Every African chef knows the importance of pepper in their recipe.
Pepper is used to flavor food, known for its hot taste which varies depending on the type of pepper.
There are different types of pepper in Nigeria.
But the steps to growing them are the same
The step is also similar when growing tomatoes.
This article is here to guide you on how to grow pepper in your garden or farm.
Planting Season for Pepper
Pepper-like tomatoes can be grown all year round.
Early planting is done between March and April, mid planting between June and July, late planting between September to February.
Pepper can be planted in every state in Nigeria, but grown in commercial quantities much more in the northern part of the nation.
Step to Step Process of Planting Pepper
Step 1: Seed Selection
Pepper is planted primarily from seed.
To cultivate the plant you will need to purchase seeds or seedlings,
This can be bought from garden or farm stores.
For the different types of pepper there are several seed varieties
First determine the type of pepper you want to plant
For example habanero pepper
Check for the seed varieties that’s best for you
Example of habanero seed varieties are
- Efia F1 Hybrid Habanero Hot Pepper
- Caribbean Red Habanero
- Piquante F1 Habanero Hot Pepper etc.
This should be done carefully because the seed variety would determine the yield, quality of the pepper and resistance to diseases.
If you are buying seedlings to plant, continue reading from step 3.
To grow from seed the first step is to prepare and grow a nursery.
Step 2: Nursery Preparation
- In preparing a nursery you can do this on raised beds or bags (seedling tray or nursery pot or seedling bags).
- Fill this bag with soil, the soil should be a mixture of garden soil and organic manure or compost.
- The number of pepper plants you want to grow will determine the number of bags to fill up
- One bag to one seed.
- Make ½ inch hole deep into the soil in each of the bags or container
- And place the seed into it.
- Cover up the hole with soil
- Water the soil.
2b. Location for your Nursery
Ensure to locate the nursery in a shaded location, an example is under a tree or at the balcony.
Pepper germinate within 7 to 21 days of planting
After about 3 to 4 weeks the seedling should be ready for transplanting.
By this time the plant should have been about 4 to 6” inches in height and have about 3 to 5 leaves or more.
Step 3: Transplanting
The next step is to transplant the seedlings to the ground, raised bed or container.
Select a location with a good amount of sunlight, pepper needs at least 6 to 8 hours sunlight in a day.
The soil intended to plant pepper should be well drained and not waterlogged.
Pepper does well in most soil types but I recommend a sandy – loamy soil.
3c. Land Clearing and Preparation
- Clear all dirty, weed or shrubs in the chosen location
- Till the soil to soften it.
- Incorporate manure into the soil.
- Water the soil
- Transplanting should be done early in the morning or in the evening.
- Make a hole in the ground the size of the bag or tray used to grow the seed.
- Carefully bring out the soil and seedling plant from the bag or tray.
- Place it gently into the hole made on the ground
- Cover up the hole with sand.
- Give a spacing of about 18 to 24 inches apart.
Step 4: Watering
Pepper plant needs to be watered from time to time,
If you are planting the crop during the dry season
The plant will rely solely on irrigation,
Ensure the plant is watered once everyday.
It’s best to do this early in the morning or in the evening.
If you are growing the crop during the raining season
You do not need to water everyday but be sure to water the plant when there is no rain.
When watering the plant water the roots
Do not water the pepper plant (leave and stem)
This can expose the plant to diseases.
Step 5: Stacking
There would be a need to stake pepper plants if they produce heavy fruits, the plant’s stem is not strong enough to carry it.
This is done by placing a rod or stick close to the plant and gently attaching the plant to the stalk.
Bamboo sticks can be used for this.
Step 6: Apply Manure
Make sure to apply manure or compost to the plant every two weeks.
Step 7: Pruning
From time to time pruning the plant this helps to improve the yield of the pepper plant and reduce the risk of being affected by pests and diseases.
Maturity and Harvesting
Now we have come to the most interesting part of the growing process, it’s the point of maturity and harvesting, where we get to reap the fruits of our labour.
Pepper mature 70 to 150 days after transplanting depending on the species.
Some species take longer time while others take lesser time.
How do we know if our pepper is ready to be harvested?
One signal to know is the colour. The colour of a ripe pepper changes from Green to its due colour, either red, yellow or gold depending on the species,
or if green is the ripe colour, it remains green but a clearer or darker shade.
Peppers are edible at any stage of growth, nevertheless the flavor will be different.
This reveals the next signal, the pepper begins to give out a hot aroma.
Another parameter is that the plant stops growing in size and the pepper fruit grows into its suitable size.
Now when you are sure that your peppers are ready for harvest,
You can harvest them by cutting them off with a hand pruner.
You can also use your knife or scissors to cut the pepper from the stem.
Pulling the pepper off by hand can damage the plant.
Remove the pepper from the branch cutting it by the stem leaving an excess of approximately 3 cm to preserve its quality.
Pest and Diseases
Pest and diseases are some of the issues that affect pepper plant.
These are what you will look out for when pruning, watering and fertilizing or manuring,
to ensure they are treated so that your plants produce at their maximum.
Some of these pests include:
- Army worm
- Fruit Work
Some of these diseases are:
- Damping off diseases
- Powdery Mildrew
- Southern Blight
- Gray leaf spot
- Cucumber mosaic viral
- Bacterial wilt
- Fusarium wilt
Pest and Diseases Control
It is in our best interest to prevent and if possible stop the effects of pest and diseases,
- Practice crop rotation
- Plant resistant varieties
- Keep the garden or farm clean, remove all debris
- Avoid excess moisture on plant
- Ensure the soil is well drained
Pepper can be preserved by keeping them in dry, cool and dark places with adequate ventilation and used within the time of their ripening and freshness.
They can also be stored by freezing and drying.
With this I believe you have received what you need to cultivate your pepper seed.
Hope this article was helpful?