All About Growing Capsicum From Seeds
Growing capsicums or bell peppers from seeds is by far the most inexpensive way to get hold of a bountiful harvest of fresh, juicy bell peppers for your pizzas and burgers. If you are short of space and would love to have a kitchen garden, then bell peppers should be a wonderful addition. With a little bit of space, a good and solid container, enough fertilization and mulching will make growing chilies or capsicum in pots an easy venture. I have spent enough time in researching about the possibilities of growing bell peppers in pots in India and tried it out myself. As a result of that, here I present you all with my blog post about “How to grow capsicum in pots?”
Normally, capsicum is a warm weather vegetable crop and hence if you are living in areas where sunlight is at a premium, then growing them in containers will be the best option. Growing capsicum in pots is as easy as eating a chocolate. Yes, that’s true. Trust me, initially, I thought it is a tough veggie to try growing but when I saw the plant grow rapidly, I couldn’t control my curiosity to see the first capsicum spring out!
1. Buy bell pepper seeds (either red or green) which is kidney shaped and brownish in color.
2. Choose a tray pot, make sure the container has large holes so the water can drain away freely and also pick up available moisture from the storage tray.
3. Sow the seeds in 2-inch depth with the temperature of around 20 to 25°C.
4. The plant requires full sun to grow. The seeds require 3-4 days to germinate.
5. Bell pepper is a slow growing plant, after 2 weeks of growth pinch off the leaves so that it will grow broader.
6. Bell peppers are ready to harvest within 3 months.
There are two main things to consider when you are planning to grow bell peppers in pots in India. I have described each one in detail below.
Choosing a container for the capsicum plant:
The first thing that came to my mind when I wanted to grow bell pepper is, why not use the mineral water can? Yes, that is what I did.
Normally, when you start growing bell peppers the containers should be about 10-12 inches deep and they should be very wide. Also, make sure there is enough drainage facility too. This kind of container can accommodate about two to three small plants. Simple isn’t it?
Quality of seeds:
Always make sure you get good quality capsicum seeds to grow. There are many people out there who see seeds but not all are trustworthy. The first time I tried to grow capsicum in a pot, I bought seeds from an online vendor who guaranteed they are “top rated”.
The seeds germinated well and the plant grew well too. The real shock came when the plant started fruiting. I was expecting big and plumpy capsicums but what came out were small and feeble ones! I was totally frustrated that I sought the help of some of my gardening friends, who in turn found out the culprit- yes, the seeds! Therefore, make sure you get the seeds from a trusted contact. The next time I bought from Trustbasket and the result- my little one enjoyed the juicy capsicums in his pizza!
Always start the seeds in a germination cup or seed tray. In this way, you can easily propagate them to the desired container.
The seeds probably take about 3 weeks time to germinate, but once they are germinated the growth is rapid. It is always good to transplant the seedlings when they have about two to three true leaves.
What to look for when growing capsicum in pots in India?
Well! Now that you have got an idea about the two main things needed for growing capsicums, you should also be aware of few important things that should also be noted.
The position of the plant :
Normally, capsicums need a lot of sunlight. If you are growing them in pots, then it is really an easy thing. All that you have to do is to keep the pot in a sunny spot. The plant should get about 6 to 7 hours of direct sunlight. Such plants tend to grow well and you will certainly get a bountiful harvest. However, you should make sure it is protected from strong winds.
Growing medium or soil:
The soil is very important when it comes to growing capsicum in pots. A good potting mix is a must. It should be of the best quality, very fertile and well drained. If you are planning to get the potting mix from a vendor make sure to check for the quality or try to spend some time to make your own potting mix. Mine was a mixture of cocopeat + red soil + Plant food in equal ratio. It is always good to add a handful of neem cake to the potting mix to get rid of soil-borne diseases.
Watering the plants:
Watering is the tricky part. Capsicums need a lot of water but it doesn’t mean that they should sit in water! The soil should always be moist. Also, remember not to water the foliage. This will lead to fungal infection. It is a good habit to water the plant at the foot. Never, leave the soil to dry out.
Caring for capsicums:
As with other plants, if you spend some time to care for your capsicum plant, the result will be just awesome! Here are few things that you should do.
Mulching the plants:
Mulching is always a good practice that will solve the problem of water evaporation from the soil. Just cover the base of the plant with whatever mulching material that you can get hold of, be it, paper, dry leaves, straws and so on.
Fertilizing the soil:
Just like other plants, capsicums need good fertilizers to munch on. However, if you use a lot of nitrogen-rich fertilizer then it will just induce the foliage growth. Hence, make sure you give it sparingly. Panchagavya will work well. Feeding the plant with vermicompost will also do wonders.
It is always a good practice to pinch the growing tips of the plant. This will make the plant grow bushier. Pruning is not necessary for capsicum, however, it can be carried out if needed.
These plants are self-fertile and hence you need not worry about pollination. However, if you wish to get a bountiful harvest then just shake the plant when it is in the flowering stage. Also, it is good to deadhead the flowers from the plant if it is flowering early. Also, if you want the already set fruits to be bigger and better, you can stop the fruit formation by pinching off the flowers at an early stage.
Once the fruits set in the plant, it is always good to give enough support to the plant. I used a bamboo stick for this purpose.
Just poke the stick near to the plant and tie it to the stick. This will be a good support to the plant.
Pests and diseases to note:
There are two main troublesome critters that you should take care of while growing capsicums in pots. Aphids will start attacking once the plant starts growing. They are considered as the number one villain for capsicum plants.
Using neem spray to avoid these critters will give you good results. Also beware of spider mites, especially if the weather is quite dry and hot.
Once the fruits the desired size, you can easily harvest. Normally, capsicums can be harvested in about 60 to 90 days. It is always good to harvest them when they are green. If left as such, they will ripen and the color may change to yellow, red or orange. Nothing can beat the flavor of freshly harvested capsicums in your Chinese cuisine. Yummy!
Top 5 tips to growing capsicums:
Now that you have got an idea about growing capsicums, I have made this entire post simple in just 5 main tips. Take a note of it, will you?
- Container, seeds and a good potting soil are the three main things for a good start.
- Fertilizing and mulching will do wonders
- Capsicums are hungry for sunlight so make sure they get about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight
- Harvest them at the right stage
- Last, by not the least, they are a rich source of vitamin C. yes, that’s true!
See you with my next blog post in a couple of days!