I am having much better luck with peppers this year than I did last year and I was wondering if anyone else is having similar experience. Last year, we had a VERY wet year in South Texas, presumably due to El Nino. This year, we are in the middle of a severe drought, but my peppers are performing so much better, I don't mind too much! Last year, I tried 4 plants, serranos, cayenne, scotch bonnet and jalapeno and never had a single pepper produced. I planted the same plants this year, but switched the serrano for habanero, and all plants are producing fruits already. I have actually harvested some of the cayennes (Long red slim), the scotch bonnets and jalapenos aren't far behind. The plants are in the same location, I have used the same organic materials, yet much higher yields.
Just wondering if any of you are seeing the same trend this year.
It seems like everything is growing better and faster this year. My tepins are twice as big as they were last year at this time. Must be the heat. But this wind is going to be the end of me.
We had so much rain last year I had tons of disease issues and all the rain leached a lot of the nutrients out of the soil. This year I just hope I can keep everything watered.
It's also been my experience backyard gardening for 40+ years in Georgia and Florida that dry weather is best for peppers. Here the wet summers encourage fungal diseases affecting foliage and fruit, and interfere with both biological and chemical control of insect pests and diseases.
Dry weather-grown peppers seem to mature with fewer problems, and the hot varieties tend to be MUCH hotter. My favorite story concerns some Jalapeno plants I grew during a prolonged drought in Georgia. When almost everything else in the garden had given up (in spite of frequent deep watering) the pepper plants thrived. I have a favorite recipe for Mexican corn bread that I had made many times, which called for four Jalapenos with seeds and most of the membranes removed before chopping fine. Well, that year I made that recipe with the first peppers to come off the plant - and while I dearly love spicy food, I had to throw it out. I made the same recipe later with ONE of those Jalapenos, and it was still plenty warm!
I guess it could have been fungus last year that got my plants. They would bloom and then the blossoms would fall off and no peppers grew. My local nursery called it blossom rot, I believe and they gave me a spray to help set the blooms, but it never worked...another 8.00 down the drain...LOL. I was getting paranoid because every other time I have attempted peppers I had great success. Looks like last year was just an anomaly for me. This year is much better.
Maybe my scotch bonnets will reach ghost pepper status this year with the drought we are having!
If you look verrryyy carefully, you can see a tiny pepper starting on the plant to the right. I do not enjoy hot peppers, nor my family, so no heat in my choices. So far one in the ground and 2 in this 'pot', several more to go into pots. This is my third year for peppers and I hope I get more than the slim handful that was last year's harvest. We have had cool (for us) weather, mostly, this far. That is, except for those couple 90+ days.
And this photo of peppers I bought at the store yesterday just reminded me of Ozark's prolific red pepper crop. Peppers have been horribly expensive at the market, up to $3 each for red or orange. I bought these on sale for .79 each and they are HUGE. They were not just size, it was yummy too. Three of them weighed a total of 2.5 pounds. They are from Chile, of course.
My pepper experience this year, compared to last year is the same as everyone here has noted: peppers galore this year!! spotless and perfect...and the jalapenos are super-mega-HOT! This past Thursday, I picked 9 pounds of Jalapenoes, Feherozon Bells, and Czech Black peppers and canned 9 pints of marinated mixed peppers...last year, on the same number of plants, I never had enough at one time to can even one pint jar!
I'm in Melbourne, FL, growing them in Earthboxes, and, yes, our March/April has been much drier and hotter than last year. No signs of fungus on my pepper plants or tomatoes this year, either.
Hope it stays this way! Would love to be able to roast and can many more pints of sweet red bells when they are ready...and I'd like to make some Cowboy Candy out of the next batch of jalapenoes (so, hurricanes--STAY AWAY!)
It's been my experience that peppers produce best when the weather is hot and day, BUT with lots of water applied to the soil.
I think hot dry weather minimizes diseases and helps peppers to set on and grow bigger and faster. They like plenty of water on their roots though, and I water with a soaker hose and give the pepper row more water than I give the other veggies.
To Ozark--Amen on the watering! My peppers are in Earthboxes, and I never miss a day of watering...they don't seem to really drink up a lot of water (compared to the tomatoes, that is) but they are certainly flourishing, so I guess they are getting what they need.
I give moderate water and have had good results this year, but absolutely no supplemental moisture in the form of rain. My scotch bonnet plant is covered with peppers, as are the jalapeno and cayenne. The habanero is a little behind, but it is loaded with blooms and small peppers. I have had a couple of problems with something eating the insides of my cayennes. There will be 2 small holes and the seed structure is gone or damaged and the pepper begins to shrink in on its self. I have only seen this on peppers that are beginning to turn red. Otherwise, it has been a very good year and I haven't had problems with any of the thicker skinned varieties.
It is very nice to have fresh peppers around the house all the time, even if it is only one pepper of the plant!