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Florida Gardening: Growing jalapeņos in Florida

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sunkissed

sunkissed
Winter Springs, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 25, 2011
4:28 AM

Post #8585892

Just wondering if anyone in FL has tried growing jalapeņos? I bought some tiny plants, eight of them and have them potted, so far they are doing pretty good, but only have had them for a bit over a week now. However it is getting pretty hot and I don't know how well they'll take the summer heat. I went to the pepper forum and most people there are in the southwest. So wondering if I can be successful with growing them in our humid hot climate. Right now they get morning sun and then about two on filtered sun and shade. Any advice is greatly appreciated, like fertilizer. We eat a lot of jalapeņos and I'd like to make this work. I understand they can last many years. I don't know what kind they are, only that they are from Bonnie plants.
sugarweed
Jacksonville & Okeec, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 26, 2011
10:59 AM

Post #8588607

Keep them watered and they should do fine. Tomatoes on the other hand won't set blossom after the night temps are above 70ºF.
Sidney

sunkissed

sunkissed
Winter Springs, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 27, 2011
6:39 AM

Post #8590412

Thanks Sugarweed, I'm amazed at how much these little peppers grow each day. I do have some cherry tomatoes and they are still blossoming, but our nights are still hovering around the seventies and low sixties. I gave up years ago on full size tomatoes, I just have two many squirrels and birds that love to eat the seeds out of them.
AnitTina
Eustis, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 28, 2011
9:17 PM

Post #8593806

Bought this one at Wal Mart planted it in early March its doing great right now

Thumbnail by AnitTina
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rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

May 28, 2011
10:47 PM

Post #8593873

[quote="sugarweed"]Tomatoes on the other hand won't set blossom after the night temps are above 70ºF.
Sidney[/quote]

That depends on the tomato. I've had very good luck with a number of the smaller-fruited varieties right through summer in Florida, with daytime temperatures well into the 90's and lows in the 70's.

-Rich

sunkissed

sunkissed
Winter Springs, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 29, 2011
4:19 AM

Post #8594104

You're right Rich, my Dad grows cherry tomatoes all summer long. My cherry tomato bush is still blossoming at this point and producing fruit, it does get some shade after 3PM. My bell pepper is dropping the blossom and I see no fruit. But these jalapeņos are doing pretty good.
rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

May 29, 2011
12:52 PM

Post #8594852

The best I've grown in terms of quality and productivity are a number of the "grape" types. These seem to be a bit more successful here in NC Florida than the older cherry types, which have a greater tendency to fruit-split in our climate (high summer humidity with periods of dry weather interspersed with afternoon thunderstorms).

IMO the fruit skin toughens as the fruit ripens in the heat, which also draws moisture out of the plants and fruit faster than it can be replaced during the day. This can be observed as wilting of the leaves even when the roots are in soil that is not dry to the touch. Rain or irrigation afterwards (or maybe just the plant "catching up" using moisture already present in the media) causes the fruit to take up additional water, which in turn causes the fruit to expand beyond what the skin can hold. I think this may also happen as a direct result of water uptake by the fruit itself, but my "research" isn't complete. There are likely several reasons for fruit set failure and fruit split, since some varieties recommended for setting in the heat or resisting splitting simply don't perform well here.

-Rich
AnitTina
Eustis, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 29, 2011
2:58 PM

Post #8595035

I planted Tropic boy I think they also are called Hawiian something its heat resistant and crack resistant tomato. They are doing very well right now but they were planted in Feb direct sow.

With all the tomato eggplant peppers I dug a large hole mixed compost and soil moist with the soil and some potting soil then either planeted the seeds on top or set out the plants in the holes.

The peppers show heat wilt in the afternoons while the tropic boys only have a slight bit of heat wilt at the very tips on top. The white currents don't seem to care at all they are like the brain they are trying to take over the world or at least the garden. The eggplants don't seem to be bothered by the heat yet.

I purchased my hot peppers jalapeņos and chili's at the same time I purchased a Calif Wonder sweet bell. The hot peppers are doing great yet the bell has only produced 2 or 3 small peppers
I purchased a yellow bell that is huge and healthy but has yet to produce anything. A number of other colors that are not at the flower stage yet.
The Hot peppers are getting more shade druing the day that could be the reason or they just like the heat more than the bell peppers do.

baskcomet
Naples, FL

June 7, 2011
6:32 AM

Post #8615002

I've always heard only cherry tomatos and hot peppers grow in the summer months in sw florida...this was a bad year for me all aroud except with plants i grew in pots...i have a "peter pepper" still doing great...and my habenero too.

sunkissed

sunkissed
Winter Springs, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 7, 2011
6:52 AM

Post #8615048

Well so far my jalapeņos are doing very well, thanks to some private D-mails I got I am making sure they are not in sun the hottest part of the day, since they are in containers I can move them if needed. Mine are getting full sun from sunrise or a bit after until about one PM and then filtered sunlight. Late after six PM one gets sun again and it seems to be doing the best.
My Sungold cherry tomatoes and Napa grape tomatoes are doing very well, they give me a handful of tomatoes each day, also in a large container. This plant is in full sun until about one and then filtered sun, again back in sun after five or six PM.
I also have a bell pepper which I had to move to a shady spot under an oak tree where it will get bits of sunlight here and there, but after six PM gets the sun until it sets. It is a water hungry plant, I did pick off four peppers and now have about six more growing since I moved it to the shady spot.
One thing about our backyard is we are on a hill and get an eastern breeze constantly, we are less than thirty miles inland with nothing but swampland between us and the ocean. Someone told me in an email that a good breeze helps with pepper production during the hot months.


This message was edited Jun 7, 2011 8:54 AM

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rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

June 8, 2011
9:49 PM

Post #8619284

Sunkissed, my overwintered jalapeņo growing in a self-watering planter (since last fall) is producing more peppers than I could ever hope to eat - roughly 3-5 per day. I don't let them go red-ripe - I just pick them at full-sized green stage. They are in full sun from around 9AM until about 4PM every day here in Gainesville, Florida... I did learn a long time ago not to crowd tomatoes in planters. Even though they look big enough for two-three plants, the roots from one plant will fill the box by the time they start fruiting. I have some trouble keeping indeterminate cherry and grape tomatoes watered in the same size/brand containers, but the peppers do fine.

-Rich

sunkissed

sunkissed
Winter Springs, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 9, 2011
1:52 PM

Post #8620570

Thanks Rich for the info...I am glad to know I can over winter these. I was disappointed this morning to see something ate holes in my largest bell pepper, it was only about two inches and had a way to go...what does that? I have tons of birds, squirrels, see no worms on the plant.
That is good to know about the tomatoes...this is my first time with cherry tomatoes. My Dad grows them all the time and he is getting tons of tomatoes on them, he just puts them in a compost pile and they take off like crazy. He gives me big bowls of them when I visit him.

By the way what is a self watering pot?

Sherri
sugarweed
Jacksonville & Okeec, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 9, 2011
9:40 PM

Post #8621387

They may be eaten by Lubber Grasshoppers.
The various heirloom tomatoes I let over ripen and planted are sending up many plants. I am a happy gal.
Sidney
rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

June 9, 2011
11:09 PM

Post #8621485

[quote="sunkissed"]Thanks Rich for the info...I am glad to know I can over winter these. I was disappointed this morning to see something ate holes in my largest bell pepper, it was only about two inches and had a way to go...what does that? I have tons of birds, squirrels, see no worms on the plant.
That is good to know about the tomatoes...this is my first time with cherry tomatoes. My Dad grows them all the time and he is getting tons of tomatoes on them, he just puts them in a compost pile and they take off like crazy. He gives me big bowls of them when I visit him.

By the way what is a self watering pot?

Sherri[/quote]

Sherri,

The containers I have been using were a combination of old hand-me-down Earth Box planters and some much newer Tomato Success Kits from Gardener's Supply. Either will work, though for my money I think the Gardener's Supply planters are a better deal, and the cages, while not perfect, are superior to anything else I've seen. "Self-watering" may be a little misleading, but that's what they are widely called. They have reservoirs in the bottom that hold water or a weak fertilizer solution, which is "wicked up" into the media to keep it moist but not soggy. Success with these requires the right type of media - generally something with a high peat moss content and little or no pine bark. The peat moss is better at wicking water up from the reservoir, where pine bark would not and would just go sour being constantly soggy.

I have successfully overwintered both peppers and tomatoes by bringing the containers into the garage when the temperatures threatened to go below freezing overnight. I've kept the plants inside in near-total darkness for days at a time waiting for the weather to moderate. The peppers didn't seem to mind this - they had already gone "dormant" as the daytime temperatures dropped, and I just had to make sure the media was slightly damp but not wet (couldn't use the "self-watering" feature as it keeps the soil pretty wet). Only one of the tomatoes really did well under this harsh treatment - a Golden Honey Bunch cherry which believe it or not is still producing tomatoes for my salads as well as new blooms. This coming fall I am hoping to expand my overwintering capabilities to include more peppers - specifically some of the "tree" types (mostly Capsicum frutescens varieties like the common tabasco pepper, as well as C. annuums like Tepin).

There are so many things that can eat holes in peppers I'm afraid I couldn't even venture a guess. Squirrels and some birds are certainly candidates. Birds in particular seem to have an inordinate love for peppers. I grew a huge tabasco pepper one year in my garden and was constantly having to try to beat the birds to the peppers. They bear their fruit upright like little red candles, and the mockingbirds in particular would just swoop down and peck at them, sometimes carrying them off and sometimes just damaging them so that I couldn't use them. Fortunately, there were still more than enough for me and them, and I enjoy the antics and songs of the mockingbirds too much to bother trying to run them off.

-Rich

sunkissed

sunkissed
Winter Springs, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 10, 2011
3:46 AM

Post #8621611

Do you have a pic of your containers?
I've never grown peppers before and if this all goes well I'll look into some different containers for future use. I have a huge enclosed Florida room that we haul all our plants into on those cold nights, so they still get some sunlight there.

I have Mocking birds that live in my huge Oak...that is something that they even go for the hot peppers.
rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

June 11, 2011
12:04 PM

Post #8624114

[quote="baskcomet"]I've always heard only cherry tomatos and hot peppers grow in the summer months in sw florida[/quote]

I've been keeping an eye on a Cherokee heirloom tomato plant growing in a large purpose-made tomato planter (designed for growing tomatoes, that is). I've had some fruits start and get pretty big, but they develop blossom end rot just as they are sizing up. It's not surprising - daytime temperatures have been in the low-mid 90's every day and the planter media gets very dry in the afternoons. So even though I made sure to incorporate plenty of calcium in the media before planting, not enough is finding its way into the fruit.

I have recently purchased and started using some calcium nitrate that I dissolve in the water I use on that plant to see if it will help boost the calcium moving to the fruit (hopefully reducing the incidence of BER). Though I prefer organic methods, my curiosity has gotten the better of me. When I was in college (at UGA) I worked with tomatoes in a pine bark medium and we had some of our best results using Ca(NO3)2 as the sole source of nitrogen.

All my cherry and grape tomatoes are doing fine using identical planters, media, organic fertilizer and water availability, so the BER is specific to the variety. It's the only large-fruited type I planted - on a whim, because I've never had any luck with the large-fruited varieties in the summer - so my conclusions will be limited.

-Rich


rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

June 11, 2011
2:27 PM

Post #8624318

[quote="sunkissed"]Do you have a pic of your containers?
I've never grown peppers before and if this all goes well I'll look into some different containers for future use. I have a huge enclosed Florida room that we haul all our plants into on those cold nights, so they still get some sunlight there.

I have Mocking birds that live in my huge Oak...that is something that they even go for the hot peppers. [/quote]

I don't have a good picture - sorry. I do plan to take a few when the plants are at their peak. I try to keep a record of my garden every year, what I planted and when and how it did; and pictures help jog the old memory. The planters I like best are from Gardener's Supply Company (they're on the internet). They sell a "tomato success kit" that comes with a cage that helps support the pepper plants when they start to get a little top-heavy, and it includes media and a season's worth of fertilizer (casters are optional - I get them because they allow me to rotate the planters to prevent "lop-sided" growth, and make it easy to move plants into the garage on cold winter nights). The other containers I use for my "patio" planting are some very old Earth Boxes. There is still a company by that name, but they discontinued the type of planter I am using. The new ones would work, I'm sure, but they are more expensive than the product from GSC.

At one place where I lived some years ago I had the itch to try as many peppers as I could fit in my small outdoor garden. I was still learning the ins and outs of growing in Florida sand (I still am, for that matter; after all the years I spent getting used to Georgia red clay...), and as with everything else I've tried I had some surprising successes and some equally dismal failures. It was a wet summer, I was trying as best I could to avoid using chemicals, and the fungus diseases took a heavy toll. One of my successes that year was a Tabasco plant that just kept growing and growing... There were so many peppers on that plant that I finally had to abandon most of them, but I didn't have to worry about them going to waste because there were a pair of mockingbirds that cleaned up whatever I left behind. They really didn't much care about the other peppers (and there were at least 2 dozen; hot, mild and in-between). I remember thinking at the time it was because that was the only variety I grew that season that held it's fruit up above the leaves, where they were easy targets from the air.

Birds apparently can't "taste" the heat in peppers (at least some birds). There are companies that sell good quality birdseed that add pepper flakes to help discourage the squirrels from stealing the expensive seed.

-Rich
rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

June 11, 2011
2:32 PM

Post #8624323

Wow, sorry for the mostly-redundant post. I really need to check the history to make sure I don't just run on...

sunkissed

sunkissed
Winter Springs, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 13, 2011
7:38 AM

Post #8627342

Rich...I went to that website...got lost looking at everything and drooling...I saw the drip pots and that is a great idea.

Interesting about birds not tasting the heat in peppers...but I do recall someone saying to put hot pepper in the bird seed so the squirrels won't eat it...so guess the squirrels won't eat my jalapeņos then. They sure do like digging up the soil around them, I'm forever having to cover back up their little holes they dig in my planters.
I've got a few jalapeņos that are about two and half inches long, and wondering when I should pick them? As I said before I don't know what exact kind they are, so not sure what the mature size is. I was figuring when they are at least three inches long.

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sugarweed
Jacksonville & Okeec, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 13, 2011
10:13 AM

Post #8627735

I'll add you may have some luck sprinkling some whole cloves around the base of the plants.
You can also search out "Bucket" gardening. A much thriftier way of making grow boxes from 5 gal buckets. I have a slew of baby heirloom tomatoes to transplant today.
;)

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