Crop Management

Crop management (Chili)

1. Manure and fertilizers

During the production of sweet and hot peppers, correct fertilization is the single most important factor that determines the success of a crop. With good management practices these crops could be produced under a wide range of different conditions, however some growing conditions are more favourable than others.

Table: Quantity of recommended fertilizer per ha and time of application


Organic manure

Nutrients Recommendation  (N:P:K), kg/ha

Inorganic fertilizer (kg/ha)















At planting


One week after planting

30 days after NPK 17-17-17 application


For good management, the plants should be fertilized with 470.5 kg/ha of NPK (17-17-17), 130 kg /ha of Urea and 50 kg of KCl.  All NPK 17-17-17 and KCl should be applied one week after planting. Urea should be applied 30 days after the 1st application,

2. Weeding and mulching


Weeding should be done regularly to keep the field free of weeds in order to avoid their competition for nutrients, sunlight and water with the main crop. Mulching is recommended to help prevent erosion, regulate soil temperature and conserve soil moisture. Earthing of plants may also be done after 2 -3 weeks after transplanting. Earthing operation will also help to remove weeds.

3. Irrigation

The supply of adequate water to the roots of a pepper plant is critical. Under- or over irrigation can have a devastating effect on the outcome of the crop. It is therefore very important to apply water at optimal times. More frequent light irrigations are needed on sandy soils. Higher applications with longer intervals will be needed on clay soils.

When scheduling irrigation, the size of the root system at the time of irrigation needs to be taken into account. In general, the root system can be compared to the aerial growth of the plant. The roots spread into the soil at a similar rate to which the aerial growth develops.

For irrigation purposes, the growth of peppers can be divided into four

growth stages.

  • Stage 1: Establishment: it can last up to 2 weeks. Seedling establishment takes place and plants start to grow actively. Low amounts of water are used. After seedling establishment to just before first flower, it is highly recommended to reduce water drastically. It will force the roots to grow aggressively deeper into the soil looking for moist. This will help the plants at fruit set stage to handle difficult and stress related periods better due to the increased roots.
  • Stage 2: Vegetative growth, development of first flowers and fruit: double the amount of water is used compared to the previous stage.
  • Stage 3: Fruit set: growth is at its highest. Water usage at this stage is at its highest during the lifespan of the crop.
  • Stage 4: Ripening and harvesting: very high loads carried on the plant. Water usage starts to decrease.