There are two kinds of bell pepper — one is the pungent kind and the other not. The first is used in food manufacturing where they are processed as spice and sold as food condiments. The other, non-pungent, is the ordinary kind sold in markets. A hectare of pepper can accommodate 27,600 plants that are about 60 cm apart from each other. Bell pepper likes a warm climate, fertile soil that does not lodge water; it is good to plant it at a time when the sun shines abundantly in that place.
Commercial Scale Planting – As in the preparations for other plants
- Plow the field to remove weeds and their roots. Harrow afterwards.
- Repeat after a week so as to remove remaining weeds whose seeds have now germinated since the first plowing.
- Repeat a third time after 5 days for same reason.
- Dig holes 60 cm apart from one another, 15 cm deep.
- Before transplanting the seedlings, put about 4 cm deep compost at the bottom (if in summer) and 10 cm compost on top (in rainy weather) to facilitate watering.
- With this preparation, prepare the nursery for the seedlings.
Preparation for the Nursery – The nursery bed for bell pepper is about 1 meter wide with the soil about 10 cm high.
- Mix a can (kerosene can) of compost for every square meter bed.
- Place dried coconut leaves about 5 cm thick over the bed for burning. Remove the pieces left unburned. Water very well the nursery bed and compact the top with the aid of a spade or flat wood.
- Line the bed with strings crossing one another, about 6 cm apart. Thrust a stick to make a hole at every intersection into which drop 3 seeds.
- Cover with fine oil about 1 cm deep and press with the finger.
- Use spray water in watering so as not to dislodge the small seeds. Water only during early morning and late afternoon. If it rains, put a roof over the seedlings.
The best fertilizer for soil is compost (or decomposed farm wastes). In its
absence, the following commercial fertilizer may be used as follows:
- Mix 80 grams urea in 16 liters with 3 tablespoons Lannate-Benlate combination. Fungicide and pesticide may also be included. Spray every seven days.
- When the seedlings are about 4 weeks old, pass a sharp knife through the rows, about 2 cm deep or more to make the branches grow from the main stem.
- The seedlings can be transferred to the field in about 5 weeks.
Transplanting of Seedlings
- Spray on the plants about 24 grams fertilizer (12-24-12) dissolved in a gallon of water, to ensure that the newly transferred plants will live.
- Water the area well and ensure that the plants are rinsed.
- Make a hole about 9 cm square in compost, and plant the seedlings in it about 1/3 deep (of its whole length).
- For five days, water and cover with banana leaves during the day and remove the cover at night.
- Cover the surrounding areas with straw, dried leaves or branches about 5 cm thick to protect the area from erosion during rains and from drying up in the heat of summer. This also adds to the fertility of the soil and keeps it soft.
- Always clear the area of weeds.
As much as possible, in the care of plants, it is best to have the soil analyzed at the Bureau of Soils Laboratory to know that fertilizer would be best to use. But if this is not possible, the most common way of spraying chemical fertilizer is as follows:
More or less, the equivalent of:
- 60 kilos nitrogen = 6 bags ammonium sulfate (20-0-0)
- 129 kilos phosphorus = 13 bags solophos (0-20-0)
- 96 kilos potassium + 3 bags muriate of potash (0=0=60)
In planting, apply all of the nitrogen and potassium, and half of the phosphoric (P) fertilizer. Apply the remaining half P when the plants are flowering.
- Apply on tablespoon on either sides of the plants 10 cm away from the plant. Cover with fine soil 1 cm thick.
- Water a little to make the fertilizer penetrate.
- If not watering or irrigation is possible, do not apply fertilizer because the roots will anyway not benefit from it.
- To prevent lodging of water in the plants area, dig canals at the sides of the plots to where the water will run. For every 10 m make it 30 cm wide and 40 cm deep so as not to injure the plants.
Watering – Irrigation for pepper is not very necessary if these will be planted in September and October when there is rain. But if planted in summer, irrigation is necessary. Do not let the ground crack in dryness. Always wet the surrounding area of the plant especially at the base where the roots are the mouth of the plant.
Support – In rainy weather when the plants are flowering, put up props to support the pepper fruits from lowering to the ground.
Pruning – Prune the plants and remove dead branches and stems and excessive leaves to promote good fruit bearing.
Pests – The pepper plants enemies are pests, diseases and excessive exposure to heat during summer. The last is helped by covering the fruits with cut grasses or tying leaves and branches to shade the fruits from the suns heat.
Harvesting depends on the needs of the consumer. If it is for the market, the fruits are harvested while still green; if it is to be processed, it should be red or half red before picking.
- Pick the pepper fruits toward evening. Trim, wash and wipe, and arrange according to sizes.
- Ripening of immature pepper can be hastened if sprayed with ethrel or stored in 20°C-25°C and 85-90% humidity. To prolong its shelf life, paint it with molten candle.
- Harvest every 5 days. On the 5-8 day, harvest is most abundant. This will further increase if weeds around the plant are kept controlled, fertilizer applied, and maintained with adequate watering.
Drying of Seeds
If the seeds are intended for immediate planting, they can be planted from the fresh pepper. But if planting will be in the next season yet, these should be stored properly.
- Get seeds only from healthy and good ripe pepper. Dry these in the sun for 3 days (about 6% humidity left).
- Do not expose in the sun when the heat is most intense (from noon to 2:00 pm).
- In storing the seeds in a jar with cover, put powdered charcoal at the bottom, about 2Â½ cm thick, which will absorb the humidity. Cover this with a perforated cardboard and put it on the seeds.
- Allow 2 cm space from the lid.
- Cover with a perforated cardboard again and put fine charcoal on it before putting on the lid.
- Close with a tape and open only when the seeds are ready for planting.