I intend to cultivate black pepper in plot measuring 1 acre - both the bush variety as well as the creeper.
Can any body suggest :
a) Name of the variety that is commercially successful both Bush Pepper & Long Pepper
b) Cost of Planting material.
c) Minimum Spacing between 2 plants specially the bush variety.
d) Expected production and its time frame.
Production technology for the pepper is given below.
a) Agro-climatic and edaphic factors
Pepper is a plant of humid tropics requiring adequate rainfall and humidity. It grows successfully between 20° North and South latitude. It can be grown from sea level up to an altitude of 1500 M but lower altitudes are preferable.
The crop tolerates a minimum temperature of 100 C and maximum of 400 C, the optimum being 20 - 300 C. Though a well distributed annual rainfall of 250 cm is considered ideal for the proper growth of the crop, it can also come up well in low rainfall areas, if the pattern and distribution of rainfall are conducive. About 70 mm of rainfall within a period of 20 days may be sufficient for triggering flushing of flowering process in the plant, but once the process is set off there should be continuous, though not heavy, rainfall until fruit development starts. Any dry spell even for a few days , within this critical period will result in substantial reduction of yields. Very long spells of dry weather are unfavorable for the crop growth.
Pepper can be grown in a wide range of soils with a pH of 4.5 to 6.0, and in its natural habitat it thrives well in red laterite soils. It prefers a light porous and well drained soil rich in organic matter. Water stagnation in the soil, even for a very short period is injurious to the plant. So, heavy textured soils in locations where drainage facilitates are inadequate should be avoided.
b) Selection of site
Sites with slight to moderate slope with good drainage are ideal for pepper cultivation. Slopes facing south are to be avoided as far as possible and when such slopes are selected, the young plants are to be sufficiently protected from the scorching sun during summer.
The pepper growing tracts in India include
coastal areas where pepper is grown in homesteads,
valleys where it is extensively cultivated on a plantation scale and
hills at an elevation of 800 to 1500 m above sea level, where the crop is grown on shade trees in coffee, orange, cardamom and tea plantations.
Panniyur-I, Panniyur-2, Panniyur-3 (Syama), Panniyur-4, Subhakara (KS 27), Karimunda, Kottanadan, Kuthiravally, Arakulam Munda, Balankotta and Kalluvally are the commonly cultivated varieties. Of these, Panniyur-1 is to be grown in comparatively open areas.
d) Land preparation
In sloppy and uneven lands, contour bunding or terracing is resorted to, to prevent soil erosion.
Murukku (Erythrina indica) Karayam or Killingil (Garuga pinnata) Ailanthus sp. and Subabul (Leucaenea leucocephal) are suitable standards for growing pepper. Dadaps (E.lithosperma) and silver oak (Grevilea robusta) in high altitude areas and in certain tracts, Jack and male plants of Nutmeg after training and pruning to suit the need, also are used as pepper standards. The recommended norm is to have 1000 standards per ha.
f) Planting and post planting operations
The plant population considered is 2000 pepper vines ( @ 2 per standard ) per ha. For planting pepper, prepare pits on the northern side of standards at a distance of 15 cm. The pit size should be 50 x 50x50 cm. Fill the pits with a mixture of top soil and compost or well rotten cattle manure @ 5 Kg per pit. With the onset of South West monsoon in June-July, plant 2 rooted cuttings in the pits at a distance of about 30 cm away from the standards. Press the soil around the cuttings to form a small mound slopping outward and away from the cuttings to prevent water stagnation around the plants. The growing portions of the cuttings are to be trailed and tied to the standards. Provide shade to the plants if the land is exposed and if there is a break in the rainfall. When pepper is grown on coconut or areca nut trees, the pepper cuttings are to be planted 1 to 1.5 M away from the trunk of the trees and trained on a temporary stake for 1-2 years till they attain sufficient length to reach the tree trunk. Thereafter, the stake could be removed without causing damage to the vines and train the pepper plants on to the tree trunk. Shading with dry arecanut / coconut leaves or twings of trees and watering of the young seedlings is necessary in pepper gardens located in open places during summer months of the first 1 to 3 years.
g) Management operations
In the early stages, tie the vines to the standards.
Dig around the standards and vines at a radius of about 1 m from the base or in the entire plantation, twice during the year, the first at the onset of South West monsoon and the second towards the end of North East monsoon.
Remove weeds around the plants twice in a year i.e., at the onset of SW monsoon and by the end of NE monsoon.
Grow cover crops like Calapagonum muconoides in tracts where plantation scale cultivation is taken up with proper safe guards against twining of cover crops along with the pepper vines.
Lowering of vines after 1 year’s growth to promote lateral branch production.
Mulching with saw dust, arecanut husk and dry leaves
Remove unwanted terminal shoot growth and hanging shoots
Prune and train the standards in March - April every year to remove excessive overgrowth and to give them a proper shape. The effective height of the standard is to be limited to about 6 m. A second pruning of the standards may be done in July-August, if there is excessive shade in the garden.
Inter cropping of pepper gardens with ginger, turmeric, colocacia and elephant foot yam is advantageous. Banana as an inter crop in yielding gardens, reduces pepper yields. Therefore, this is not recommended beyond three to four years after planting of pepper vines. However, in the early years, banana provides shade to the young plants and protects them from drying up during summer months.
Manuring of pepper vines is done in basins around the plants 10-15 cm deep and at 50-75 cm radius depending upon the growth of the plants. Apply (i) cattle manure/compost/green leaves at the rate of 10 kg per plant per annum just at the onset of South - West monsoon and cover lightly with soil and (ii) NPK dose of 50:50:150 g per vine per year from third year onwards ( 1/3 dose in first year and ˝ dose in second year ) in two split doses in May-June and August – September.
h) Plant protection
Diseases like quick wilt and slow wilt, pollu (fungal), yellowing and spike shedding cause economic loss to farmers. Root grub, soft scale pollu (pest ) and nematodes are the major pests. Both chemical and bio control measures are available against these pests and diseases.
The prebearing period is 3 years. The crop takes 6 to 8 months from flowering to harvest. The harvest season extends from November to January in the plains and January to March in the hills. The whole spike is hand picked when one or two berries in the spike turn bright orange or red.
The yield pattern considered in the model scheme is as follow