Cómo preparar el semillero para la siembra de ají dulce

Por José Herminio Zayas Bermúdez, MBA

 

Saludos. Esta vez continúo con la explicación del cultivo del ají dulce que mucho se utiliza en la comida puertorriqueña. El cultivo del ají dulce, como había informado, necesita de cuidados para obtener una buena cosecha. Esta vez les explico sobre cómo prepara un semillero y el abono que podemos utilizar en nuestras siembras.

Se recomienda germinar la semilla y desarrollar las plántulas en propagadores que se consiguen comercialmente, pero si no es posible lo podemos preparar nosotros mismos. Para los semilleros puedes utilizar cajuelas, cajas cementeras o bandejas plásticas con celdas individuales.

También en el mercado puede conseguir productos que vienen preparados para ser utilizados en la germinación a los que sólo hay que añadirles agua y quedan listos para hacer el semillero. No importa si no tienes recursos para ellos o no los consigues.

Si no se cuenta con ese medio, se puede utilizar una mezcla de suelo fértil con arena a partes iguales. Para bandejas con celdas individuales, a la mezcla anterior le puede añadir una parte de materia orgánica (cachaza, estiércol) para que se forme un pilón alrededor de la raíz.

Una vez tienes listo el semillero, debes aplicar entre una y libra y media de abono 10-10-8 por cada diez pies lineales en cajuelas o cajas cementeras de tres pies de ancho. Siembre la semilla espaciada para facilitar la aireación tan pronto germine y así se pueden evitar las enfermedades, esto le ayudará a desarrollar una plántula vigorosa.

Siempre tenga presente que debe utilizar una semilla de alta calidad y con buen porcentaje de germinación (sobre un 80%).

Aplique agua suficiente al semillero para mantener húmedo el suelo, pero evite los excesos de agua. Las plántulas deben estar listas entre los 35 a 45 días después de sembrada la semilla.

La mejor época de siembra (trasplante) es la de menos lluvia, la cual coincide con las temperaturas frescas (noviembre-febrero), aunque en los pueblos del centro de la Isla se puede sembrar todo el año, siempre y cuando se tomen las precauciones necesarias durante los meses de mucha lluvia.

Necesita abonar la planta. Haga una aplicación de abono 10-10-8 con elementos menores una semana después del trasplante y otra aplicación del mismo abono antes de la florecida.

Evite hacer uso excesivo de fertilizantes que afecten la disponibilidad de otros nutrimentos, disminuyan la productividad de la cosecha y contaminen las fuentes de aguas subterráneas y superficiales. La aplicación eficiente de riego requiere que se usen las cantidades óptimas de agua y que ésta esté disponible cuando la planta la necesite. El método visual es el más común para decidir cuándo regar, aunque no es el más eficiente. Si se usa el método visual, las mejores horas para determinar cuándo regar es entre 7 a 8 am o 6 a 7 pm.

Si cuenta con un sistema de riego por goteo, mantenga el suelo cerca de su capacidad de campo aplicando pequeñas cantidades de agua de dos a tres veces por semana.  El riego por aspersión aérea puede provocar la caída de flores reduciendo eventualmente la producción.

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