Climate and Soil
Sweet pepper is more sensitive to unfavorable environment.The optimum night temperature for quality fruit production is 16-18' C. When.When the temperature falls below 16' C for extended periods, growth and yields usually decrease. It can tolerate day temperature over 30' C and night temperature 21-24' C. High temperature and dry winds result in flower and fruit drop. Sweet pepper is insensitive to photo period and humidity.Sweet pepper grows better in a loam or sandy loam soil with good water holding capacity. They can be grown on all types of soils, as long as it is well drained. Soil pH should be between 5.5-6.8.
Sowing Time : Seeds are sown in the nursery beds in the end of October. The seedlings are protected from frost during December January by covering with polythene sheet or sarkanda cover and transplanted in mid February. To raise early crop, the seed can also be sown in nursery in mid October and transplanted in end November.This crop is protected with polythene or sarkanda cover in the field during the period of frost.
Seed rate : Use 200 g of seed per acre.
Low tunnel technology : To get early yield of sweet pepper the low tunnel technology can be practiced. It helps to protect the plants against extreme low temperature from December to mid February. Nursery of the crop is sown in the first fortnight of October.Protect the seedlings against white fly to check the spread of viruses by covering them with net in the area of nursery itself. Four to five week old seedling are planted on both sides of the raised beds maintaining a distance of 130 cm and 30 cm between rows and plants respectively In beginning of December, fix the iron arches manually at a distance of 2 meter so as to cover the paired rows and support the plastic tunnels. To prepare these arches, flexible iron rods of 2 meter length are shaped into hoops and fixed in a way so as to have the height of 45-60 cm above the bed level. Transparent non-perforated plastic sheet of 100 gauge thickness should be used to cover the plants. It helps to keep the temperature of low tunnel higher than outside. The sides of the sheet should be buried in to the soil on both sides. When the temperature rises in the month of February,remove the plastic sheet.
Spacing : The seedlings are planted on ridges 60 cm apart with a plant to plant distance of 30 cm.
Manures and Fertilizers
This crop is a heavy feeder, therefore, loam to clay loam soils are preferred for higher yield. Farmyard manure at the rate of 20-tonnes/acre is applied at the time of preparation of the soil. The inorganic fertilizers at the rate of 50 kg N (110 kg of Urea), 25 kg P2O5 (175 kg of Super phosphate) and 12 kg K2O (20 kg Muriate of Potash) should be applied per acre. Whole P2O5 , K2O, and 1/3 of N are applied at the time of planting and rest of N is supplied in two equal doses one and two months after transplanting.
Irrigation : First irrigation should be given immediately after transplanting. Afterwards irrigation is given at 4 to 5 days interval during hot weather and 7 to 8 days during cold weather.
Harvesting and Post Harvest Handling
The crop is ready for harvest in about 3 months after transplanting.Pick the fruits when they are fully developed but still green and shining.Pack bell pepper in paper molded trays and wrap with heat shrinkable or cling film. It improves the shelf life and retains the quality for 10 days in super market (18-200 C) & 7 days in ordinary market (28-300 C) conditions.
A. Insect pests
Thrips, mites, aphids and white fly are the serious pests of these crops. For their control, spray the crop with 400 ml of Malathion 50 EC in 100-125 liters of water at 15-20 days interval.