Bell Pepper Growing (Capsicum) Information:
The following content is all about Bell Pepper growing.
Introduction of Bell Pepper growing
Bell pepper and its numerous species are originated and found in Central and South America. Pepper is one of the most common food spices widely used throughout the world. Peppers are the most important spice commodity available in various colors and tastes and used in almost all cuisines. There are many types of species of Capsicum and five species are domesticated and cultivated commercially. Bell, Yellow wax, Cherry, Ancho, Cayenne, Jalapeno and Serrano are the species mostly cultivated. Bell peppers are popularly known as “Capsicum”. It is also known as “Paprika” in some parts of the world.
Peppers are perennial crops which grow well in warm climatic regions and yield for more years in tropical climates. The plants are sensitive to frost. Bell pepper plants are short bushes that grow up to 100 cm (3.3 feet) tall with woody stems. The flowers are 2.5 cm and look like bell shape while the stems have alternating leaves. Compared to chillies, bell pepper does not produce capsaicin chemical which when come in contact with mucous membrane cause strong burning sensation.
Bell peppers come in wide variety of colors and the most common colors are red, yellow, green, and orange. The other rare colors are purple, white, lavender and brown.
Capsicum or Bell Peppers can be grown successfully in polyhouse and greenhouse. Growing these vegetables are fun especially in back yards. Presently, most of the proper are showing interest to grow the capsicum in pots and containers as single pepper plant can yield many fruits.
Scientific / botanical name of Bell Pepper
Capsicum annuum is botanical name for bell pepper and all peppers are members of Solanacea family.
Other names of Bell Pepper
Bell pepper is also known as with the following names in other parts of the world.
- Red pepper.
- Yellow pepper.
- Green pepper.
- Sweet pepper.
- Cayenne pepper.
Bell Pepper/Capsicum in Indian Languages
- English – Capsicum.
- Hindi – Simla Mirch.
- Tamil – Kudamilagai.
- Malayalam – Kuda mulagu.
- Telugu – Capsicum / Banglore Mirchi.
- Kannada – donne menasinakaayi.
- Bengali – Shimla Mirch.
- Marathi – Dhobli Mirchi.
- Punjabi – Simla Mirch.
- Gujarati– Singo.
Health benefits of Capsicum or bell peppers
- Capsicum / Bell pepper lowers triglycerides which help in burning calories and keeping cholesterol in control.
- Capsicum / Bell peppers prevent indigestion by secreting digestive juices.
- Capsicum / Bell peppers are rich source of Vitamin A and C, which are powerful antioxidants.
- Red bell peppers are high in lycopene which are full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, anti-skin aging, and even improves fertility.
- High in vitamin B6 and regulate hormones.
Bell Pepper Varieties / Bell Pepper Cultivars for Bell Pepper growing
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Climate and Soil requirement for Bell Pepper growing
Bell pepper prefers warm temperature to grow well. Production of fruits and growth is very less in cool weather. The best temperature to grow bell pepper is between 20° C to 25° C. Germination of seed is slow in soils whose temperature is low. The best soil temperature for germination is between 24° C to 30° C.
Land preparation in Bell Pepper growing
Bell Peppers can be grown on a wide variety of soil types. However, in fertile, sandy loam and well-drained soils are preferred for high yield. Though pepper plants are not particularly sensitive to acidic soils, in soils whose pH range from 6.0 to 7.0 best results are obtained. Proper tillage is essential for proper and quick germination of seeds and establishment of young seedlings. The soil must be free from pebbles and clods with adequate soil moisture at the time of plantation. The field must be thoroughly prepared with five to six times of ploughing for fine tilth and followed by smooth planking.
Plantation of pepper plants on a raised bed is always preferred in bell pepper growing. Bed raised with red laterite soil is recommended in growing bell pepper plants. Beds must be loose, highly porous, and well drained providing adequate aeration for development of roots. The roots of the plant may grow inside the soil up to 100 cm to 120 cm while majority of the roots will be established in depth around 50 cm to 60 cm. Hence root growth might be restricted if the roots encounter hard pan, compacted or heavy clay layer beneath the soils.
Propagation in Bell Pepper growing
Pepper seeds can be sown directly in the soil, but for commercial farming transplanting seedlings is highly favored. Direct sowing involves labour cost and other cost activities.
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Seed rate, season, sowing and spacing in Bell Pepper growing
Seedlings with 5 to 6 leaves stage are transplanted on a 90 cm wide bed. Seedlings are planted with 40 cm to 45 cm apart in double rows of 60 cm apart. For pepper varieties 1000 grams of seeds and for hybrid 200 grams per hectare are required. After transplanting the beds must be irrigated immediately. The best season to sow seeds is when the weather is warm. In some regions the best time to plant peppers is after frost is passed when the day temperatures are between 22° C to 32° C. On an average a grower can grow bell pepper plants from 12,000 to 15,000 per acre.
Irrigation in Bell Pepper growing
Providing irrigation for consistent and high yield of bell peppers is very essential. There are several ways to irrigate the farm land. A grower depending several factors such as availability of equipment’s, water resources, field shape and size, and labor requirements can either choose sprinkler, drip, or conventional irrigation. Drip irrigation is highly recommended and most popular method for pepper growing. Field must be properly irrigated before transplanting seedlings. Maintain soil moisture up to 30 cm depth when roots get established. Drip irrigation must be used more frequently than other irrigation systems. Water through drip must be operated on a daily or alternate day basis, however soil must not be damp or saturated with water especially when using plastic mulch. Irrigation is essential while peppers production and yield goes down in water logged soil.
Manures and Fertilizers in Bell Pepper growing
Fresh farm yard manure is must not be used especially during the growing season. Well decomposed and rotten manure from poultry is recommended than farm yard manure. Bell peppers usually do not need much fertilizers and nutrients to perform well. Poultry composted manure has high content of the three essential macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium than farm yard manure along with calcium, zinc, manganese, sulphur, boron and iron at the time of flowering and fruiting.
Use fertilizer with a Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium in the ratio of 1:2:2 for established plants. Depending on the soil fertility status, 35 to 55 kg of nitrogen, 55 to 110 kg of phosphorous and 80 to 100 kg of potash in the form of ammonium sulphate, super phosphate and potash must be given per hectare respectively. Farmyard manure of about 60 to 80 cartloads must be applied at the time of first ploughing the field.
Intercultural operations in Bell Pepper growing
Effective weed management is a critical step for successful bell pepper/capsicum production. Weeds compete for light, nutrients, water thereby interfere in pepper harvesting and yield. Weeds can be controlled either by cultural control methods ( transplant seedlings free of weeds) or mechanical control methods (mowing, discing, plowing or hand pulling of weeds).
Bell pepper is a shallow rooted crop; weeds must be removed as early as possible by hoeing the soil by either hand or sickle but not too deep to damage the roots. Proper selection of herbicides and fumigants will control weed growth. By applying mulches, they act as a barrier for many weed growths.
Pests and diseases in Bell Pepper growing
Some of the important, common insects and diseases that attack bell pepper growing are:
- Insects/Pests in Bell Pepper growing
- Thrips: These tiny slender yellow insects lacerate the tender plant tissues and suck the sap from leaves leaving white blotches and curly leaves. Thrips can be controlled by spraying 1.5 ml per litreMalathion (Cythion50 EC) or 1 ml per litre of Dimethoate (Rogar30 EC). Nicotine Sulphate of 0.25% can also be sprayed in controlling these insects.
- Aphids: These insects suck the sap from the leaves thereby causing considerable loss in bell pepper/capsicum production. Aphids can be controlled by spraying Dimeton methyl (0.05 to 0.02%) or Monocrotophos (0.05 to 0.01%).
- Mites: This tiny spider like insects feed on leaves of chilli and bell pepper. Large numbers of these insects are found underneath the leaves and devitalize the crops by sucking the cell sap. Mites can be controlled by spraying 3 ml per litre of Phosaione (Zolone35 EC) or 1 ml per litre of Dimethoate (Rogar) or 1.5 ml per litre of Dicophol (Kelthane) are very effective against mites.
- Diseases in Bell Pepper growing
- Dampin off: This fungal disease attacks on seeds or seedlings in the soil and is commonly found or occurs in nurseries. In soils with poor drainage conditions they start as patches and in few days will destroy entire lot in the nursery. Damping off disease can be controlled by spraying copper oxychloride such as Blitox or Fytolan or 0.5 to 1.0% of Bordeaux mixture on young seedlings.
- Anthracnose: High humidity favours in spreading of this disease. The fungus attacks on foliage, stem and fruits. Infected fruits drop off prematurely with dark, round sunken spots. Anthracnose disease can be controlled when the seeds before sowing are treated with organomercurials such as Thiram (0.2%) or Brassico (0.2%).
- Powdery mildew: During summers white talcum powder like growth appears on leaf and the diseased leaves are shed and plants remain stunted which is a serious threat to bell pepper crop. Powdery mildew can be controlled by spraying 0.2% of Sulfex or 0.2% of Calixin at two weeks interval.
- Bacterial wilt: This is a serious disease that affects leaves and fruits. Even a normal grown up plant when affected will develop rapid and complete wilting. To control bacterial wilt, apply 15 kg per hectare of bleaching powder before planting but there is no chemical control for this disease. However, ArkaGaurav cultivar is tolerant to this disease.
- Leaf curl disease: The common symptoms are curling of leaves along with puckering and blistering at interveinal places and mid swelling of the leaves. This viral disease is transmitted by thrips and aphids which are found common in chilli and bell pepper growing. To control, the best way is by uprooting the plants that are infected at the early stage and destroying them away from the main farm.
Harvesting in Bell Pepper growing
The fruits can be harvested depending on the market requirement or the fruit color required for marketing. The flavor changes according to the color of the fruit. Most bell peppers change color from green to red, yellow, orange when matured which usually happens from 60 to 80 days after transplanting. Bell peppers or capsicum wont ripe once the fruits are removed from the plant so leave the fruits on the plants to be ripened. Ripe sweet peppers are easy to pick with an upward twist which leaves a piece of stem attached while immature peppers are rather soft and yield to mild pressure from the fingers.
Yield in Bell Pepper growing
The yield of bell pepper varies depending upon variety and the method of cultivation. Grower can expect a yield of 10 to 12 tonnes per hectare of quality fruits.
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Marketing of Bell Pepper
Bell type peppers or capsicum can be marketed after reaching suitable market size and color. Bell pepper has much demand locally and in export.There is a limited demand for red, yellow, orange or purple colors. Capsicum or bell pepper can be marketed in local markets or exported by marketing agency. Bell pepper is transported in a cool and with good ventilation vehicles to avoid fungal infestation.Green peppers can be stored in good condition for at least 30 to 40 days at Zero degrees with 95 to 98% relative humidity.
Bell pepper growing Tips:
- Sweet peppers require full sun and warm weather to grow their best.
- Soil should be well drained, apply either mulch or plastic coveringto retain soil moisture.
- Sweet peppers benefit from rich organic fertilizer and must be fed at their active growing season.
- Though they are low maintenance crop, pinch off first flowers as this helps them direct their energy into growing and later in the season yields large fruits.
- Bell pepper or capsicum grows best when they get consistent right amount of water.
- Weed carefully around as they are shallow rooted plants.
- To prevent plants bending, use cages or stakes for support.
- Fertilize after the first fruit set.
- Peppers are sweetened if harvested after they turn into mature color.