Capsicum

I think 2021 will be the last summer I plant capsicum. Each year I only get a few fruit on each bush and so I believe that my backyard is not hot enough and the community garden is too windy. Therefore for me I don't think they are worth the space in my garden, which I could use more productively growing something else. However, I will try again this and focus more on fertilising to make sure that's where I have not gone wrong in the past.

If you find capsicum not to be very productive in your cool climate garden, don't think it's anything you're doing wrong. They prefer a much warmer climate to ours, so any success is impressive.

PLANTING

In a cool climate, capsicums (and chillies) need to be placed in the warmest spot in the vegetable patch. Backing a north facing wall in FULL SUN with wind protection is often prefect.

You can grow from seed however as our cool climates have a short optimal growing season for capsicum, it's worth investing in the largest seedling you can find at the nursery. This means when you plant it on 1 November, you've got the best head start you can get.

Capsicums are frost sensitive and so they cannot be planted until you're sure the last frost has passed. Otherwise they will need frost protection. However, even with frost protection you're unlikely to get good growth outdoors until the ambient temperature exceeds 25 degrees. It may therefore we worth your while keeping them indoors in a sunny position until November.

Don't let your tomatoes shade them as they need full sun to ripen.

FERTILSIING

They often don't need it, especially if you are following a crop rotation cycle. Stay away from nitrogen as this makes your plant leafy and not set as much fruit. If you do think your plant needs a boost, use calcium (egg shells) and potassium (banana skin water) as you would a tomato plant.

CROP ROTATION

Capsicum is a "fruit" and would best follow root vegetables like carrots.

COMPANION PLANTING

It would be a great idea to interplant it with your tomatoes and basil as it's a companion plant and they enjoy the same growing conditions .

You can also be brave and try growing okra. 2021 will be my first season.

SUCCESSION PLANTING

Capsicums do not lend themselves to succession planting in a cool climate as the growing season is short and they take a while to establish and fruit.

HARVESTING

A red capsicum is a fully ripened capsicum, while a green capsicum is an under ripe capsicum. You can harvest your capsicum at either colour at any size. Orange and yellow capsicums are different varieties so you will need to specifically buy these colours. Capsicums are also male and female. Males have 3 bumps on the bottom and females have 4. Females are sweeter so these are better left to go red while males are less sweet and optimal to be harvested green. Letting a male turn red is fine it just leaves you with a less sweet red capsicum.