Soil amendments and seed treatments to improve germination of chile pepper



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Texas Tech University


Farmers in eastem New Mexico and in the southera High Plains of Texas have to contend with problems that growers in other areas do not (ViUalon, 1992). Due to the elevation, topography, and latitude of this agricultural area, early spring soil conditions provide a host of obstacles to crop establishment. This is particularly tme of chile peppers. Adverse environmental conditions, such as wide diuraal temperature differences, high winds, moisture variability, irrigation induced salinity, and soil cmsting, as well as pathogens and insects, or biological features, are also present.

Planting is a critical time in chili production (Carter, 1994). Transplants offer one method of crop establishment, however, beyond a certain scale of production this becomes impractical. Cost of hybrid seed is also an economic factor since planting seed cost can range from $15-$700 per pound (Carter, 1995, personal communication ). The most serious problems faced by pepper producers in New Mexico and on the southera High Plains of west Texas is the difficulty of establishment of suitable stands when planted directly into field seedbeds. Direct-seeding into the soil is widely used but suitable stands are difficult to achieve. Peppers are planted very shallow, and seeds are susceptible to desiccation and chiUing injury, thereby intermpting the germination process. Root system development and anchorage of the plant is influenced by the method of plant establishment (Leskovar and Stoffella, 1995). This can have an impact on yield and quality of pepper pods.

Attempted mitigating efforts have included seed pretreatments (soaking, hardening, priming, polymer treatments) to speed the germination process and soil treatments or conditioners (polymer treatments, phosphoms, anti-cmstant) to alter the soil conditions (Heydecker and Coolbear, 1977).



Hot peppers, Plants, Growth, Soils