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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 614: VI International Symposium on Protected Cultivation in Mild Winter Climate: Product and Process Innovation

EFFECT OF CULTURAL PRACTICES ON A SWEET PEPPER CROP IN A MILD WINTER CLIMATE

Authors:   M.C. Salas, M. Urrestarazu, E. Castillo
Keywords:   Capsicum annuum L., pruning techniques, training practice
Abstract:
According to the data of the SOIVRE (2000), the exports of sweet pepper during 1999-2000 in Almeria were 11063178 tm. The Spanish intensive horticulture sector has to improve its competitive position in the international markets. It is therefore necessary to improve the commercial organization and to obtain suitable products for the market, with no pesticide residues whatsoever, by using environmentally friendly production methods. Pruning or thinning techniques will provide better air circulation, which helps to reduce the incidence of diseases and opens the canopies for spraying and harvesting. The pruning technique could be a method to obtain good quality sweet pepper fruits following less aggressive methods with the environment. The aim of this work is to evaluate the combination of two types of pruning techniques and two training systems. Four experiments were carried out. In the first experiment, plants were trained with three stems by removing all side shoots, then the plants were "embraced" along their entire length by two horizontal plastic wires forming a row or hedge. The second experiment was similar to the first one but plants had only two stems. During the third one, the initial handling of the pruning technique was just like the former ones, but only three main stems and all axillary shoots were removed continuously during the whole cropping cycle; these three main stems were supported by a high wire system. The fourth experiment was similar to the previous one but only with two main stems. Fruits were graded by diameter and weight, and then analyzed to determine some quality parameters such as firmness, ºBrix and thickness. As a general conclusion, the use of a high wire training system with three main stems would be the most appropiate in a sweet pepper crop to obtain fruits of better quality, and higher early and total yields.
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