Nutritive Value: Chilli increases the palatability and taste of cooked vegetable and other food, while capsicum can be used as a vegetable or salad to eat raw with meals. Green chilli contains 86 percent water, 3.0 percent carbohydrates, 3.0 percent proteins and 6.8 percent fibers, 1.0 percent minerals like sulphur, chlorine, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, and is rich in vitamins A and C.
Soil and Climate: Medium to heavy soil with good drainage is ideal for chilli cultivation. But ill drained and water lodged conditions are bad for cultivating. Chilli requires a hot and humid climate, and a temperature of 25 to 30 °C is ideal for it. Temperatures below 25 °C can severely affect vegetable growth and production.
Important Varieties: Byadagi, Sankeshwari and Pusa Jwala are popular and high yielding varieties of chilli and California Wonder, Arka Mohini, Yellow Wonder and Bharath are popular varieties of capsicum grown in South India.
Planting and Irrigation: Chilli can be grown throughout the year. Seeds are sown in January-February for summer chilli, October-November for winter chili and June-July for the rainy season crop. Seedling of 4 to 6 weeks should be transplanted in a pot, a container or in the soil bed at 45 cm x 45 cm distance for chilli and at 60 cm x 60 cm distance for capsicum followed by irrigation. Chilli and
capsicum crops should be watered at 56 day intervals in summer and 10 to 15 day intervals in the winter season. Often, capsicum requires support by tying with a rope or thread.
Plant Protection: Chilli and capsicum crops are generally pest and disease free. However, sometimes it is attacked by a virus causing shrinking of leaves leading to stunted growth. It can be managed by selecting disease free seeds from reliable sources and if diseases occur, it can be managed by spraying insecticides that will kill the diseases preading insects like aphids and white flies.
Harvesting: Chilli can start yielding fruits 90 days after transplanting. Fruits can be hand picked for green chilli for vegetable preparations and ripe chilli for storage and making red chilli powder. Capsicum is harvested only for vegetables and salads, and cannot be converted to powder.