Welcome to my website in which I show you how I grow great organic vegies in a water conserving raised garden bed with the help of a built in worm farm and pest exclusion devices. I also show you how I rotate these vegies in a 4 year 4 bed cycle. Check out my website 'Gardening with Ecobeds' which shows you how Ecobeds are made and how they grow food without using poisonous chemicals....................John Ashworth 27th July 2015.
The soil is cleared of organic debris from the previous crop and top dressed with lots of homemade thermal compost. Its then covered with organic sugar cane mulch and left for a few weeks to get those microbes pumping.
I propagated 2 seedlings in jiffy pots (compressed sphagnum peat moss and wood pulp) in an EcoPropagator.
When the seedlings are in 4th leaf, I remove the weakest one in each jiffy pot (at ground level to reduce soil disturbance).
They are transplanted into the Ecobins when mature enough. I plant them in their jiffy pots, to reduce root disturbance
When flowers appear, I buzz pollinate them to ensure plenty of fruit sets, and harvest them when fully ripe.
I store my crop surplus in a chest freezer.
Variety: Californian Wonder.
Family group: Solanaceae.
Crop rotation group: Solanaceae.
Garden bed type: Small Ecobed.
Recommended soil pH: 5.5 - 7.0.
Minimum sun per day: 8 hours.
Plant spacings: 1 per Ecobin.
Weeks to harvest: 10 - 12 weeks.
Climate: Warm temperate.
This food is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
It is a good
source of vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, potassium
and manganese, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A,
vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), vitamin B6 and folate.
Californian Wonder capsicum grows best in full sun in warm to hot weather.
need well structured rich organic soil and a continuous water supply
for best results.
Clear the soil of organic debris from the previous crop and top dress with 60mm of homemade thermal compost. Cover with fresh organic sugar cane mulch and leavefor a few weeks to build up worm and microbial activity before planting.
Sow 1 or 2 capsicum seeds in each of 2 jiffy pots in August filled with good quality organic seed raising mix and cover with a 2mm layer of finely sieved mix.
the pots for 30 minutes in a tray containing 10mm of dilute seaweed extract (dilute to about 25mils per litre of rainwater).
Transfer the jiffy pots into an EcoPropagator and sink them up to their rims in the wicking medium. This will
keep the soil moist until the seedlings are ready to
Select the strongest
seedling in each pot when they emerge and nip the others off at ground
level. Don't pull them out as this will unnecessarily disturb the soil.
When the seedlings are ready to be planted out, make a space in the mulch ina prepared Small Ecobed and plant a capsicum seedling still in its jiffy pots. Water itin once with dilute seaweed extract and then leave the Ecobed to take over the watering.
Capsicum are self pollinating, however the pollen grains are securely held on
the plants anthers. Moderate vibration will release this pollen and
often a strong breeze will be enough.
Bumble bees buzz pollinate capsicum by grabbing the flower and
vibrating their flight muscles vigorously. Honey bees don't use this
technique and consequently they are not very efficient pollinators of capsicum plants.
mainland Australia where there are no bumble bees, we must rely on native bees
(like the blue banded bee) or the wind. Both are unreliable in suburban
gardens, and barriers like greenhouses and pest exclusion netting make the problem worse.
To ensure a good fruit set, buzz pollinate by hand. I do this using an electric toothbrush. See related video.
Harvesting and Storage.
Capsicum can be harvested from December onward.
Pick some capsicum early while still green. This encourages more flowers, but leave some to ripen to their beautiful red livery.
Capsicum can be stored, chopped into small cubes (skin on), in the freezer afterremoving seeds .
I blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes and cool them rapidly in
cold water. I dry them and pack them into resealable plastic bags for
storage in my chest freezer.
Capsicum should be protected against slugs and snails using self adhesive copper
tape bonded around the base of your Ecobins.
these molluscs get into your Ecobin as eggs laid in your compost, kill
them with organically approved iron based snail pellets as soon as they are dicovered. You should only need to use a small number of them.
Mollusc eggs will not be a problem if you use thermal compost, the heat destroys them.
Crop rotation helps suppress root knot nematodes by moving their favourite food to a
new bed every year. They are not given enough time to establish and
become a significant pest.
you regularly apply fresh homemade compost, the beneficial microbes in
the compost and soil will restore the soils microbial balance and significantly reduce the negative effect of root knot nematodes. Periodic drenches of active aerated compost tea is even more effective.
monthly foliar spray of aerated compost tea helps keep powdery mildew
at bay. It does this by coating the plants leaves with a colony of
beneficial microbes which resists the establishment of the fungi.
solution of 1 part cows milk to 9 parts water also makes a reasonably
effective organic fungicide against powdery mildew. However, it needs
to be applied early before the fungi gets well established, and
frequently to keep the mildew in check.
a last resort spray the plants foliage with an organic fungicide
(Eco-fungicide in Australia). This works by creating a high pH
environment which stops fungal growth.
applications of aerated compost tea boost the natural defences of
capsicum by colonising leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.
They defend the plant against airborne pests and diseases.
proper soil preparation including regular applications of home made
compost boost the community of beneficial
microbes which defend the plant's roots against plant pathogens.