Black Polyethylene Mulch Results in Over Two-Fold Increase in Capsicum (Capsicum annuum L.) Yield in Trans-Himalaya
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The influence of black polyethylene mulch (BPM) on growth and yield of capsicum, a warm season crop, was investigated under a low-input cultivation system in trans-Himalayan Ladakh at an elevation of 3344 m. The mean marketable yield in different treatments varied from 0.6 ± 0.0 to 9.2 ± 0.5 and 0.3 ± 0.1 to 5.2 ± 1.5 t ha−1 in 2014 and 2015, respectively. BPM increased marketable yield by 1.3- to 9.0-fold depending on year and crop variety. The mean marketable yield of four varieties under BPM increased by 2.8- and 2.9-fold in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The best performing variety (California Wonder) under BPM yielded 7.2 t ha−1 marketable fruit, which suggested that capsicum can be grown in open field condition in trans-Himalayan regions. Temperature 10 cm beneath the BPM was 3.1 ± 0.3 ºC higher than in nonmulched soil. BPM reduced 68% weed and save 75% time in manual weeding. Incidence of insect-pest and diseases was minimal, and rotten fruit was less than 1% of marketable yield without application of pesticide or fungicide.
KeywordsBell pepper Crop productivity High altitude Insect-pest Ladakh Organic
The study was supported by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ministry of Defence, Government of India. SA and DD are grateful to DRDO for providing Research Fellowship. Authors would like to thank Head, Vegetable Division, IARI, New Delhi, and M/s Beejo Sheetal, Jalna, Maharashtra for providing seed of the capsicum varieties.
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