Jan 082017

Capsicum (Photograph by Liz Pye, http://suburbantomato.com used with permission)

Summer is the perfect time to get in your Chilli and Capsicum seedlings. Once the fruit starts to set there is nothing better than seeing splashes of bright red, orange, yellow and green dotted throughout the vegie patch. There are so many great summer salads and stir fries to use them in… what are you waiting for?

Capsicum and chillies require the same growing conditions as each other as they are all from the same family. They require heat to grow well, so in Melbourne they are planted in spring and harvested during late summer and into autumn. It is advisable to start seedlings growing indoors or in a greenhouse and plant them out as advanced seedlings once the last frosts have passed. To avoid transplant shock you can use peat pots or toilet rolls to grow your seedlings in and then the whole lot can be planted without disturbing the roots.

In warmer areas capsicum and chillies are a perennial plant; with some dedication and a frost free area you can keep them going over winter in Melbourne, but generally they are regarded as an annual.

Cultivate the soil beforehand using plenty of compost, well-rotted manure and add some dolomite lime for magnesium and calcium.

Plant in a sunny spot with good air circulation, as they are prone to fungal problems, and avoid planting where tomatoes and eggplants have grown in the previous three years.

Although they love the heat, it is worth shielding them on days of extreme temperatures to prevent flower loss.

Harvest capsicums and chillies regularly to increase vigour and productivity

Growing capsicums and chillies at home offers you a much greater choice of varieties, especially if you grow from seed. You will find that they fall into three main categories.

Bell peppers

These are the blocky capsicums that you find at the supermarket, usually green, red, orange or yellow. The green ones are simply unripe red ones! They are not hot.

If you grow your own you can choose from a range including purple, white and black.

Long sweet capsicum

These capsicums are long and slender and sweet tasting and often used for frying.

Chillies (Photograph by BAAG)


Hundreds of chilli varieties exist and they come in all shapes, sizes and colours. The most popular types are habanero, jalepeno and cayenne. Habenero are the hottest, then cayenne then jalepeno.


Photograph by Liz Pye. (Used with permission)
Liz runs a wonderful produce gardening blog at http://suburbantomato.com… head there and get inspired!

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  • bestredkerry

    Hopefully I shall somehow find a way of getting some seeds for the “Purple Mini Mama Baby Capsicum”.  I’ve had no success so far in purchasing seeds and know that where  I live in WA it would be an impossible plant to purchase.  Caterpillars are a huge problem but don’t give up fighting them (the green cabbage moth one gives me hell but still keep using dipel, success, molasses, and white oil.)
    I manage to stay just on top of it. If there are any better suggestions, please let me know.

    I only have a 3/4 sunny little front yard and a 1/4 sunny little back yard.  I live in an Alternative Lifestyle Village opposite the clubhouse so want things to look nice because of all the passers by but would prefer to grow edibles. I’m afraid my thumb is rather brown.

    Thanks Kerry.

  • lindy_BAAG


    Hi Kerry

    The capsicum sounds fabulous – but very rare…Good Luck!  

    Regarding the green cabbage moth – we have had great success with the insect excluding nets this year.  They let water and sunlight through, but the weave is small enough to exclude insects.  Means you can radically ease off the spraying.  Just make sure no insects are inside when you do the netting.  Looks neat and tidy and works very well.

    Cheers Lindy