Bell Pepper (Capsicum Annum L.) Production in Short Cycles
Hydroponic production of bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) in greenhouses began in Mexico twenty years ago. Mexican producers have adopted production systems developed in other countries, principally those in Europe with different climatic and socioeconomic conditions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the yield of the Orion and Triple star bell pepper varieties, in three established population densities (5, 6.5, and 8 plants m-2) in greenhouse conditions. The plants were trimmed at the height of the third or fourth branch in order to obtain short cultivation cycles from the transplant and a harvest of less than four months. The hydroponic cultivation included the use of volcanic tuff (tezontle, for its name in Spanish) as a substrate. The experimental design was random block in factorial arrangement with four repetitions. The morphological characters and yield variables were evaluated. With the exception of the fruit set percentage (%FS), the morphological and yield variables were greater in the plants that were trimmed at the fourth branch than those trimmed at the third. Even though there were no significant differences in the %FS and the number of fruits between varities, the yield per plant and per unit of area was greater in the Orion variety. With a density of 8 plants per m-2, the yield decreased, a consequence of the significant reduction of %FS. In regards to the plants trimmed at the fourth branch, a result of 6.4 kg m-2 was obtained, equivalent to 192 t ha-1 año-1, in a cycle of four months from the transplant to the end of the harvest.