Crop Establishment

Principles Dry direct seeded chilli Preparation of seed beds Time of Planting Crop uniformity and plant stand


  • Every crop and within each crop every variety is having its own optimum plant stand depending upon the plant type.
  • Optimum plant population is the number of plants per unit area where maximum inputs are utilised by each plant without under or over competition.
  • To get optimum plant stand the crop should be grown in areas where the climatic conditions are well suited for that crop. In case of chilli the following climatic conditions are well suited.
  • Chillies can be grown under tropical and subtropical climates.
  • It can be cultivated upto an altitude of 2000m. However, pungent varieties or varieties suited for spices cannot be grown on higher altitudes.
  • A warm humid climate favours growth while warm and dry weather enhances fruit maturity.
  • It can be grown successfully as a rainfed crop in areas receiving an annual rainfall of 850-1200 mm. Heavy rainfall leads to poor fruit set and in association with high humidity leads to rotting of fruits.
  • Pungent chillies are susceptible to frost.
  • A soil temperature of 10°C retards plant development, where as 17°C causes normal development. A temperature ranging from 20-25°C is ideal for chillies.
  • Tops of plant will continue to develop at higher temperatures but root development is retarded at soil temperatures of 30°C and above.
  • In chillies fruit development was found to be adversely affected at temperatures of 37°C or more.
  • High temperature associated with low relative humidity at flowering increases the transpiration resulting in abscission of buds, flowers and small fruits.
  • Average high night temperature was found to be responsible for the high capsaicin content.
  • A day length of 9-10 hours light stimulates plant growth and increases the productivity by 21-24% besides improving quality capsicum.
  • Timely sowing is necessary for better establishment and subsequent growth because every phenological phase of the crop will get the optimum climatic requirements.
  • Plant population per unit area will vary (spacing in between and within rows) as per the fertility status of soil, whether the crop is grown under rainfed or irrigated conditions, season of cultivation, and plant type.
  • If the crop establishment particularly under rainfed situations is achieved half of the battle is over. Hence, crop establishment is the major factor in determining the ultimate yield though the other inputs are plentily available.


Dry direct seeded chilli

  • Direct seeding of chilli under rainfed conditions is recommended in heavy black soils with less weed infestation and better drainage.
  • Sow 2 ½ kg seed per acre in the last week of July with the help of a seed drill.
  • Before seeding treat the seed with Thiram or Dithane M-45 @ 3g/kg of seed.

  • At sowing drill carbofuran granules along with seed @ 1 kg per kg seed.
  • Thin out excess seedlings at 40-45 days age and transplant the same wherever gaps are found. Thinning and gap filling operations done preferably on cloudy days.
  • Spacing for direct seeding adopted is 56cm between rows and 15 cm within the row.


Preparation of seed beds

  • The size of the nursery plot to raise seedlings for planting a hectare of chilli would be 180m x 1.2m. These plots would be better, made into smaller beds of 3m x 1.2m instead of single bed.
  • The width of the bed does not exceed 1.2 m so that it facilitates weeding and watering without trampling the bed.
  • The site for nursery beds should be located close to the source of water supply.

  • The soil should be dry or ploughed thoroughly to bring fine tilth which is an excellent medium for better germination and seedling growth.
  • One cartload of well rotten powdered farmyard manure or Sieved compost should be spread and 1kg of super phosphate is mixed thoroughly with the soil. Application of super phosphate is an essential practice for seedling root growth.
  • Aldrin or Dialdrin wettable powder 30 gm. Per bed should be applied to keep away the white ants.

  • The soil should be levelled and made into raised beds of 3m x 1.2m with irrigation channels help the water to drain away during rains. The bed usually kept raised about 15cm high so as to provide proper drainage of excess water.
  • The level of the bed surface is also slightly raised in the centre with a little slope on either side.
  • A week before sowing the soil should be sterilised by drenching with commercial formalin (formaldehyde 40%) at 1 : 100 dilution at the rate of 5 lit.per sq.meter against damping off disease.


  • The common practice is to broad cast seeds in the nursery bed, but line sowing is preferred so as to proper germination, uniform spacing and to facilitate weeding, hoeing and plant protection operation.
  • The rows are usually kept about 8-10cm apart. The seeds are treated with Agroson GN at one part in 500 parts of seed by weight against 'damping-off' disease and then sown in furrows.
  • Small seed should be sown mixed with a little sand and covered with soil by passing a flat wooden plank followed by light irrigation with a sprinkler.

After care

  • Watering of the bed is done gently to avoid packing or washing away of the soil covering the seed.
  • In the beginning shade is provided by covering the seed with a thick layer of leaves over the bed.
  • When the seedlings are more than 2.5 cm, tall, the shade should be removed as too much of shade and water make them lanky yellow, succulent and susceptible to insect pests and diseases like damping - off especially in humid and warm weather.
  • Diseased plants if any should be removed. Bordeaux mixture (5:5:50) should be sprayed or the nursery drenched with Captan at 2gm. per litre to control the spread of the disease.
  • Racking the soil every week along with light growth of seedlings in nursery bed may be irrigated with a week solution of Ammonium sulphate (20 gm in 15 litres of water) or 2% solution of Calcium ammonium nitrate to boot better growth a week before transplanting.
  • The number of waterings are reduced and the seedlings exposed to full sunshine so that they become hardy to bear the shock of transplanting.

Hardening of plants

  • The term hardening is any treatment that results in hardening of the tissues of the plants, thus enabling them better to withstand unfavourable environmental conditions such as less in take of water, hot dry winds and low temperatures.
  • A hardening plant tends to be hard and stiff rather than succulent. Hardening is also accompanied by increase in percentage of hydrophillic colloids and dry matter and decrease in percentage of free stable water and transpiration per unit area of leaf.

Methods of Hardening

  • Watering the plants sparingly till they are not withered and exposing to full sun light.
  • Lowering of temperature also retards growth which adds to the hardening process. Both of these methods may decrease the rate of growth and early yields, but with possible increase in seasonal yields.


Time of Planting

  • Time of planting is also play an important role in the establishment of chilli and pod yields. So farmers should follow correct timing of planting to avoid some pests and disease attacks and for healthy growth.
  • August planting gives maximum plant spread, maximum plant height and highest plant girth.
  • September planting gives maximum plant height.
  • August and September planting came to flowering earlier than other plantings and it also gives maximum pod length and pod girth then all other plantings. Jwala requires less number of days to flowering than NP 46.A. Pod length is more in Jwala than in NP 46.A
  • August planting gives maximum yield and planting in November will give low yield than other plantings.
  • August is the best time for planting, and the next best month is September.

Reasons for Low Yield

  • Root grub damage is more in September plantings resulting in poor growth and death of some plants.
  • Powdery mildew attack is severe in October and November planting resulting in low yield.


Crop uniformity and plant stand

For getting the required uniformity and plant stand the following practices are adopted.

  • Soil with optimum tilth.
  • Soil with rich organic base (since chilli is long duration, vegetable crop with quality oriented).
  • Timely sowing / transplantation and thinning and gap filling.
  • Make sure that there is sufficient moisture in the soil at sowing on transplantation.
  • Treat the soil or seed or seedlings as per the situation against soil -borne or seed - borne diseases.
  • Top the seedling a week ahead of transplantation on a sunny day if there is excessive seedling growth.
  • Six-week aged seedlings are to be used for transplanting.
  • Short and thick stemmed seedlings are for better performance. Treat the seedlings with Azospirillum for better establishment and growth (2 kg of Azospirillum) culture has to be mixed with 10 litres of water. The root portion of the seedlings are soaked in this mixture for 20-30 minutes and then planted in the main field.


Andhra Pradesh