Hot pepper growing commonly known as chilli is mainly grown in tropical regions that experience a warm climate. It sometimes grows by itself in people’s backyards and it can also be grown on a large scale. Hot pepper can be harvested all year round as long as there is availability of water and the good thing is that it is drought resistant and has a wide market both within the country and outside the country.
Varieties Of Hot Pepper In Uganda
- Hot Red Pepper
- Orange & Yellow Hot Pepper
- Ugandan Red Bird Eye Chilli
- Scotch Bonnet
- Thai Hot Pepper
There are several varieties of hot pepper that are grown in the country and these include the hot red pepper, the orange and the yellow hot pepper. There is also the Ugandan red bird eye chilli and the scotch Bonnet. Thai hot pepper, Habanero and Birdseye are also part of the varieties that are grown in the country. The Ugandan Red Bird Eye chilli is normally grown for the pharmaceutical companies and also exported to other countries.
Preparation of the Nursery bed
The first step is to prepare the Nursery bed where the seeds are to be planted before being taken to the main garden.
The seeds are planted with a spacing of 30cm by 30cm in rows as this will allow you to easily weed the pepper
Set up the nursery bed by heaping soil in order to level it and then add compost manure and then cover the whole nursery bed with grass.
After a short while, burn up the ash and let the ash dissolve into the soil to add extra nutrients and to also kill the pests. Let the soil cool before furrowing the seeds into the mixture.
Cover the soil with a mixture of both soil and water and then spray with a pesticide and fungicide.
the land needs to be well prepared before transplanting takes place. Mix the compost manure with the soil and mulch it to keep the soil moist and ready for the transplant. You can crop rotate with other crops like sweet potatoes, groundnuts, bananas and soya beans. Mulching reduces the need for weeding and transmission of diseases to the plants.
After 30 days of the seedlings in the nursery bed, it will be time for transplanting them to the main garden. Transplanting is best done either in the morning or in the evening but make sure that before you transplant them, the seedbed is watered on a regular basis to make transplanting easy. When planting them in the main garden first make holes in the garden that are about 2cm deep and 20cm apart to allow proper weeding.
When preparing the land you need to add enough compost manure so that the hot pepper grows well. Spray water and pesticides on the crops. If possible you can also add other growth aided chemicals like folia spray and easy grow to aid in the fast growth of the hot pepper.
Harvesting Of Hot Pepper In Uganda
You need to spray the hot pepper almost every day for the last two to three weeks before harvesting. This will ensure that the hot pepper is harvested when it is still healthy. Harvesting takes place after 3 to 4 months and when the chilli changes colour from green to either red or yellow/orange. The specific colour that is on demand by the customers will determine the time for harvesting of the pepper.
As you prepare for harvesting, make sure that you have harvesting gloves to avoid skin irritation. Harvesting is carried out once a week and it is plucking the fruit gently from the stem into your palm before placing them in the collection basket. The overripe and damaged hot pepper should not be placed with the fresh ones . As you pick the chilli, make sure that you do not pick the fruits with the stalk and harvesting should be done very early in the morning after the dew evaporates from the plant. It is also advisable that you pick a few fruits from each plant so that you remain with other harvests for the rest of the year.
Pests and diseases that affect hot pepper
Some of the pests that affect hot pepper include white flies, mites, Aphids, thrips and root rot. The best way to deal with these pests is by weeding the pepper regularly and spraying the pepper timely. The diseases that affect hot pepper include Downey mildews, Fusarium wilt, powder mildew, rust, Anthracnose and bacterial wilts. The best way to deal with diseases that affect the hot pepper is by using certified pepper seeds, applying fungicides and weeding out the crops that are affected by viruses.
Market for hot pepper
There is a ready market for the hot pepper across the country and it is also exported to other countries. The beauty about growing pepper is that it can continuously grow for almost three years when you are harvesting from the same garden. A kilogram of hot pepper goes for shs2, 000 to shs 3,000. A well-managed farm can bring yields of about 600g of chilli per plant throughout the year.