested in growing and preserving food? You might like this beginners guide to Homesteading.
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