Monday, July 22, 2024
Home Farming Tips How To Transplant, Harvest Chilli

How To Transplant, Harvest Chilli

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Umar Nsubuga

Joseph Bukenya, a farmer of chilli in Kabuwomero village in Luwero district says chilli seedlings can be ready for transplanting at five to eight true leaf stages.

Usually, these would be 30 days after sowing. Prior to transplanting, he says one should make sure the bed is watered to avoid stressing the seedlings.

He says the transfer should also be done in the evening when the sunshine is not too much.

“Open up holes 3cm deep, broadcast animal manure in each hole, mix and then plant in the seedlings. Thinly cover the planted seedling with soil,” he says adding that immediately have another person spraying the plants with a fungicide and a pesticide.

Chilli are ready for harvesting about eight to 12 weeks after transplanting. Photos by Umar Nsubuga

Bukenya says chilli leaves are highly susceptible to fungus, viruses and aphids, they are also fed on by garden snails. To avoid this, spray the crop once every two weeks, especially during the wet season.

He explains that a spacing of 60-75cm apart within rows and 20cm between plants should be maintained. Watch out for mites, leaf miners, thrips, and blossom end rot when the fruits do mature.

Harvesting chilli

Henry Sekyewa, an agronomist says chilli is ready for harvesting about eight to 12 weeks after transplanting, though this may depend on the type of variety and the season of the year.

“As an indicator of maturity, chillies will change from green to yellow to orange or red colour. Therefore, the specific colour demanded in the market will dictate when to harvest the fruit,” he says.

Harvest once per week by grasping the fruit in the hand and gently pressing against the stem. Followed by snapping the fruit off the plant, he advises.

“Make sure that you put on clothed gloves when harvesting as the chilli heat might affect your palm skin,” Sekyewa advises.

The chilli market

So far, the major market is the exporting companies which sell fresh habanero and scotch bonnet chillies abroad. A list of these buyers and exporting companies can be accessed from the Ministry of Agriculture offices in any district, as well as from the Uganda Exports Promotions Board.

The other consumers of the chillies would be pharmaceutical companies here, and even the locals who enjoy the hot spice, the hotels and vegetable markets are other outlets for selling chillies.

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