Organic farming means developing a mode of production of fresh vegetables and fruits paying maximum respect to the natural resources, in order to conserve the environment and protect the consumers’ health.
Like all varieties of fruit and vegetable products that are traded the most worldwide, even peppers are now evaluated from an organic point of view and in particular in recent years new methods have been developed for the cultivation of organic peppers, as confirmed by a reasearch done by the Research unit for horticulture.
There are more and more researches to develop new techniques for the organic cultivation and the protection of peppers with a low environmental impact, considered the economical importance and the phitosanitary problems found in the areas more cultivated for the production of peppers worldwide.
Peppers are a species with tropical origins, very exigent from a temperature point of view: to have a perfect clime condition for the growth and the development of peppers, it is important to observe night temperatures that have to be between 16-18° and day temperatures between 24-26°.
The best soil for the cultivation of organic peppers should be of medium mixture, as well as well structured, even though it is often cultivated on clayey and loose soils, using the different agronomic techniques.
Less indicated for the production of organic peppers is instead a silt-clay soil, where water stagnations on the surface and the compression, facilitate attacks from parasites and the developing of physiopathologies that could damage the cultivation of this organic fruit and vegetable product.
It is fundamental for the plant of peppers to guarantee a good drainage and a regular development of the root system, that is typically not very vigorous. For this reason it is necessary to plant peppers quite deep in the ground, according to the different type of soil used.
In organic cultivations digging is recommended instead of ploughing, while to prepare the surface of the soil it is better to harrow the soil instead of simply milling it.
There are many varieties of peppers, such as square or rectangular or tapered, more or less elongated peppers, and many colours and sizes. Among the countless varieties of peppers, experts say that it is extremely important to prefer those varieties that have a genetic resistance.
If a medium mixture or clayey soil is used for the cultivation of organic peppers, it is important to use large quantities of composted manure, about 40 or 50 tons per year, or to use other organic fertilizers such as soil amendment in order to satisfy the nutritional requirements of peppers.
The calendar of transplants in the protected cultivation of organic peppers is further more complicated than the one used for normal cultivation: in particular, it is possible to lengthen the period of production of peppers for all the year.
The cultivation of organic peppers takes place in greenhouses built with iron and zinc structures.
Finally, as to the irrigation methods, both in the protected cultivations and in the cultivations in open fields, a localized pressure irrigation and drip system irrigation with a drilled hose are used, as they permit a regular and uniform irrigation.
Fruit and vegetable products deriving from organic farming are obtained using methods that permit only substances of natural origin. It is an extremely important step for the consumer, as it outlines the quality of the process and of all the entities involved in the production of peppers, guaranteed by the labeling of the organic fruit and vegetable product on the international market, with fruit and vegetable companies for the production of certified peppers according to the EU norms of organic farming, to the European Regulation 2092/91, later annulled with the new CE 834/2007, created to protect the environment. The label, is thus a “certification” of valid, healthy and higher quality fruit and vegetable products.
The most suitable peppers for organic farming are:
- CAJENNE HOT SHORT PEPPER: variety of peppers, whose fruits are cylindrical and elongated; the thin flesh is very hot and the skin is bright red when completely ripe. This hot pepper is used both fresh and dried, as well as for the preparation of paprika, a very popular spice at an international level, native to Hungary. Early variety of peppers with a resistant and very productive plant.
- CORNO DI TORO: variety of peppers with an extremely productive plant, whose fruits are particularly large, horn-shaped (they can be more than 20 cm long) and that can become red (with a very tasty flesh) or yellow (with a tasty and delicate flesh) when ripe. This variety of peppers is excellent to be consumed fresh or to be used in the industry, as well as to be used in cuisine to prepare stuffed or grilled peppers.
- LUNGO DI NOCERA (called also "FRIARIELLO"): variety of peppers, whose fruits are horn-shaped with a tasty and sweet flesh that is dark green when still unripe, while becomes red when completely ripe. In cuisine these peppers can be used when still green to prepare fried peppers or peppers in vinegar.
- LUNGO MARCONI: variety of peppers with hanging fruits that can be long up to 18 cm. These peppers have a lot of flesh, medium-thick with three small lobes and sweet that can be red, yellow or green.
- PEPERONE DI SENISE PGI: variety of peppers, whose fruits are elongated and thin, green or purple red. Variety that is stored dried because they contain little water, this pepper is therefore used for the production of spices, but is also consumed dried, with cheese and fresh vegetables.
- SQUARE RED AND YELLOW PEPPER: variety of peppers with a vigorous nd productive plant that is resistant to the most common deseases. This is an early pepper, in spite of its large size and its shape. The flesh of this variety is sweet and fleshy, the skin can be red or yellow when fruits are completely ripe.
- TOPEDO (also called "TOMATO PEPPER"): flat and ribbed variety of peppers (as to the shape, similar to the pointed tomato), used a lot, as well as for fresh consumption also to be canned in vinegar and to be stuffed. It is appreciated a lot on the markets all over the world. The plant is rustic and productive; this particular Variety of peppers has a sweet and thick flesh and a red skin when fruits are completely ripe.