Comparison of organic and synthetic mulch for bell pepper production at three levels of drip irrigation

Manuel C. Palada, Allison M. Davis, Stafford M. A. Crossman


Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L. cv. 'Calwonder') was grown with grass straw and white on black plastic mulch with three drip irrigation regimes based on soil moisture tension (20, 40 and 60 kPa) for two seasons. A bare (no mulch) treatment was also included. In the first season, there were no significant differences (P > 0.05) in the number and size of fruits between the two types of mulch and bare treatment or between irrigation regimes. Plots with plastic mulch produced slightly higher total and marketable fruits than plots with grass straw mulch and bare. Mulch and drip irrigation regime did not significantly (P > 0.05) influence the total and marketable fruit yield. However, mulched plots produced marketable fruits, which were 15-20% higher than bare plots. In the second season no significant differences (P > 0.05) were observed in all measured parameters. Although there were no significant differences, mulched plots were superior to bare plots in both the total number and weight of fruits. Mulching resulted in a more efficient use (35%) of irrigation water compared to bare plots. Overall, the use of mulch resulted in 33-46% increase in eco
nomic returns from two seasons of bell pepper production.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283