Response of Plasticultured Bell Pepper to Staking, Irrigation Frequency, and Fertigated Nitrogen Rate

in HortScience
Authors: Pat Bowen1 and Brenda Frey2
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  • 1 Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, 4200 Highway 97, Summerland, BC, V0H 1Z0, Canada
  • | 2 Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, P.O. Box 1000, Agassiz, BC, V0M 1A0, Canada

Effects of staking, drip irrigation frequency and fertigated N rate on dry matter partitioning and yield of bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.), grown using polyethylene mulch and mini-tunnels, were determined in two years. In the second year, which had higher early-season temperatures and more hours of direct sunlight, plants were larger, more productive and had larger fruit with thicker pericarps and a higher water content than in the first year. In both years, staked plants fertigated with 31.5 vs. 63 kg·ha-1 N produced higher yields due to increased fruit size and pericarp thickness. Compared with the response to monthly irrigation plus rainfall, additional irrigation applied when the soil moisture tension averaged below -25 and -20 kPa in the two years, respectively, affected yield only in the second year when it increased yield and the number of fruits produced by staked plants and decreased that of non-staked plants. Patterns of vegetative development and dry matter partitioning indicate that resources were remobilized from leaves to support fruit development.

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