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Growing Bell Peppers in High Tunnels, 2015

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by Steve Bogash, Horticulture Extension Educator/Researcher | Penn State University

Presented at the 2015 Minnesota Statewide High Tunnel Conference.

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Growing Bell Peppers in High Tunnels, 2015

  1. 1. GROWING BELL PEPPERS IN HIGH TUNNELS Steve Bogash Horticulture Educator / Researcher
  2. 2. Bell peppers  Quality flip between greens and ripe when you go under plastic.  In field, only about 10-20% can ripen successfully.  In HT, we generally pack 90% fully colored.  Planted like field:  18’ apart in rows on double diagonal row.  Stakes must be at least 60”  IR and diffusion plastics really push growth.  FL weave first string, then box string remainders.
  3. 3. One strategy for early to market  Plant as early as possible with 20-30F supplemental heat.  Harvest some percentage of plants green leaving some % to fully ripen.  Market greens until field season for greens begin, then only grow HT peppers to full color until fall.  Now you’ve got the earliest of both.  Coast into last harvests 10/31 – 11/20 +/-
  4. 4. High Tunnel Colored Bell Peppers 2012 • Planted – May 15 • 19 Varieties – 4 reps of 6 plants • 18 single ‘observation’ plots • Field and greenhouse/tunnel varieties
  5. 5. High Tunnel Colored Bell Peppers 2011 • Planted – June 1 • Completed tunnel over July 19 • 20 Varieties – 3 reps of 6 plants • 16 single ‘observation’ plots • Field and greenhouse/tunnel varieties
  6. 6. HT Red Bell Peppers - 2012 #Mktl WtMkt Avg Ft Wt PS 1819 39.8 bcd 26.4 0.67 ab Red Knight 48.5 ab 25.4 0.52 de Tomcat 44.2 bc 24.6 0.56 cde Chesapeake 60.2 a 24.1 0.40 f Karisma 34.8 cd 23.7 0.68 ab Hunter 39.3 bcd 23.4 0.60 bcd
  7. 7. HT Red Bell Peppers - 2011 Yield #1 Wt. #1 Avg Ft Wt Hunter 30.0 ab 16.1 a 0.54 abc Tomcat 25.0 abc 14.4 ab 0.56 ab PS 1819 21.0 abc 12.5 ab 0.61 ab Edison 31.7 a 12.3 ab 0.39 e Snapper 19.0 bc 11.2 ab 0.59 ab Vanguard 16.7 c 11.0 ab 0.66 a
  8. 8. HT Red Bell Peppers - 2012 #Mktl WtMkt Avg Ft Wt Godzilla 36.3 bcd 23.2 0.64 abc Triple 4 49.2 ab 23.2 0.47 ef Socrates 39.8 bcd 22.7 0.57 cde King Author 35.8 bcd 22.1 0.62 bcd Islamadora 34.2 cd 21.8 0.64 abc Vanguard 27.8 d 20.1 0.72 a
  9. 9. HT Red Bell Peppers - 2012
  10. 10. PS 0994-1819
  11. 11. Red Knight
  12. 12. HT Red Bell Peppers - 2012
  13. 13. Tomcat
  14. 14. Chesapeake
  15. 15. HT Red Bell Peppers - 2012
  16. 16. Hunter
  17. 17. HT Red Bell Peppers - 2012
  18. 18. Godzilla
  19. 19. Triple 4
  20. 20. HT Red Bell Peppers - 2012
  21. 21. Socrates
  22. 22. Snapper
  23. 23. Crusader
  24. 24. HT Red Bell Peppers - 2012
  25. 25. Islamadora Plants got very tall
  26. 26. Vanguard
  27. 27. Legionnaire
  28. 28. Red Delicious
  29. 29. HT Yellow Bell Peppers - 2012 #Mktl WtMkt Avg Ft Wt Catriona 48.8 ab 21.7 0.44 b Flavorburst 66.7 a 27.6 0.41 b Lafayette 43.0 b 26.4 0.60 a Moonset 41.5 b 20.4 0.49 b
  30. 30. HT Yellow Bell Peppers - 2011 Yield #1 Wt. #1 Avg Ft Wt Catriona 30.0 10.8 0.34 c Flavorburst 30.0 12.0 0.40 bc Lafayette 16.0 9.6 0.60 a Moonset 23.3 10.7 0.48 b
  31. 31. HT Yellow Bell Peppers - 2012
  32. 32. Lafayette
  33. 33. Flavorburst
  34. 34. HT Yellow Bell Peppers - 2012
  35. 35. Catriona
  36. 36. Moonset
  37. 37. HT Orange Bell Peppers - 2012 #Mktl WtMkt Avg Ft Wt Delerio 42.8 b 18.7 b 0.44 Magno 41.5 b 18.3 b 0.44 Milena 55.3 a 24.8 a 0.45
  38. 38. HT Orange Bell Peppers - 2011 Yield #1 Wt. #1 Avg Ft Wt Delerio 32.3 12.1 0.37 Magno 29.7 13.1 0.44 Milena 25.0 10.0 0.40
  39. 39. HT Orange Bell Peppers - 2012
  40. 40. Milena
  41. 41. Magno
  42. 42. HT Orange Bell Peppers - 2012
  43. 43. Delirio
  44. 44. Valencia
  45. 45. Fertility program • Plow down based on soil tests – Use highest Knotts’ Handbook levels for P and K • Add #10 kelp meal / 1,000ft2 • Add #20 Green Potash / 1,000ft2 (0-0-15) • Add #10-20 Aragonite / 1,000ft2 • Add #5-15 MgSO4 / 1,000ft2 • Fertigate 2-3x/week with N at #.5/acre/day
  46. 46. Fertigation • #.5/acre/week based until flowering • Our high tunnel is 30’ x 96’ – 6 rows of peppers on 18” double diagonal rows – 90’ / .75’ =120 plants / row = 720 plants – 720 / 9,680 (plants/ acre) = .075A • #.5 x .075 = #.0875N/ tunnel / day • .0875 / .20 (20-10-20) = #.44 / day • At flowering .0875 / .09 = #.97 of 9-15-30 • Watch for P, K, Ca and Mg crashes
  47. 47. Aphid damage on late fall peppers
  48. 48. Aphid remains
  49. 49. Primary HT pepper challenges • Aphids • Western Flower Thrips • Spider mites • Broad mites • European pepper moth • Bacterial canker diseases
  50. 50. Broad mites on peppers
  51. 51. European Pepper Moth
  52. 52. Girdling often associated with webbing
  53. 53. On EPM • Monitor with Delta Traps and specific pheromone: Biobest has one. • Base directed sprays using Bt or a lep. specific material (we used Vetica) • Overwinters in tunnel litter and edges. • Major pest of many solanaceous plants.
  54. 54. Bioline sachet and damaged pepper
  55. 55. Biobest ABS sachet (Amblyseius-Breeding-System) Amblyseius cucumeris
  56. 56. Biological pest control: macro predators Orius, Minute Pirate Bug
  57. 57. HT pepper tunnel pest control 2014 • Planted on 4/15/14. • Started losing plants to EPM on 5/7/14 +/- – We thought it was from Sclerotinia rolfsii returning • Replanted on 5/20/14 – Started EPM management at planting with Vetica directed at plant bases – Rotated Vetica and DiPel every 7-10 days for 4 weeks.
  58. 58. More HT pest control 2014 • Installed Biobest Delta traps with lure on 6/1/14. • Nothing caught ever. • Focus on broad mite, aphid, WFT and spider mites. – Portal at first blossom, then again as first fruit are sizing up. (Oberon another option). – Grandevo alternated with Met52 every 7-10 – Fulfill 1x as aphids came on strong once. • Could not find any Orius on banker plants – Will purchase next time.
  59. 59. Pepper bacterial disease • Xanthomonas campestris pv. Vesicatoria • Bacterial spot • Badge SC or Kocide 3000, fixed copper
  60. 60. Preventative disease program • Regalia + Badge SC every 10-14 days • Actinovate AG at day 7-10 after 8/15 – Other options for PM • Cease, Companion, Serenade • Double Nickel?
  61. 61. -DO PEPPERS PAY? -CAN YOU DO 4 ROWS OF TOMATOES AND 2 OF PEPPERS (OUTER) AND MAKE IT PAY? -DOES THE GREEN / RED MIX PAY? The really big questions:
  62. 62. THANK YOU! QUESTIONS, COMMENTS AND REBUTTALS, PLEASE! Steve Bogash Horticulture Educator / Researcher smb13@psu.edu 717-240-6500 ext. 6507 Coloso from 2012

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