The bell pepper belongs to the family Solanaceae and genus capsicum. The bell peppers are mild types and mostly used as green vegetable commonly known as ‘Simla Mirchi’. They are rich in Vitamin ‘A’ and ‘C’.
Scientific name-Capsicum annuum.
Season for growing Bell pepper/Capsicum
The bell peppers are successfully grown in rabi season in the Telangana region of our State particularly in Medak, Ranga Reddy Districts and around Hyderbad city, where the minimum temperatures range between 10-17OC for over 30-40 days. The seeds are generally sown in 2nd fortnight of September and 5-6 week old seedlings are transplanted.
Soil requirement for Bell pepper/Capsicum
Well-drained fertile soils are most suitable for this crop. Salty or saline soils are not suitable.
Bell pepper varieties
The varieties differ in colour and shape ranging from dark green to yellow in colour and 5 cm to 30 cm in length. The important varieties recommended by IARI are California Wonder, Yolo-Wonder and King of North. I.I.H.R., Bangalore has released the following three promising varieties.
1. Arka Gaurav (Sel-16)
It is an improvement over the capsicum variety California Wonder from U.S.A. The plants are indeterminate in the growth habit, bearing dark green, 3-4 lobed, erect fruits each weighing on an average 180g. It produces 15-18 tons/ha of fruits in 140 days.
2.Arka Mohini (Sel-13)
The variety was evolved from the variety ‘Titan’ from Florida. The plants are determinate inhabit bearing dark green 3-4 loded blocking fruits each weighing 280g. It produces 15-20 tonnes of fruits per hectare in 125 days.
3. Arka Basant
It is an improvement over the Hungarian variety ‘Sorokan’ capsicum. The plants are indeterminate in growth habit bearing cream coloured conical and erect fruits. This variety has very good cooking quality and yields 15 tonnes of fruits per hectare in 130-160 days.
Seeds and Sowing time for Bell pepper cultivation
About 500-650g of seed should be sown uniformly in 30 sq meter beds. Three such beds are required for planting in hectare.
Treat the seed with thiram or dithane M-45 at the rate of 3 g/kg of seed before sowing and apply 100g of Furadon-3 granules per 30 sq meters of nursery beds and sufficient quality of organic manures.
Drenching of nursery beds with copper fungicides at 12th and 19th day of sowing will prevent wilting of seedlings due to damping off. Transplant 35 to 40 days old seedlings, 2 seedlings per hill may be planted at 60 cm x 45 cm spacing.
Best Fertilizers for Bell Peppers/Capsicum
A basal dose of 25 tonnes of farmyard manure per ha is to be applied in final ploughing. Sheep penning can be done if available. Apply neem cake at 4-5 quintals/ha., preferably mixing with fertilizers at the time of final ploughing. A balanced dose of NPK fertilizers is necessary to get a good crop. A basal dose of 60 kg P2O5 and 30 kg K2O is to be applied at the time of final ploughing. After 45 days of planting three split doses of 20 kg N plus 10 kg K2O each at 15 days interval followed by irrigation. Foliar application of 1% urea along with insecticidal or fungicidal spray can be given and each time only 8-10 kg of urea may be required.
In the soils where zinc deficiency is noticed, application of 50 kg/ha of zinc sulphate or zinc sulphate spray at 2 g/lit of water using 1250g of zinc sulphate per hectatre will rectify the deficiency.
3 to 4 time’s inter-cultivation is to be done either by a junior hoe or light plough after each irrigation. Intercultivation is to be followed by hand weeding to check weed growth.
Bell pepper cannot withstand heavy moisture. Hence irrigation should be given as and when it is necessary. The number of irrigations and intervals between irrigation depend on soil and climatic conditions. If the plants show symptoms of dropping of leaves at 4.00 P.M. it is an indication that irrigation is needed.
Harvesting of Bell pepper
15-20 tonnes of bell peppers can be harvested in about 135 to 150 days.
Bell pepper/ Capsicum pests and control-
1.Thrips (Scrtothrips dorsalis H.)
Both nymphs and adults damage the crop. They lacerate the leaf tissue and suck the sap. The infested leaves develop crinkles and curl upwards. The severely infested plants develop bronze colour. If the plants are affected at early stage they remain stunted in growth and flower production and pod set are arrested causing severe loss in yield.
Spray carbaryl 0.15% @ 3 g or Phosalone 0.1% 3 ml or Methyl demeton 0.05% @ 2ml or Acephate 0.75 1-1.5 g/l or Fipronil 2 ml or Spinosad 0.25ml or Chlorfenpyl 2ml, Difenthurion 1.5 g or monocrotophos 1.5 ml of water.
2. Mites (Polyphago–tasonlmus latus b.)
The affected leaves curl down ward along the margins of the leaf and attains on inverted boat shape. The pedicles of the leaves get elongated and the young leaves at the tip of the branch cluster. The affected plants develop dark green colour. In the affected plants the vegetative growth is inhibited and flower production is ceased and yields ar considerably reduced.
Spray Phosalone 0.1% @ 3ml or Dicofol (kelthane) 0.09% 5ml or Wettable sulphur 3g or Micronised sulphur 2.5g/litre of water. The bottom sides of leaves are also to be sprayed.
3. Aphids (Aphis gossypi g. Myzus persicae)
Aphids appear on the tender shoots, leaves and on the lower surface of the old leaves. They suck the sap and reduce the vigour of the plant. They secrete a sweet substance which attracts ants and develops sooty moulds. The pods that develop black colour due to sooty moulds loose quality and fetch a low price. The yields are also reduced by aphids directly and more through the spread of virus diseases acting as vectors.
The winged forms of aphids migrate from one field to another rapidly. Hence, spraying is to be done as far as possible within a day or two by all the cultivators of a particular locality.
Spray 0.1% Dimethoate 3ml/l of Methyl demeton 0.05% 2ml/l of Acephate 0.075% 1g in 1 lit of water. Spray alternating the chemicals at 10 days interval till the aphids population is checked. Avoid spraying when predatory beetles are seen in sufficient numbers. Monocrotophos 0.07% 2ml plus Nuvan ½ ml/lit of water can also be sprayed to control aphids.
4. Pod borers (Spodoptera litura, Heliothis armigera, Uthesia pulchella)
Pod borers are polyphagaous and appear on chilli crop both in vegetative phase and at the time of pod formation. The caterpillars are pale greenish brown and smooth with dark markings. They enter chilli pods by second and third in the star by making a hole near calyx and feed on chilli seed. The affected pods drop off or develop white colour on drying. The fully grown caterpillars enter the soil for pupation.
Spray Endosulfan 0.07% 2 ml/l or Carbaryl 0.15% 3 g/l or Chloropyriphos 0.05%, 2.5 ml/l or Thiodicarb 1 g or Spinosad 0.23ml or Acephate 1.5g of water. When the borer attack is severe. Monocrotophos 0.07% 2 ml/l or Quinalphos 2.5 ml/l can be sprayed. The dosage of these chemicals should not be increased as they cause flower drop.
Bell Pepper / Capsicum diseases and control
1. Damping off (Pythium aphanidermatum, Phytophthora spp.)
The shrinking of the cortical tissue of the hypocotyl and toppling over of the infected seedlings takes place. Affects germination and stand of seedlings in nursery beds preemergence damping-off.
Treat seed with Captan (2g/kg seed) before sowing. Drench the nursery beds with Captan (0.2%) or Mancozeb (0.25%) and Carbendazim (0.05%) or 1% Bordeaux mixture or Copper oxychloride 0.3%, 2-3 times at weekly intervals starting from the 13th day of sowing on the appearance of symptoms. Rise seedlings on raised nursery beds and practice the rotation of seed-bed.
2.Choanephora blight (Choanephora cucurbitarum)
The disease causes damage to the crop during the rainy season. It occurs in the nursery as well as in the main field. Brown water-soaked lesions occur on the middle of the stem gradually the lesions become black, coalesce and leads to rotting of tissue. The damage spread to the upward and downward direction and leading to drying of affected plant or branches. In the field, the disease can be identified based on the appearance of a stiff silvery mass of whisker-like or hairy strands of the fungus growing out of the affected tissue topped with a ball made of a great number of spores.
Spraying 1 g streptocyclin mixed with 30g of Copper oxychloride per 10 lit of water twice at one-week interval
3. Bacterial leaf spot (Xanthomonos vesicatoria)
It occurs in October to December months. In the beginning, small brown spots are seen on leaves which turn into greyish or black spots. In severe cases, the affected leaves turn yellow and drop-off. Stem infection results in wilting of tender branches and twigs.
Spray Poshamycin or Plantomycin or Agrimycin or Streptocyclin 1g plus 30g Blitox in 10 lit of water at fortnightly intervals.
4. Cercospora leaf spot (Cercospora capsici)
It is a fungal disease appears on the crop from October to February. The disease first manifests as small brownish spots on the leaves and gradually develop into the big circular greyish spots with a whitish center. Later they form into large lesions due to coalescing of the spots. Infection on fruit stalk and calyx is also very common in severe cases. Affected leaves become yellow and defoliated.
Spray Carbendazim @ 1g/l or Mancozeb @ 3g/l of water 2-3 times at one-week interval
5. Dieback or Fruit rot (Colletotrichum capsici)
It is a seed and airborne disease. It makes its appearance in October-November at the time of flowering. Individual flowers get infected and dry up. The infection gradually spreads to the stem. In the affected stem, the bark first turns brownish and then turn to shiny white in long and narrow strips containing several black dot-like fructification. Affected twigs get with red and dry up from tip downwards, after on, the disease spreads to the fruits also. Circular to oval, black spots occur on the ripe pods. Severally affected pods turn straw coloured instead of normal red, shrivel and dry up.
The seed from disease-free crop only should be used for sowing.
Seed treatment with Thiram Captan or Dithane M-45 at 3g per kg of seed should be taken up.
Early removal of isolated cases of die-back will be helpful in checking spread.
Spray Captan 1.5g/lit or Dithane M-45 at 2.5 g/l or copper oxychloride 3.0g/l or Propiconzole @ 1 ml, Difenconazole 0.5ml/l, Copper hydroxide 2.5g/l of water at the time of flowering i.e, in October-November and repeat the spray after 15 days if the disease in seen.
6. Powdery mildew (Oidiopsis taurica)
This disease occurs in December-February. Whitish powdery patches are seen on the lower surface of the leaves. Inabvanced stages, the leaves turn yellow and drop-off. Flower production is ceased.
Spray Karathane 1ml or Sulfex 2g/lit of water of dust sulphur at 20-25 kg/ha.
7.Mosaic (Transmitted by contact)
Leaves show greenish mottle and may slightly curl and become irregular in shape. At times, leaves show cream coloured patches and become yellow. Fruits are yellow, wrinkled and withered, causing 10-15% losses in yield.
8.Mosaic (Transmitted by aphids)
Mosaic mottling of leaves. At times yellow rings are produced on leaves and fruits. The disease causes 50-60% yield loss in early infection.
9.Leaf curl (Transmitted by whitefly)
Symptoms consist of abaxial and adaxial curling of leaves accompanied by puckering and blistering of interveinal areas and thickening and swelling of veins. It causes 60-70% losses in yield.
10.Spotted wilt (Transmitted by thrips)
Infected leaves show mosaic and necrotic spots, older leaves show small concentric rings. Initial infection may cause yield loss up to 70-80%
11.Control of Virus complex
Treat the seed with Imidacloprid @ 8g/kg seed against thrips to prevent PBNV
Control vector by applying Furadon granules 3 G @ 30 kg/ha or Fipronil Granules @ 20kg/ha twice at 15 & 45 days after transplantation. Select virus resistant varieties like LCA 334, G 4, LCA 235 and LCA 305.
- Dr.Y.S.R Horticulture University, Andhra Pradesh.