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Tips on how to grow a large and healthy capsicum crop

By Grace Chomba

Healthy capsicum plants bearing fruits.

Capsicum or commonly known as pilipili hoho in Kenya are hardy plants that grow best in warm areas. The plant is commonly affected by the late blight disease. It is a risky free farming venture that one can gain profits from.

Here are farming tips you need to know before starting:

Make sure you choose a variety of capsicum that sells well and grows well in your area. Different variety of capsicum seeds have varying growth requirements. Keep an eye on the specific requirements like soil conditions and temperature to help you evade losses.

Ensure the soils are well-drained loamy or heavy cracking clay soils with an optimum pH of 6.0 to 6.5.

Since the plants do well in warm areas, regulate the temperature by putting up a shade when it’s too hot. Don’t forget to expose the plants to the sun for a few hours every day for optimum growth. The plants will do well in a greenhouse.

You can either sow the seeds directly in the prepared fields or grow them indoors and transplant them later when they are 10cm high.

To maintain shock and increase maturity rate after transplanting, harden off the seedlings. This should be done a day before transplanting by withdrawing or reducing watering. Water the nursery before transplanting to maintain soil around the roots.

Before transplanting, remember to add some composted manure to boost the field fertility. Ensure you space the plants appropriately to prevent molding that will cause rotting mostly in areas with high humidity.

Top dress with 100kg/ha of nitrogen when they reach 15cm height and after four weeks apply another 200kg/ha.

Check out for aphids and whiteflies which are the common pests. You should also look for thrips that attack the flowers and cutworms which can be controlled by applying nematodes to the soil.

To increase shelf life ensure that while harvesting cut off the branch from the main stem but leave a small branch attached to the fruit.

Coloured variety is more profitable compared to the green ones although they are destroyed by birds if planted outside.?

Different capsicum colours

 

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