Start Your Pepper Farm I

Peppers make the garden brighter. The glistening greens of the leaves and the rainbow of colors of the ripening peppers – red, yellow, orange, green, brown or purple – all mark the rows where peppers are growing.

They’re so striking, you’ll probably want to plant peppers in a spot where they can easily be seen and appreciated by visitors.

Varieties

There are several varieties of pepper you can start with, but we will be very concerned about the ones which really sell and do well on the Ghanaain market.

 

  1. Cayenne

These are hot chile peppers. The fruits are slim, pointed and slightly curved, ranging in length from two to eight inches. Most of the fruits are green, ripening to red. They can be used in either at the green or at the red stage. Examples are ‘Large Thick Cayenne’, ‘Super Cayenne’ and ‘Long Red Cayenne’.

Image result for cayenne pepper

2. Habanero Pepper

Unripe habaneros are green, and they colour as they mature. The most common colour variants are orange and red, but white, brown, yellow, green, and purple are also available. Typically, a ripe habanero chili is 2–6 cm (0.8–2.4 in) long. Habanero chilis are very hot, rated 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale. The habanero’s heat, its flavor, and its floral aroma have made it a popular ingredient in hot sauces and spicy foods.

Image result for habanero pepper

3. Ornamental Peppers

Ornamental pepper is a member of the Capsicum family like the peppers that are grown for food outdoors. Give them lots of sun and keep them evenly moist, and they’ll produce many small cone-shaped peppers.

These plants, which you can usually buy through a seed catalog, at a florist shop or even in a supermarket, are very pretty when the miniature peppers start to ripen. Often you’ll have a plant simultaneously splashed with green, yellow, red and orange because each pepper ripens at its own pace.

These mini peppers are edible, but they are hot! 

Soil Type

Soil requirements for pepper are not strict as they can grow on most well-drained loamy or heavy cracking clay soils with an optimum pH range of 6.0 to 6.5.

They require sunny, semi-tropic or tropical conditions and annual rainfall of between 600mm and 1,250mm. Ideal temperature for good growth is 18-320C. Low humidity will result in bad fruit set due to dropping of flower buds.

The low night temperatures in September and February in Ghana are good for this crop. The land should be cleared of trees, grasses and root stumps. A well decomposed manure or compost at 3-10kg/m2 should be ploughed in 4-6 weeks before planting.

 

Planting the Seed and Transplanting

Buy good quality seeds from a local garden store or seed supplier.

Sow one seed per cell (in seed trays) or broadcast the seeds lightly in a seedbed and cover with 1 cm layer of soil. On the seedbed, cover with non-seeded dry grass or palm fronds until seeds emerge and cover the bed with an insect-proof net or sow them inside a greenhouse or screen house. A spacing of 5cm is necessary to allow growth of healthy seedlings.

Upon germination, water the seedlings thoroughly every morning or as needed, using a fine sprinkler. Avoid over watering to prevent damping-off. 

Transplant in the evenings or early in the morning though it can also be done during the day with no adverse effects. One week before transplanting, harden off the capsicum seedlings by reducing frequency of watering gradually, don’t do it abruptly.

On the day of transplanting, wet the nursery enough to wet the soil and allow easy uprooting of the capsicum seedlings from the nursery without damaging the roots. A garden trowel should be used to uproot the seedlings. Have the farm field irrigated before planting to allow easy planting.

Planting on the farm field is done on wet furrows by pressing the seedling down with your index finger deep enough – roughly one inch this is by creating of irrigated furrows. Plant the seedlings on both sides of each furrow. Make sure the capsicum seedlings are planted close to the floor of the furrow to make sure the plant has maximum uptake of irrigated water.

Fertilizer Application

Before planting, add some organic fertilizer, like dehydrated chicken manure, or any other type of animal manure.

You can also work two to four pounds of a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, into each 100 square feet of soil. The numbers 10-10-10 refer to the percentages, by weight, of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the bag of fertilizer.

At planting, 250kg/ha of double super phosphate fertilizer should be applied. When the capsicums reach 15cm, top-dress with 100kg/ha of nitrogen (from CAN or equivalent source) and four weeks later another 200kg/ha should be applied and compost manure is used in the nursery

For an extra boost at planting time, put a handful of compost or a teaspoon of 5-10-10, mixed with some soil, into the bottom of the hole and then cover the fertilizer with one to two inches of soil. This protects your plants from getting burned if the roots come into contact with the fertilizer.

References: Wikipedia, LetsTalkAgric, Garden