Vol 124 (2011): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Vegetable

Bell Pepper Production under Protective Structures: Evaluation of Soilless Media and Container Types

Emmanuel A Torres
University of Florida, IFAS, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 14625 County Road 672, Wimauma, FL 33598
Bielinski M Santos
University of Florida, IFAS, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 14625 County Road 672, Wimauma, FL 33598
Carlos A Zambrano
University of Florida, IFAS, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 14625 County Road 672, Wimauma, FL 33598
Published December 1, 2011
Keywords
  • Capsicum annuum,
  • coconut coir,
  • pine bark,
  • potting mix,
  • hydroponics

Abstract

Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) production in Central America and the Caribbean has become one of the main agricultural activities for exporting into the U.S. and Europe. To guarantee constant supply and quality, small and medium-size growers could use structures, such as greenhouse and high tunnels. Crop irrigation and fertilization are influenced by the growing media and the wrong selection of the media may increase fruit and flower abortion, lower fruit number and size, and thus increase postharvest losses. This study was conducted to assess the performance of three media and three container types on the growth and yield of bell pepper under a net house. The media used were pine bark, coconut coir, and potting mix (Fafard Mix 2) combined with boxes (2.6 gal/plant), bags (2.7 gal/plant), and pots (2.5 gal/plant). Marketable yields were measured for four harvests. The results showed that there was significant interaction between media and containers. Potting mix in pots, bags, and boxes, pine bark in bags, and coconut coir in boxes, and bags had the highest marketable fruit weight followed by coconut coir in pots and pine bark in pots, pine bark in boxes had the lowest yields.