Growing Capsicum

Latest Update 18th July 2018.

Capsicum  
  • I grow red capsicum plants each summer in a Small Ecobed or in a row in an Ecobed.
  • They are easy to grow, and can be harvested as an early green fruit or left to ripen to a beautiful bright red colour.
  • When flowers appear, I buzz pollinate them to ensure plenty of fruit is set, and usually harvest them when fully ripe.
  • I store my crop surplus (chopped) in a chest freezer. 
  • Capsicum are used in our household to add colour and flavour to soups and casseroles.
Description.
  • Variety:                                                    Californian Wonder. 
  • Family group:                                           Solanaceae. 
  • Crop rotation group:                                  Solanaceae.
  • Garden bed type:                                      Small Ecobed.
  • Minimum sun per day:                               8 hours.
  • Plant spacings:                                         4 per Small Ecobed.
  • Weeks to harvest:                                     10 - 12 weeks.
  • Climate:                                                   Warm temperate.
  • Geography:                                              Southern hemisphere.
Nutrition.
  • This food is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. 
  • It is a good source of vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and folate.
  • More from nutrition data.self.com.
Maintaining Ecobed Productivity. 

  • Check out my blogpage which explains how I maintain productivity in my Ecobeds.  It describes how soil is prepared prior to planting, the importance of rainwater in Ecobeds, how to regulate the sun's intensity and how to feed plants through their leaves.
Propagating Seedlings. 

  • Check out my blogpage which explains how I propagate seeds.
Propagation Plan.

  • Check out my blogpage which tells you when to sow seeds.
Growing Instructions.
  • I sow a capsicum seeds individually in each of 4 seed tray cells in an EcoPropagator. 
  • When the seedlings are ready they are planted out with soil intact around the roots in the prepared soil of a small Ecobed or a row in a full sized Ecobed (whichever is convenient at the time).
  • They are watered in thoroughly with dilute seaweed extract in rainwater.  Any exposed soil close to the roots is mulched with sugar cane straw (or equivalent).
Pollination
  • Capsicum are self pollinating, however the pollen grains are securely held on the plants anthers.  Moderate vibration will release this pollen and often a strong breeze will be enough.  
  • Bumble bees buzz pollinate capsicum by grabbing the flower and vibrating their flight muscles vigorously.  Honey bees don't use this technique and consequently they are not very efficient pollinators of capsicum plants.
  • In mainland Australia where there are no bumble bees, we must rely on native bees (like the blue banded bee) or the wind.  Both are unreliable in suburban gardens, and barriers like greenhouses and pest exclusion netting make the problem worse.
  • To ensure a good fruit set, buzz pollinate them by hand.  I do this using an electric toothbrush. See related video.
Harvesting and Storage.
  • Capsicum can be harvested from December onward. 
  • Pick some capsicum early while still green.  This encourages more flowers, but leave some to ripen to their beautiful red livery.
  • Capsicum can be stored, chopped into small cubes (skin on), in the freezer after removing seeds .  I blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes and cool them rapidly in cold water.  I dry them and pack them into resealable plastic bags for storage in my chest freezer. 
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