Transplanting Chili Plants

Transplanting Chili Plants
by Jim Bold

The time from transplanting to the first harvest varies with the type and cultivar grown. In the United States Boswell et al. (1964) give the time to the green mature stage of sweet peppers as 58-82 days, with many of them about 78 days.

For inorganic fertilizers, they recommend 560-670 kg per hectare of a 4-5 : 6-8 : 6-8 N : P : K mixture to be applied about a week before transplanting and a top dressing of 140 kg per hectare of ammonium sulphate or equivalent nitrogenous fertilizer at the time of fruit setting.

On lighter sandier soils they suggest a dressing of 840- 1120 kg per hectare of a 5 : 8 : 8 or 5 : 10 : 10 fertilizer before transplanting, with a top dressing of nitrogen at fruit setting, to which is added 56 kg of muriate or sulphate of potash.

Approximately 1h of seed should be sufficient to supply for 1 hectare. Plants should be large enough for transplanting at 6-8 weeks old. For hot-beds a temperature of 21-24 C is recommended before emergence of the seedlings and 18-21 C after emergence. The young plants must be hardened off before transplanting. The seed should be treated with a fungicide before sowing against seed-borne diseases.

The potassium sulphate was applied at transplanting and 5 weeks later. The affect of nitrogen applied as urea was not significant. An organic mulch also gave a significant response which was largely due to the potassium content. In Andhra Pradesh in India, 67 kg N, 34 kg P205 and 56 kg K20 per hectare was found to be ideal for the rain-fed chilli crop (Aiyadurai, 1966). The crop should be weeded or the weeds controlled by means of herbicides.

Some of the larger growing cultivars will require a wider spacing with plants 75-90 cm apart in rows 105 cm apart. In the British Solomon Islands, Gollifer (1973) used a spacing of 1.2 m between rows and a within-row spacing of 0.6 m. The best yields in many parts of India are given at a spacing of 60 x 15 cm.

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