I really love cooking with fresh vegetables and especially capsicum adds a special flavor to every meal. But I think sometimes they are soooo freakin expensive in New Zealand. The next time I used capsicum in a meal I decided to keep the seeds and just try it to grow my own plants to save money and enlarge my vegetable garden. Beside the aspect that it is cheaper to grow your own capsicum, you will have also the advantage that the fruits itself are not treated with pesticides or other toxins. Additionally your own capsicums mustn’t be shipped around the planet, resulting in less CO2 being generated when eating vegetables from your own garden.
Before you start growing your own capsicum plant you must be aware of the fact that capsicum is native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Central America, what means the plant grows best in a wet and warm climate. That doesn’t mean it is difficult to grow your own capsicum plant, but you have to take care that it is not exposed to too dry or too cold weather.
What you need:
- Potting compost (We’ll cover how this can be self-made in another article)
- Coffee to go cup
- Plastic wrapper
- Sprayer (optional)
Step 1: Harvesting the capsicum seeds
First of all, you need to separate the seeds from the capsicum. That you can do easily with your fingers. It could be possible that you destroy the seeds while using a knife. For the best results you should use the seeds of red or yellow capsicum, because the green ones are still not ripened.
Step 2: Planting the capsicum seeds
Put the seed compost (here you find how to produce your own seed compost) in the Coffee to go cup until its half-filled. It is really important to use seed compost, otherwise the young roots aren’t able to grow well and you will get weak plants. You then make deepenings (of about 2mm) with your fingers and add one seed in each one of them. A normal Coffee-to-go Cup will be able to take around 10 seeds because not all of them will sprout. After that cover the seeds with only a little more compost.
Step 3: Setting up your planter
Carefully dampen the compost with the sprayer and cover the cup with plastic wrapper. It is needed so that the compost may never dry out. Stab some tiny holes into the wrapper with a needle and put the cup in a warm and sunny place.
Step 4: Grow your capsicum plants
Take care that the seeds never dry out, but they should not be completeley soaked either. If necessary spray a little bit of water into the cup (I had to do that about every third day). Furthermore, remove the plastic cover once a day to get some fresh air in.
After two weeks you should see the first sprouts.
Step 5: Care for your plants
Let the small plants grow in the cup for around 4 weeks. Then you need to separate the capsicum plants carefully and put them into bigger planters. When they reached the size of around 10cm you can put them into your vegetable garden or leave them in a pot. As soon as you can see the first blossom you need to cut that blossom. This way the plant will get more blossoms and thus more fruits. When growing your plant in a planter it is important to add some fertilizer from time to time, especially when your fruits are beginning to grow.
Good to know:
Getting green, yellow or red capsicums isn’t a question of the capsicum plant itself, it is only a question how ripe the fruits are. The green ones are the immature ones and will become yellow and eventually red when they are fully ripened. That is also the reason why often the green ones are the cheapest, when buying them in the supermarket.