Growing Sweet Pepper

Sweet Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) also known as capsicum, kampana, or lara is the most widely used condiment all over the world. It is consumed fresh, dried or processed. Sweet pepper is a warm and dry season crop. It germinates well at temperature of 20°C to 30°C and grows best at around 25°.

Variety [click image to enlarge]

Climatic and Soil Requirements

Sweet pepper requires cool weather for best fruit quality, in low elevations, however, planting is the best from October to December. In mid and high elevations, it can be grown throughout the year.

Sweet pepper grows well in any type of soil with pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Production is best, however, in deep loam soil with good fertility, easy irrigation, adequate drainage and plenty of sunshine.

Sweet pepper should not be grown on the same soil year after year because of disease problems. It is best to rotate the crop with rice, legume, sugarcane and corn.

Seedling Production

One hectare requires 100-200 g of seeds, it is best to produce seedlings in nurseries and transplant 3-4 weeks later. Prepare seedbeds by incorporating 2 – 4 kg of manure and 1-2 kg rice hull charcoal/m2. Prepare 1m wide beds at any convenient length. First, water the beds, then make lines across each bed at 7-10 cm apart. Sow the seeds thinly if no pricking will be dome.

Fertilizer

To produce a good crop of sweet pepper, both manure and commercial fertilizer wilt be needed.
Cover lightly with manure and mulch with rice hull. In the case of hybrid seeds, prick to nursery trays soon after germination. Provide temporary shade and harden seedlings one week before transplanting.

Land Preparation

Prepare the area thoroughly. For small areas, make plots 0.75- 1m wide for two-row/plot planting. In bigger areas, make furrows 0.5 – 0.75 m apart for single row planting. Apply basal fertilizer at 5 – 7 bags/ha 14-14-14 and 5-10 tons/ha manure. Transplant at a spacing of 0.3 – 0.5 m between hills. Irrigation must be started immediately after transplanting.

Mulching

Use mulch to control weeds and promote better growth. Rice hull, rice straw or plastic may be used. In case of the latter, make beds 1m wide and incorporate the required manure and fertilizer. Spread the mulch so that it will cover the sides with soil.

Plastic mulching is also important to prevent soil erosion during rainy season. It also keeps the soil moist during the dry season and prevents sudden rises in temperature in the soil when its hot.

It is necessary to remove all the side shoots below the first branch of the main stem to promote fruit setting.

Maintenance

Irrigate weekly. Weed 2-3 times during the growing season. Weeds must be removed as early as possible by hand or using a sickle. If using a hoe, do not hoe the soil too deep as this will damage the roots. Hoeing should also not be done during the latter part of the growing season. It is best to intercrop with other vegetables, such as kutsai, and garlic as well as marigold to help minimize the incidence of insect pests.

Cultivation and weeding should be carried out before file first and second side-dressing. Apply soil to cover the side-dressed fertilizer on the shoulders of the bed to facilitate the growth of roots and absorption of nutrients.

Side-dress with urea (46-0-0) every two weeks at 5 -10 g/hill depending on plant growth. At the onset of the fruiting, use a ratio of 1:1 mixture of 46-0-0 and 0-60

Pest and Disease Management

Insect Pests/Diseases – Recommendation

  • Aphids – Intercropping; hot pepper spray, organophosphate
  • Spider mites – Intercropping; spray with miticide
  • Cutworm – Hot pepper spray; Bacillus thuringiensis
  • Fruitfly – Sanitation; fruitfly attractant
  • Fruit and shoot borer – Sanitation; hot pepper spray; synthetic pyrethroids
  • Bacterial wilt – Sanitation; use of resistant variety; avoidance
  • Nematodes – Application of chicken manure; Intercropping with marigold
  • Anthracnose – Crop rotation; sanitation, spray wrth Benlate
  • Leaf spot diseases – Sanitation; spray with Mancozeb. Benlate
  • Virus diseases – Refrain from smoking in the vicinity; rouging

Harvesting

Start harvesting at 80-100 days from transplanting or 3 – 6 weeks after flowering. Harvest mature green fruits or before it is reaches full maturity.

Post Harvest

Sort fruits according to market standard and separate damaged fruits. Fresh fruits can be stored up to five weeks at 4°C and 95% humidity.

For further information, contact:

Department of Agriculture
Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City
Phone: (02) 928-8741 to 45
Web: www.da.gov.ph

photo from sunwingtomatoes.ca

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