Plant arrangement

Plants can be arranged in the field in single rows or in beds of two, three or four rows. The spacing between plants in the row and between rows is determined by the desired plant population density, type of planting material, planting methods, use of plastic mulch, use of raised beds, methods of plant fertilization and methods of harvesting. One of the more usual arrangements involves two-row beds with an adequately wide walk space between the beds to allow for field activities, particularly harvesting. In this scenario, the distance between the plants within a line, which should not be less than about 20 cm (about 8 in.), is less than the distance between the lines in the bed.

The density used is generally determined by the variety or clone being planted, the intensity of cultural practices used and the planned use of the fruit. Planting densities of less than about 50,000 plants ha-1 are common in market gardens or where clones with long, spiny leaves, e.g. 'Singapore Spanish' or 'Red Spanish', are grown (Py et al., 1987). Densities for 'Smooth Cayenne' are typically between 50,000 and 75,000 plants ha-1. Currently, higher densities typically are used where fruits are destined for the cannery and lower densities are used where fruits are marketed fresh. Fruit for the fresh export market should weigh between 1.7 and 2.5 kg, requiring an overall average fruit weight of 1.9 kg, while fruit recovery in the cannery is highest if fruit weigh about 1.6 kg, because recoveries are highest when fruit fit standard No. 2-size cans (J. Gonzales, 2002, personal communication).

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