Organic farming is a farming technique which uses environment friendly products to enhance the crop as well as the soil. It does not promote the use of chemical products that causes harm to nature as well as humans. The major manure used in organic farming includes green manure, farmyard manure, neem cake etc. They also promote the use of compost and enhance the growth of earthworms and other micro-organisms.
Here we are going to discuss about the farming techniques of capsicum.
Capsicum is also called as red pepper or chilli pepper. It is considered as a herb with high medicinal values. Apart from using capsicum as a vegetable, they are also used for producing different medicines. Capsicum is proved to heal rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis and other severe conditions.
Among the capsicum varieties there a particular variety that causes severe eye pain and other unpleasant effects. This form is used to make pepper spray mainly used for self-defence.
Capsicum comes under the genus of flowering plants and is a member of the nightshade family Solanaceae. There are different techniques to cultivate capsicum which include polyhouse, greenhouse or open field. This crop variety is less attacked by pests and insects. They are generally grown in warm areas and the plant reaches a height of about 75cm.
Capsicum plants bear flowers in white and purple colour. The optimum temperature range for capsicum is between 21 – 27 degree Celsius. Among other countries in the world, India is one of the leading producers of capsicum.
Capsicum comes in different colours such as green, red and yellow. While choosing the seedlings we must ensure that they are resistant to diseases and will provide high quality yields. The chosen crop variety should fulfil the minimum requirements of farming.
Capsicum plants does not have deep roots, they have shallow roots. So the best soil to cultivate them is loose soil. It is better if the soil is acidic and has a pH range between 5.8 – 6.5
Capsicum grows efficiently in loose loamy soil with a good drainage property. Beds are raised to a certain height from the ground level for crop cultivation.
Before planting the seedlings we must ensure that:
- The soil is tested for pH and the value is between 6 – 6.5
- Salinity value of the soil should not exceed 1ms/cm
- Soil should have the porous property and good drainage property.
- The farmland should be well ploughed and mixed with organic manure before planting.
Capsicum has both winter crop variety as well as summer crop variety. The winter crops are generally sown in the month of August and the summer crops during the month of November.
The standard spacing dimension of capsicum is 60 cmx 70cm.
The capsicum seeds are not directly sown in the farmland. They are first raised in the nursery and once the plant becomes mature, they are transferred to the farm. During the nursery time the beds are covered with a thin layer of soil manure and are provided with light irrigation. When the plant develops 4-5 leaves, they are ready to get transplanted.
Correct amount of nutrients should be added to the soil to get the required yield. Commonly applied manures are farmyard manures and neem cake. The seedlings before planting are treated with Azospirillum and PSB culture. During the end of first month of planting vermicompost is applied to enhance the growth of the plant. Deficiency in the required nutrients badly effects the fruit growth and quality.
Farmers use drip irrigation technique for the capsicum crops. These plants need water content all the time so drip irrigation is the best method to maintain the moisture content. To keep up the humidity in the air, a fogger is used. The optimum humidity range required for the crop is 90 – 92%. Never use hard water or distilled water for irrigation. Only use fresh water.
Capsicum plants tend to produce many fruits at a time. So it is our responsibly to inspect every fruit and remove the unhealthy ones. This process is called fruit thinning and is done to promote the development of other fruits. Fruit thinning is done during the initial stages of fruiting before the fruit gains size.
Even though capsicum is not prone to much pest attacks, some pests like aphids, white flies and red spider mites attack them. To avoid them from infecting, the fruits are applied with derris or fatty acid sprays. In some cases neem oil is also used.
Some of the organic methods to prevent pests are:
- Polythene sheets: Polythene sheets are used to protect the fields from pests and diseases. They also prevent the sudden increase of heat of the soil.
- Neem extract: Neem extract are sprayed on to the plants to get rid of juice sucking insects in capsicum plants. The standard procedure is to spray 3 times in 15-20 days.
Capsicum harvest can be done after 60 days of planting in the case of green capsicum, 80-90 days for yellow capsicum and red capsicum. When the fruit turn dark green, yellow or red in colour, they are ready to harvest.