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.
Varieties/Cultivars of pepper
All peppers are members of the Solanacea 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.
(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 a 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 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, vigor 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 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
Maturity period of pepper
It matures between two and three months
Harvesting: Pepper (ripe or unripe) can be harvested with hand or with knife. read more about farm tools here
Processing and storage of pepperr; 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 nursery, resulting in 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.
(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 include wrinkling of the leaves and stunted growth
(i) Spray with insecticide to kill 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 on all stages of plant growth. Leaf lesions usually begin as small, water-soaked lesions that gradually become necrotic and brown in the center
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