(1) Sow three seeds of your chosen variety of aubergine or capsicum in each 7.5 cm (3 in) peat pot containing peat-based mixture. The seeds should be 1.3 cm 0.5 in) deep. Place the pots in a dark spot where the temperature is above 21 C (70 F) until the seeds germinate. Then move the pots to a sunny windowsill.
As soon as the seedlings can be handled easily, thin to leave just one plant in each pot.
(3) When the plants are 12.5 cm (5 in) tall, pinch out their tops to encourage them to become bushy. If the plants become too large for their peat pots, they can be planted in 12.5 cm (5 in) plastic pots containing peat-based mixture. In late spring the plants can be set out in the greenhouse, either four to a growing bag or singly in 38 cm (9 in) plastic pots containing peat-based mixture.
If you wish to plant in the garden, you should wait until early summer and set the plants 60 cm (2 ft) apart. The soil for aubergines and peppers outdoors should be prepared by forking in plenty of compost and top dressing with vegetable fertilizer at the rate of 135 gm per sq m (4 oz per sq yd).
(4) Whether the plants are growing out of doors or in the greenhouse, they should be provided with bamboo canes for support.
(5) Once the flowers appear, spray gently with lukewarm water to encourage fruit to form. The plants should also be fed every two weeks with a liquid general fertilizer.
Capsicum, sweet pepper, green pepper and red pepper
Sowing to harvest time: 20 to 26 weeks.
Yield: Varies according to the variety, but generally 680 to 960 gm (15 to 21b) to a plant.
Climate preferred: Subtropical.
Aspect: Sunny and sheltered.
Soil: Rich and fertile, or potting mixture in a pot or growing bag.
Capsicums come in all shapes and sizes. A red pepper is simply a green pepper which has been left out in the sun.
Sowing and planting
Capsicum seeds should be sown in early or mid-spring and the plants kept indoors in a sunny-position where the temperature is as close to 18 C (65 F) as possible. The general cultivation is the same as that for aubergines.
Pests and diseases
Begin to pick the fruits when they are still green – unless you want some red peppers. Store by freezing.
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