This article will give you an overview of practical and cost-effective culture and management practices for production of black pepper. Pepper varities available at our farm include Paniyur and Menzi.
CULTURE AND MANAGEMENT
For backyard planting, select a well-drained area and divide into equal areas of 2 x 2 square meter lots. At each corner of each lot, dig holes 60 cm sq about 40 cm deep. Put kawayan post measuring 4 cm in diameter and 2 meters long at the center of the hole. Mix 1 part of LAS-1 Activated Pure Organic Fertilizer with 1 part of top soil.
Carefully remove the plant from its container and set it in the hole. Fill the extra spaces with the LAS-1 Activated Pure Organic Fertilizer and top soil mixture. Transplant black pepper seedlings at the start of the rainy season.
Short-lived catch crops can be used as intercrop to control weed, improve soil fertility levels, and add to profit. Plant snapbeans, ginger, and hot and sweet pepper approximately 1 meter away from the black pepper rows.
Hand pull the weeds especially when the plant is still small and the weeds are too close to the plant.
Water the seedlings frequently especially during the first two dry seasons to help develop the root system. For mature seedlings, water frequently especially when flowering or fruiting. Irrigation can be complemented with mulching, good vegetation, or by shallow cultivation.
Place 4 to 6 inch mulching using rice hull or dried grass at a distance of 6 inches from the trunk spreading towards the edge of the crown. This will help in restricting weed growth, maintaining relatively low temperature, and in keeping the soil moist even during the dry season.
Fertilization can be done at any time – regardless of the season. We recommend re-fertilization every 2 to 3 months using LAS-1 Activated Pure Organic Fertilizer. Make sure that the fertilizer is well distributed on the black pepper hill.
Pruning is done when the seedling reaches 2 to 3 feet high. This is done to induce more branching, remove unwanted branches, and to remove crowded laterals.
HARVESTING AND HANDLING
Black pepper seedlings when properly maintained can bear fruit as early as 5 to 6 months. The whole spike is ready for picking when the pepper-corn in a spike turns cherry-red, when pepper-corn changes in color from dark green to yellowish-green, and the cotyledon exhibit a brownish color when pinched. Harvesting is done during the sunny season. An open basket or sack is tied to the waist of the harvester and is used as the container. One hand twists the spike while the other hand holds the peduncle.
Black peppercorn. Black pepper is dried under the sun. Peppercorn is placed on mat and spike is removed. Peppercorn is then winnowed, cleaned and stored in sacks.
White peppercorn. Ripe berries are removed from spikes, placed in bags and soaked in running water 1 to 2 weeks in order to soften skin. Skin is removed manually or by treading on berries with the feet. Wash and dry immediately.
DISCLAIMER: This article was written for those who need basic information on black pepper culture and management. This should not be considered as the most informative resource. Additional reading is highly recommended.