When & where to plant
In spring or summer, choose the sunniest part of your vegetable patch to plant capsicums. They require heat to enable their fruit to ripen. Make sure the soil is deep enough to anchor their extensive root system. Do not plant them where other members of the Solanaceae family (eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes) have previously grown.
How to plant
If growing in containers choose a moisture-retentive potting mix such as Searles Herb & Vegetable Potting Mix. If sowing directly into garden beds, dig in some Searles Garden Soil Mix and add lime if the soil is more acid than 6.5. Add Searles Vegetable & Herb Organic Kickalong to the soil to facilitate good root development, and give the bed a long, deep soak of water before planting. Plant seed or seedlings, following the packet or label directions and make sure young seedlings never dry out. If you are growing any of the taller varieties of capsicums, place a stake next to each young plant to support it as it will get heavy when laden with fruit.
How to maintain
Keep the roots cool by covering with a light mulch throughout the warmer months. Ensure the soil is kept constantly moist and weed free. Fertilise fortnightly with SeaMax® Fish & Kelp and Searles Flourish Soluble Plant Food right up until fruit set. If growing in containers, increase fertilising to a weekly routine. In mild, frost-free climates, capsicums can be treated as perennial plants, performing best in their second year. Simply cut them back after fruiting has finished in late autumn and they’ll shoot again the following spring.
Pests and diseases
Ripening fruit can suffer from sunburn if exposed to sun for prolonged periods and should be hidden among the foliage on very hot days. Few pests and diseases affect capsicums. If fruit fly is a problem, remove affected fruit and install fruit fly traps. Pick the developing fruit as soon as it is ripe enough. Diseases such as spotted wilt and powdery mildew can be minimised by rotation planting.
Eggplants, onions and tomatoes are ideal to companion plant with capsicums.
Capsicums can be picked as soon as they are large enough to be useful. The more you pick them, the more fruits are produced. Remove the fruit with some stalk attached to improve its keeping qualities.