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  • Evaluation of Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum) Cultivars Grown Under an Open Shaded Structure

    University of Florida IFAS Extension - County Faculty Fenneman , D.K., A. Gazula, R.C . Hochmuth , S.R. McCoy, and W.L. Laughlin.

    Florida produces nearly 20,000 acres of green bell peppers in the field annually. Field grown Florida bell peppers are not available in large supply during the late summer and early fall (July - September) due to high temperature, high humidity and frequent rainfall du ring that time. The marketplace prefers that growers consistently suppl y high quality product for as long as possible. This entices large wholesa le growers to produce in multiple field locations to extend their season. Sm all, direct market farmers extend the season through the adoption of season -extending cultural practices rather than changing locations. Most of t he season extension practices lengthen the season into the cooler part of the year. Yet, few practices are used to extend the season into the ho ttest part of the year.

    This research trial was conducted to continue the i nitial work with bell peppers under shade production and to evaluate seve ral bell pepper cultivars for their performance in this system.

    Background & Objective

    Materials & Methods The trials were conducted under an open 40x40 ft com mercial shade structure (Atlas, Alapaha , GA) (Figure a). Peppers were grown in 3 - gallon plastic pots filled with a soilless media. P ots were arranged in single rows with 4 foot spacing between the centers of the rows. Plants were spaced 12 inches apart in the row (Figure b). The bell pepper crop was established on April 3, 2012 using transplants. The trial was established with one transplant per pot. Pepper cul tivars were selected because of their performance as a vigorous field cu ltivar and likelihood to perform well over a long production period of 7 to 8 months with mature green fruit as the target maturity for harve st. The crop was irrigated and fertilized using standard hydroponic production practices.

    Plants were trellised with string and plastic plant clips supporting each plant to an overhead cable trellis system. Three we eks after transplanting, the pepper plants were pruned to for m a double stem system over each row. Plant height measurements wer e taken on 20 June, 5 July and 15 Aug, and mature green fruit wer e harvested every two to three weeks from 11 June through 19 Nov 2012 . Fruit were graded into USDA grades and each grade was counted and weighed. The yield for the peppers grown under shade was con verted to yield per acre.

    Cultivar Fruit Length

    (in) Plant Height

    (in)

    4288A 3.69 bcd 52.8

    8302 3.70 abcd 52.5

    9325 3.79 abcd 69.5

    2815 3.86 abc 56.3

    Aristotle 4.09 ab 46.8

    Godzilla 3.90 abc 55.3

    Vanguard 3.77 abcd 54.5

    Heritage 3.75 abcd 61.0

    20896 3.61 cd 58.5

    50169 3.77 abcd 60.8

    Olympus 4.17 a 58.0

    20854 3.35 d 62.3

    Tomcat 3.79 abcd 54.0

    Crusader 3.50 cd 49.8

    Cutlass 3.80 abcd 49.0

    Phoenix 3.34 d 62.5

    Colossal 3.52 cd 63.8

    Significance p

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