Chili plants are among the strategic horticultural commodities with a high selling price and good nutrients for health. In addition to its use as spice, chili can also be used to make chili sauce and can be processed into a dry powder as well as medicinal ingredient.
Here are some tips so that your chili plants can grow and develop well in the long term
1. Keep the planting medium moist.
The water needs for chili plants must be adjusted to the weather. If the weather is hot, the plants need to be watered twice a day. If the rainfall is high, watering can be done conditionally because the flowers or chilies will fall off easily if too much watered.
2. Remove weeds and pests.
If you find weeds around your chili plants, you should remove them so that the chilies can grow better. It is also necessary to prune the plants for removing weeds by slowly cutting the plant shoots once a month. If not removed, weeds can reduce the supply of nutrients in chili plants.
3. Monitor the chili plants’ growth.
You should always watch the health of your chili plants by keeping them away from pests that can decompose chilies and even cause them to perish. One of the methods to prevent it happens is by spraying pesticides in the evening. However, if the chilies have started to decompose, try to give them medicine and additional fertilizer to revive your chilies.
4. Give your chilies nutrients they need using fertilizer
Fertilizer is the most appropriate nutrition provider for chilies, especially if using compost, organic fertilizer or manure. Fertilizer needs to be given in the first two weeks since the chilies are planted. After that, it can be done once a month. Fertilizer can be placed on top of the soil on chilies planted in pots. But if the chilies are planted directly in the soil, the fertilizer can be placed in the soil that is close to the root of the tree.
Basic fertilization should be carried out so that during the vegetative phase until fruiting, the chilli plants will not experience nutritional deficiencies. You can do this by adjusting the dose which will be used during the planting season.
For example, during the rainy season the dose of fertilizer you can use is 400 kg of SP-36, 3 tons of Dolomite, 150 kg of Za, 400 kg of KCL, and 6 tons of manure. During the dry season, you can use 350 kg of SP-36, 200 kg of Za, 350 kg of KCL, 2 tons of dolomite, and 5 tons of manure. Apply the fertilizer by spreading it evenly on the surface of the beds and then stirred at a depth of 15-20 cm. After that, leave the fertilizer for 2-3 weeks so that it can be mixed and dissolved degraded with the soil. Then, you can cover the soil using mulch plastic.
During the rainy season, it will be more effective if the fertilization is carried out by sowing it. As for dry season, it is better if it is done by pouring it. Usually, farmers perform additional fertilization when the chilies enter the age of 10 days after planting or when the plant roots can grow in new soil (can adapt).
Don’t wait until the chili plants become thin and look less green before the fertilization is done. The right time to fertilize chilies is once every 10 days, when the chili plants can be harvested.
Fertilization is done by pouring the fertilization in which the dose is already adjusted to the type of fertilizer, plant age and environmental conditions. Too much dose of chemical fertilizers will shortly produce chilis. Unfortunately, it can also cause the plants aging too quickly.
Therefore, the organic fertilizer can be used as a solution for a balanced fertilization. This effort has been made by PT Pupuk Kalimantan Timur (Pupuk Kaltim) by developing various eco-friendly fertilizer products. For biological fertilizers (Biotara and Ecofert), the company develops superior microbial active ingredients with organic carriers (compost and humate) and minerals (zeolites).
Biotara is a biological fertilizer that is adaptive to acidic soils in swamps and is capable of increasing plant productivity and the sustainability of land resources.
The benefits are to increase the efficiency of N and P fertilization, save NPK fertilization by up to 25 percent of the swamp land standard dosage, and to decompose the organic remains. Further efforts are made by spraying pesticides on chilies is better conducted by adjusting with the need and condition around the environment.
Chili Harvesting Technique So Plants Don’t Immediately Perish
Apart from doing fertilization, the most important thing that must be considered is a careful chili harvesting. There is a technique in doing this. A careless harvesting can cause problems, such as damaging the flowers that grow around the armpits of a chili stem, inhibiting the overall growth, degrading the quality of the next chili harvest, damaging the new shoots, and destroying the growing part of the fruit.
There are things that must be done when harvesting chilies such as harvesting by picking the fruit with its stem so that the chilies can be stored longer. The chilies which are affected by pests or diseases can still be harvested so that they do not become a source of disease for healthy plants.
You must do the harvest in the morning because the weight of the fruit is in optimal condition and has not evaporated. Do not pick the chilis by pulling them out or pull them upwards. You should twist them clockwise because if they are pulled upwards the flowers can fall off before fertilization or flower pollination occurs.
A repeated harvesting of chilies can reduce fruit quality. The harvest should be prioritized on the ripe fruit by doing the sorting or fruit selection. In some chili plants with dense fruit, you can find flowers which coincide with ripe fruits. Therefore, the picking is done by rotating the fruit slowly clockwise using your right hand so that the stems and flowers do not fall off.
Although very productive, the chili plants cultivated by farmers have an average age planting for 6 months in each planting period. With this age, the plants can only be harvested 16 times or a maximum of 20 times. After that, the chili plants begin to show a decrease in productivity.
By using the right cultivation technology and farming experience, the productivity age of chili plants can be extended up to more than 18 months with a continuous flowering period and production.
You can do this by maintaining the hygiene of the plant environment by weeding regularly. Besides that, the grass that starts to grow on chili beds or on the sidelines of plastic mulch needs to be weeded immediately. Don’t wait for the grass to interfere with the growth of the chili plant, because the bigger the grass the deeper the roots and it can be very annoying to the chili plant roots.