Capsicum (Pepper)

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Capsicum annuum

Sustainable Ewe favourites:

California wonder, Yellow Banana, Jimmy Nardello

Quick Reference

Optimum Soil Temperature 20-25°
Days to Germination 8-20
Days to Harvest 80 days from transplant
Direct Sow or Transplant Transplant
Distance Apart 50-60cm
Soil pH 5.5-7.0
Annual/Biannual/Perennial  Annual

History

Also known as Bell Peppers, Sweet Peppers, Apple Peppers, Cucumber Peppers,  Round Chillis

Originally from South America.

Growing

Start seeds out in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill, prick out into larger pots when the plants reach 5cm.  Capsicums are heat lovers so wait until November/December when plants are 10-15cm  harden plants off and plant out in position with fertile soil and full sun.

Keep gardens weed free and mulch to keep soil moist.  Taller varieties may require staking.

Colours and flavours change as the capsicum mature, however a capsicum can be harvested at any stage.  A ripe capsicum should feel solid but sound hollow when tapped.

Harvest by cutting – never pulling, pulling could damage both the fruit and the plant.

Storing harvested Capsicum:  Keep in fridge for up to one month. but bring to room temperature before using – this warms the sugars and sweetens the flavour

Seed Saving:   Self pollinating though insects will pollinate.  Isolation distance between varieties of 30m.  10 plants are required for genetic diversity.

Seed Life:  Four years

Maintenance

Feeding:

Fun Facts

Have either 3 or 4 lobes

Red, orange, or yellow are generally sweeter than green or purple.

The only pepper that does not contain capsaicin (the thing that makes peppers hot)

Excellent source of Vitamin A, C, E, B6.  Red capsicums have twice the vitamin C of green capsicums

Largest producer of capsicums China, followed by Mexico and Turkey.

Named ‘pepper’ as they had a similar taste to black pepper (Piper nigrum) even though they are not related.

Problems

Sclerotinia – soft brown rot developing into fluffy white growth. Usually in cool, humid conditions. Improve drainage. Practice crop rotation.

Virus – Streaking in foliage. Control pests that may spread the disease such as aphids or thrips. Destroy infected plants. Plant resistant varieties..

Pests

Aphids – plant wilts, leaves puckered and distorted. Insects under leaves or on new growth. Water regularly in dry weather.

Thrips – Leaves silvery and dehydrated with brown specks on the underside. Common in dry weather. Control weeds. Keep well watered

Deficiencies