Water Conservation Systems and Strategies for Poblano Pepper Production

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  • 1 Texas A&M Univ., Texas Agr. Exp. Station, Hort. Sciences, Uvalde, TX 78801
  • 2 Texas A&M Univ., Texas Ag. Expt. Station, Hort. Sciences
  • 3 Texas A&M Univ., Texas Agr. Exp. Station, Hort. Sciences
  • 4 Texas A&M Univ., VFIC, Hort. Sciences
  • 5 Texas A&M Univ., Texas Agr. Exp. Station, Soil and Crop Sciences

Regulations restricting water use, competition for water with large urban sector, coupled with extreme high temperatures have placed a large strain on farming areas in south Texas. In addition, consumer demand for healthy vegetables has increased. The objective of this work was to determine yield and fruit quality to deficit irrigation rates and irrigation systems on poblano pepper cv. Tiburon. In 2002, an experiment was conducted at the TAES-Uvalde with a Center pivot using three irrigation rates, 100%, 80%, and 60% evapotranspiration rates (ETc). Transplants were established on beds 1.0 m apart with plants within rows 45 cm apart. In 2003, we compared production efficiency of four irrigation systems in a urban-rural environment near San Antonio. Beds were 0.9 m (single-row) or 1.8 m (double-row) between centers. Irrigation systems were: 1) furrow irrigation with one line/single beds, 2) subsurface drip (SDI)-no mulch, with one line/single bed, 3) SDI-no mulch, with two lines/double bed, and 4) SDI-white mulch with two lines/double bed. In 2002, summer ratooning of the spring-planted crop under deficit irrigation (<100% ETc) allowed a fall crop with a 2.0 fold yield increase, larger fruit size (greater than 10 cm length) and significantly lower defects caused by sunburn or blossom end rot compared to summer production. In 2003, SDI-white mulch had a 2.4-fold yield increase and 760 mm water savings compared to furrow. Fruit vitamin C content was not affected by irrigation, however, mature red fruits had a 3.6 fold increase compared to mature green fruits. Combining deficit irrigation with ratooning we were able to produce marketable poblano fruits. Additional water savings and increased yield were demonstrated by SDI technology.

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