Cultivation of pepper (CAPSICUM SPP)

PEPPER (Capsicum spp) Pepper is a spice crop which adds flavours to stew and soup.

It can be used when green or red. It is rich in vitamins and minerals. It belongs to the plant family, Solanaceae. history of pepper production, cultural practices, pest management, harvesting, handling and marketing of pepper.

Land Preparation: The bush is cleared and ridges or heaps are made with hoe. The land can also be prepared mechanically by ploughing, harrowing and ridging.

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Varieties/Cultivars of pepper

All peppers are members of the Solanaceae family, which also includes tomato, tobacco, eggplant and Irish potato. There has been much debate over the years as to how many species of Capsicum truly exist.

Bell Pepper: Bell peppers are mild and come in different colors such as green, red, yellow, and orange. They are commonly used in salads, stir-fries, and as a crunchy addition to various dishes.

Jalapeño Pepper: Jalapeños are moderately hot chilli peppers. They are often used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines to add a spicy kick to salsas, sauces, and dishes like nachos or stuffed jalapeños.

Habanero Pepper: Habaneros are extremely hot peppers with a fruity and citrusy flavour. They are commonly used in Caribbean and Latin American cuisines, adding heat to dishes like jerk chicken or hot sauces.

Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper is a hot chilli pepper that is ground into a fine powder. It is used to add heat and flavour to a wide range of dishes, including curries, soups, and spice rubs.

Serrano Peppers: Serrano peppers are hot and commonly used in Mexican cuisine. They have a bright and crisp flavour and are used in salsas, sauces, and dishes like chiles rellenos.

Poblano Peppers: Poblano peppers are mild to medium heat peppers with a rich flavor. They are often roasted and used in Mexican dishes such as chiles rellenos or in sauces like mole.

Thai Chili Peppers: Thai chilli peppers are small and extremely spicy. They are a staple in Thai cuisine and are used to add heat and flavour to dishes like curries, stir-fries, and sauces.

Anaheim Pepper: Anaheim peppers are mild to medium heat peppers commonly used in Southwestern and Mexican cuisines. They are often roasted and used in dishes like chiles rellenos or added to salsas and sauces.

Ghost Pepper: Ghost peppers, also known as Bhut Jolokia, are extremely hot chili peppers. They are among the hottest peppers in the world and are used sparingly in dishes like hot sauces or chili pastes.

Pepperoncini Pepper: Pepperoncini peppers are mild and slightly tangy. They are often pickled and used as a topping for sandwiches, and salads, or served alongside cheese and charcuterie.

These are just a few examples of the many types of peppers available. Each pepper variety has its own unique characteristics, so you can experiment with different peppers to explore a wide range of flavours and heat levels.

(i) Sweet pepper (Capsicum annum).
(ii) Chilli pepper.
(iii) Bird’s eye pepper (Capsicum frutescens).

Climatic and soil requirements for pepper

Pepper requires a temperature of 15°C- 27°C, rainfall of 100cm -150cm per annum and rich, well-drained loamy soil.
Peppers can be produced on a wide variety of soil types. They grow best, however, in deep, medium-textured sandy loam or loamy, fertile, well-drained soils.

Avoid sites that tend to stay wet. Also, rotate away from fields that have had solanaceous crops within the past 3 or 4 years.

In field production, plants depend on the soil for (1) physical support and anchorage,

(2) nutrients and (3) water. The degree to which the soil adequately provides these three factors depends upon the topography, soil type, soil structure and soil management.

Method of propagation of pepper: This is by seeds

Planting dates of pepper:
Nursery: February – March (ii)Transplanting (Field) April/May Seeding pepper directly into the field is not recommended due to the high cost of hybrid seed and the specific conditions required for adequate germination.

Most pepper is transplanted to the field from green nursery beds. Pepper transplants should be hardened off before transplanting in the field

Spacing for pepper cultivation

plant population per acre depends upon plant growth habit (compact, medium, spreading), plant size (small, medium, large) at maturity,

the vigour of specific cultivars, climate, soil moisture, nutrient availability, management system and soil productivity.

Adequate populations for the many different types and cultivars of peppers range from approximately 7,500 to 14,500 plants per acre.
Nursery: 5cm by 5cm
Field: 60cm by 60cm

Nursery Practices for pepper production

(i) Seeds are drilled in seed boxes trays containing top soil.
(ii) Shade is provided. (iii) Watering is done every and evening. (iv) Weeding is done regularly.

Planting: This is done when the plant is lOcm-l5cm tall. Transplanting of pepper is done with ball of earth on the root to the field around April and May.

Pepper production requires highly intensive management, production and marketing skills and a significant investment

Cultural Practices in peppers production
(i) Weeding: This is done regularly
(ii) Mulching: This should be done to conserve moisture in the soil
(iii) Fertilizer application: Apply 100kg/ha of Ammonium sulphate by ring method

The maturity period of pepper

It matures between two and three months
Harvesting: Pepper (ripe or unripe) can be harvested by hand or with a knife. read more about farm tools here
Processing and storage of peppers; ripe fruits of pepper can be dried or cured day and night for 6 – 14 days. Dried fruits are stored in sacks and kept in warm places.

Pests of pepper

(i) Crickets and grasshoppers attack plants and eat up the leaves. find out more about biting and chewing insect here
Control: Spray with insecticides. Diseases of pepperr
(1) Leaf spot: It is caused by a fungus.
Symptoms: Symptoms include spotting of leaves of young plants in the nursery, resulting in the decay of flowers and leaves.

Control: Spray with insecticides
(2) Damping off: It is a fungal disease spread by water read about water-borne diseases here . The leaves wither gradually and dry off.

Control:
(i) Seeds should not be sown very close to each other
(ii) Spray with copper fungicides

(1) Leaf Curl: It is caused by a virus which is transmitted by an insect. you read about insect-borne diseases here

Symptoms
Symptoms include wrinkling of the leaves and stunted growth
Control:
(i) Spray with insecticide to kill the vector
(ii) Uproot and burn infected plant
(iii) Practice crop rotation

Bacterial spot is the most common and often the most serious disease affecting peppers in Georgia. This disease is caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria.

Bacterial spot lesions can be observed on leaves stems and fruit, and occurs at all stages of plant growth. Leaf lesions usually begin as small, water-soaked lesions that gradually become necrotic and brown in the centre

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