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Chilli sans pungency

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Colours beckon Capsicum variety on display
Colours beckon Capsicum variety on display

Capsicum is rich in nutritional value

Capsicum annum (bell pepper or sweet pepper) belongs to the family Solanacea, common annual herb cultivated throughout India. The plant is actually a native of China, Brazil and Egypt. There are several distinct varieties – small fruited kind that are hot and pungent as well as the large fruited variety – the mild flavoured ones used as vegetable. The growing season is however, 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. They are bushy and low-growing. The stem, somewhat woody with thin green branches with lance-shaped, green leaves. The leaf axils bear white flowers in early summer months. The thick-skinned fruit is a berry which is hollow with seeds inside. The green fruit ripens of two months of transplantation. When ripe, the capsicum 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. Sweet capsicum can be eaten raw as part of the salad or cooked as a vegetable. The vegetable is high in Vitamin C content.

CHITRA RADHAKRISHNA

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