Capsicum performs well under irrigated conditions. The optimum temperatures for growth are 15ºC-25 ºC. The low night temperatures in July/ August in Kenya are favorable for production of this vegetable. Seedlings take 21 days to germinate, 45 days in the nursery bed and 90 days to mature. At a spacing of 75cm by 45cm one acre can accommodate 10,000 plants, each yielding about 10 heads to give a total harvest of 100,000 heads.
At a market price of 10/= per head, the gross turnover of 1 Million per acre can be realized. The cost of production per acre is about ksh about 150,000. Marketing opportunities are excellent in local and export market. Sweet pepper is a vegetable that is widely grown in Kenya. Sweet pepper is red, yellow or green in colour. The vegetable plant tolerates a wide range of climate from warm temperate to tropical, including irrigated dry hot areas.
Capsicums are sensitive to frost and optimum temperature for for growth and fruit set are 15-25ºC. The vegetables grows well in altitudes up to 2,000M. Capsicum can be grown on a wide range of well drained loamy or heavy cracking clay soils with optimum ph of 6.0-6.5. The sweet pepper has a mild flavour and is used as a vegetable in stews, vegetable salads, stuffed with meat or pickled. (Chilies are used for seasoning food) Growing of sweet pepper begins in the nursery.
To make a capsicum seed nursery prepares a raised bed 1M wide and any convenient length. Work in manure and phosphate fertilizer. Make drills 15cm apart and sow the vegetable seed thinly, then cover lightly with soil. Later thin out to 5cm to produce sturdy capsicum plants. Shade the vegetable beds lightly and water once or twice daily. Do not plant the vegetable near tobacco as they share many diseases.
Capsicum Seed rate is 0.5kg/ha in the nursery and 1kg/ha when directly sown. Field establishment site should be well prepared; manure and basic fertilizer should be applied. Transplanting is carried out when the seedlings attain at least 4 true leaves stage. Sowing in the field is recommended at a spacing of 75×45 .The growing tip can be pinched out when the plant is 30cm high to encourage ripening.
Capsicums/sweet pepper should not be grown after other solanaceous plant as they share diseases. Up to 10 tons/ha of manure is required depending on the soil organic matter content. This is equivalent to 1-2 handfuls of manure per sowing hole. Apply 250kg/ha of double super phosphate fertilizer at sowing time. When sweet pepper plants are 15cm high apply 100kg per ha of C.A.N Fertilizer and later with 200kg/ha CAN 4 weeks later. The manure and fertilizer should be mixed well with the soil. Apply vegetable material mulch to protect fruit from water splash and retain soil moisture.
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Harvesting starts 2.5 to 3 months after sowing and continues for 2-3 for chillies and 4-6 months for capsicums. Chillies and paprika for the dried product can be left on the plant to partially wither if conditions allow. Only mature fruits are picked and packaged for market. Harvest sweet peppers when filled out and still green or just turned red. The hand harvested fruits should be placed under shade for grading, sorting, and packaging to avoid shriveling.
Produce for Export should conform to the export regulations with respect to quality, packaging and labeling. The principal diseases affecting growing capsicum or sweet pepper plants include powdery mildew, viral complex and physiological disorders. Pests can cause serious vegetable seedling losses in the nursery and damage to the growing sweet pepper plants. Suitable control measures should be applied on the capsicums.
First appeared on Yagrein