Growing peppers: attentive care taken at all times to produce exceptional vegetables.
Meeting with Jean-Michel Crestin.
It is possible to grow the best peppers while caring for the environment. Jean-Michel Crestin proves it every day in his farm in Provence, supported in his demanding quality approach by Le vergers Boiron. Result: even healthier and tastier vegetables.
Jean-Michel Crestin knows peppers off by heart and to the tip of his taste buds! A descendant of three generations of farmers, he manages a farm of six hectares in Graveson, not far from Avignon in the Bouches-du-Rhône. For the past four years, he has worked in collaboration with Les vergers Boiron to whom he dedicates a large proportion of his pepper crop.
Vegetables grown to maturity
"Our rate of production follows an immutable timetable", explains Jean-Michel Crestin. "We plant in late March-early April, for a harvest in late September-early October. It is the harvest period which yields vegetables at full maturity, as required by Les vergers Boiron, to keep all their flavours and their organoleptic qualities". The farmer has been committed for several years to a demanding process of environmental protection with a "leafmark" certification project, which imposes farming methods that care for the environment and independent testing.
The effectiveness of PILazo against nitrogen
Jean-Michel Crestin uses the PILazo method, which is very effective in limiting nitrogen inputs. "By measuring nitrate in the sap every morning, I add the necessary nitrogen, no more nor less". This method has allowed him to save 86% in nitrogen units. "In addition to protecting the environment, this method produces peppers with a high proportion of nutrients. I bring the same care to plant monitoring, a point on which Les vergers Boiron are particularly demanding because they want the least amount of fertilisers and pesticides possible". Jean-Michel Crestin practices reasoned biocontrol. He uses predatory mites to eliminate insects that attack plants and he treats his plants with Bacillus subtilis, a totally natural fungicide. "Finally, I spray with sulphur, a fairly conventional treatment, but I do it directly on the ground and not in the air which prevents stains on the peppers".
Natural cleaning by "solarisation"
As peppers are a vegetable that tends to strain the soil, Jean-Michel Crestin organises his crop rotation on a three-year basis. "We spend a whole year cleaning the soil by "solarisation" of our eight greenhouses". In other words, plastic sheeting is laid on the floor, raising the earth's temperature to 40-50 °C. This allows the action of the sun to purify the ground. "It is a method that also gets rid of weeds, without using any herbicides. "
Sensitive to climate change, the pe