Capsicums, also known as bell peppers or Pilipili hoho, are a popular vegetable that are widely consumed in Kenya and around the world. They are highly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, stir-fries, and stuffed peppers. If you’re interested in growing capsicums in Kenya, it’s important to know when the best time to do so is, how long they take to grow, how to grow them, how many peppers you can expect to get from a single plant, how many times you can harvest them, and how often to fertilize them.
When is the Best Time to Grow Capsicums in Kenya?
During the dry season, the weather is relatively warm and dry, which provides favorable conditions for the growth and development of capsicums. In addition, there is minimal risk of diseases and pests, which can negatively affect the crop’s yield.
It is important to note that capsicums require warm temperatures, adequate water, and nutrient-rich soil for optimum growth. Therefore, it is advisable to plant the crop in well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter and to irrigate frequently, especially during the dry season.
Furthermore, capsicums can be grown in greenhouses, which provide a controlled environment for the crop, and this allows farmers to grow the crop all year round, regardless of the prevailing weather conditions.
How Long Does Capsicum Take to Grow from Transplant to Harvest?
Capsicum plants typically take between 2 to 4 months from transplant to harvest in Kenya, depending on the variety and growing conditions.
Generally, it takes about 60 to 90 days from transplanting for the first harvest of green bell peppers. If the crop is left to mature, it can take another 30 to 40 days for the fruits to turn red or yellow, depending on the variety.
However, this timeline can vary depending on the following factors:
Variety: Different capsicum varieties have varying growth rates and harvest times.
Climate: Temperature, humidity, and rainfall can affect the growth rate and yield of the crop.
Soil and Fertilizer: The type of soil and fertilizer used can affect the growth rate and yield of the crop.
Pest and Disease Control: Pests and diseases can negatively impact the growth and yield of the crop, causing delays in the harvest time.
In summary, capsicum plants take between 2 to 4 months to grow from transplant to harvest in Kenya, but this timeline can be affected by various factors such as the variety, climate, soil, and pest control.
What is the Best Way to Grow Capsicums?
Capsicums can be grown in Kenya using various methods, but the best way to grow them depends on the available resources, the location, and the desired outcome. Here are some tips on the best ways to grow capsicums in Kenya:
Choose the right variety: Select a variety that is suitable for the growing conditions and market demand. Some of the popular varieties in Kenya include California Wonder, Yolo Wonder, and Quadrato d’Asti Giallo.
Prepare the soil: Capsicums require well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Add compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil structure, fertility, and water retention capacity.
Transplant seedlings: Start capsicum seedlings in a nursery and transplant them to the field after 4 to 6 weeks when they have 4 to 6 true leaves. Space the plants 30cm to 45cm apart in rows that are 60cm to 75cm apart.
Provide adequate water: Capsicums require regular watering to maintain soil moisture and prevent stress. Irrigate the crop at least twice a week, depending on the weather conditions.
Control pests and diseases: Capsicums are susceptible to various pests and diseases, such as aphids, thrips, whiteflies, and powdery mildew. Use organic or chemical pest control methods to prevent or manage infestations.
Fertilize regularly: Capsicums require adequate nutrients to grow and produce high yields. Apply a balanced fertilizer such as 17:17:17 NPK at the rate of 2.5kg per 100 square meters of land every 4 to 6 weeks.
Harvest regularly: Capsicums should be harvested regularly to promote continuous fruiting and prevent over-ripening. Pick the fruits when they are firm, glossy, and have attained the desired size and color.
How Many Capsicum Heads Can You Get from One Plant?
The number of capsicum heads you can expect from a single plant will depend on the variety of capsicum, as well as the growing conditions. On average, a mature capsicum plant can produce 6-10 peppers, but some varieties, such as the banana pepper, can produce up to 30 peppers per plant. It’s important to note that the number of peppers a plant produces can also be influenced by the amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients it receives.
How Many Times Can You Harvest Capsicums?
Capsicums in Kenya can be harvested multiple times during their growing season, typically between 2 to 4 months after transplanting. The number of times capsicums can be harvested depends on the variety, growing conditions, and management practices.
However, it’s worth noting that the yield and number of harvests can be affected by various factors such as pests and diseases, weather conditions, and the age of the plants. Proper management practices, such as timely irrigation, fertilization, and pest control, can help maximize the yield and the number of harvests.
How Often Do You Fertilize Capsicums?
Capsicums require regular fertilization to ensure optimal growth and yield. In Kenya, it is recommended to fertilize capsicums every 4 to 6 weeks throughout the growing season.
Here are some guidelines for fertilizing capsicums in Kenya:
Use a balanced fertilizer: Capsicums require a balanced fertilizer that provides equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A common fertilizer used in Kenya is 17:17:17 NPK.
Apply fertilizer in small doses: It is advisable to apply fertilizer in small doses to prevent the buildup of excess salts, which can harm the plants. Apply fertilizer at the rate of 2.5kg per 100 square meters of land every 4 to 6 weeks.
Incorporate organic matter: Incorporating organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure can help improve soil fertility, structure, and water retention capacity.
Apply fertilizer evenly: Ensure that fertilizer is applied evenly to avoid over-fertilizing some plants and under-fertilizing others.
Water after fertilization: Water the plants immediately after fertilization to prevent fertilizer burn and ensure that the nutrients are evenly distributed in the soil.
Monitor soil fertility: Regularly monitor soil fertility levels to ensure that the plants have adequate nutrients. Soil testing can help identify any deficiencies or excesses of nutrients and guide appropriate fertilizer application.