Orange Capsicum

Orange capsicum’s journey began on September 27 2015 with seeds from fresh supermarket capsicums. This is the second time I grew capsicums after culling my first crop due to fruit flies larvae infestation in the pot.

Growing bell peppers in home made compost

My first pot of capsicums culled because of fruit flies infestation 🙁

As a reluctant gardener for commercial fertilizers or pesticide, I chose to start over rather than apply harmful strong chemicals to rid my edibles of the pests. The larvae problems were serious. They affected the fruits as well as the general health of the whole plant. My pot became the children’s favorite horror house to gross their friends out ! 🙂 It was full of creepy soft white worms and the capsicums rot before they ripened.

After the infested capsicum plants were removed, I killed the larvae in the soil with hot water and then sun baked it for months in our tropical heat. When the soil seem “recovered” I began composting in it again. This time I learned my lesson!

My compost was topped  with soil and then thick layers of leaves or tarp to ward off rotting greens smell which attracted the fruit flies in the first place.

On September 20 2015, seeds were harvested from FairPrice supermarket’s orange capsicum.

Germinated on September 27 2015 (in wet tissues, 7 days)

Orange capsicum from NTUC Fairprice supermarket in Singapore

As capsicum seeds are large and easier to handle, I germinated them in wet paper towels rather than soil. The trick is to keep the seeds moist without turning mouldy.

Germinating capsicum seeds

Orange Capsicum – Sowed on wet kitchen tissues (7 days)

The seeds are covered in damp paper and then ziplock in plastic bag. This would prevent evaporation so that the seeds could be kept moist longer. Paper towels were checked daily and dampened as needed to keep seeds moist. Germination took placed in 7 days.

Grow capsicum

Capsicum seeds germinated in damp paper and ziplock in bags

Due to limited sunny space to grow my edibles at home, PET bottles became my favorite “pots” to transplant seedlings to. They save soil and space as well as teaching kids how to recycle plastic bottles for better use in our daily life!  🙂 Drainage holes were cut on the side of the PET bottles instead of at the bottom.

Grow capsicum

October 2015 – Capsicum seedlings

Capsicum seedlings looked deceptively small and new gardener may be tempted to squeeze more plants per pot to save space and soil, as I did in my first pot. 🙂  Ideally, they should be individually potted to grow better. However due to lack of spare big pot, I transplanted 2 orange capsicums seedlings to this 60 Liters compost pot. The rest of the seedlings were moved to a friend’s farm.

Grow bell peppers

2 months old seedlings transplanted to outdoor compost pot

In spite of common literature on the need to feed capsicum plants well with readily available commercial fertilizers, I am reluctant to use them. I counted on my home made compost and kelp fertilizer to grow these edibles slowly.

Plants in the natural environment set their own time table, I believed edibles taste sweeter when we don’t rush them! 🙂

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Almost 4 months capsicums in 60L pot

Grow bell peppers

January 2016 – Finally flowered!

When the weather get too warm (above 31 degrees Celsius), capsicum’s flowers had a tendency to drop, and I learned to ice and mulched my top soil with cocopeat to keep their roots cool. Plants that thrived in Genting Highlands generally need this treatment to do well here.

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Fairprice ice recycled here when weather is warm

January 4 2016 - First Capsicum flower

January 4 2016 – First Capsicum flower

Grow bell peppers

March 1 2016 – 6 long months to fruit!

Organic Capsicum

March 12 2016 – My 3 S’s capsicum – Slower, Sweeter, Smaller – grown without commercial fertilizers and pesticide!

Bell Peppers or Capsicum from seeds

Jan 03 2017 – Small harvest every month! This plant just keep on fruiting in our natural compost.

Home grown bell peppers

Home grown capsicums are a snack in this household, crunchy and sweet!

Capsicums/Bell Peppers Growing Tips –

  1. Best individually potted, minimum pot size diameter and depth about 20 inches
  2. Well drained soil aided with perlite or sand
  3. Shady sunny spot or morning sun in the tropics
  4. Heavy feeder, recommended fortnightly feeding of manure ( goat, chicken, rabbit), compost, kelp fertiliser and/or fish emulsion. I also buried banana skins and ground coffee, soya bean pulp on the side of the pot when flowers dropped.
  5. Mulch top soil with coco peat to retain moisture and ice soil to keep roots cool when temperature rises above 31C