Capsicum annum (bell pepper or sweet pepper) , known as ‘Simla Mirchi’ in Hindi, ‘Seema Mirapakaya’ in Telugu belongs to the family Solanacea, common annual herb cultivated throughout India. The plant is actually a native of China, Brazil and Egypt. The growing season is of short duration.

The capsicum thrives best in a well-drained, exceptionally fertile, light sandy loam soil, well-tilled and well manured. The seeds are first sown in seed trays and transplanted when they are three inches in height. The stem is somewhat woody with thin green branches and lance-shaped, green leaves. The leaf axils bear white flowers in early summer. The thick-skinned fruit is a berry which is hollow with seeds inside. When ripe, the fruits are red, yellow or brown.

Capsicums are subject to attack of pest which causes a leaf-curl disease. The pest in the form of an insect devours the tender leaves. Tobacco decoction is an effective remedy. One has to soak waste tobacco pieces in water for 24 hours and spray it on the plant.

Capsicums can be easily grown in the kitchen garden or in pots provided the soil is well-prepared. . The vegetable is high in Vitamin C content.

CHITRA RADHAKRISHNAN

More In: METRO PLUS | FEATURES