Chilli peppers: evaluation of crop management systems



Average Class I yield recorded in the hydroponic crops were 16.5 kg m·2 and 14.2 kg m·2 for Jalapeno cv Hercules and Cayenne cv Wonder Hot respectively. These were increased compared to those obtained in 1997 due partly to a longer growing season and also a better choice of variety. Labour required for harvesting was positively correlated to plant yields and was highest for cv Wonder Hot when grown on a high wire system (3.6 m). Layering cv Hercules reduced plant yields compared to stopping the crop at a low wire (2.1 m). This was attributed to the different growth rates of the selected leaders which resulted in the heads of adjacent plants becoming tangled.

In the low input soil system cv Hercules produced 6.6 kg m-2 Class I fruit compared to 3.3 kg m-2 for cv Wonder Hot. Yields from these crops could have been substantially increased if they had been allowed to grow on for longer towards the end of the season. However they were purposely pulled out at the end of September to allow a winter crop of lettuce to be planted.

Fruit quality from both varieties was excellent with Class I fruit representing approximately 90% of total yield. No fruit cracking was observed in the Jalapeno crop cv Hercules and no symptoms of Pepper Mild Mottle virus were seen.

The Scoville Index (pungency) of the fruit fluctuated throughout the season in both the rockwool and soil grown crops. However pungency was always higher in fruit harvested 35 days after pollination compared to those harvested after 25 days.  This was attributed to the mature fruit accumulating more or the chemicals responsible for pungency (capsaicinoids). At no stage in the season did fruit pungency levels drop so as to be described as having "no taste".

Project code:
PC 138
01 February 1997 - 31 March 1999
Project leader:
A Lee


PC 138 Final Report

About this project

AIM: To provide agronomic information relating to the production of chilli peppers to growers of rockwool crops and those using lower input soil systems.


OBJECTIVES: To identify suitable cultivars for UK markets and to provide information on crop management systems in order to maximise productivity with efficient use of labour