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Vegetable Gardening: What's happening to my bell peppers??

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JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

September 27, 2012
7:03 PM

Post #9288378

I'm cross-posting (this is on the Pepper forum) so my apologies in advance...

I'm at my wits end here. Can anyone identify this disease?? It is stunting all of my bell pepper plants and they never produce much of anything as a result. The leaves wrinkle and look like spinach leaves and the fruit never gets larger than 3" or so. I had three plants that were very healthy and maybe 10" tall when I bought them from the local farmer's market about three weeks ago. Everything was going well for about a week or two then the wheels feel off and they got this bad condition.

What do you think? Is this mosaic virus? Should I be spraying my next plants right away in case this happens again?? Thanks everyone. This is terrible.

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Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

September 28, 2012
7:41 AM

Post #9288770

John,

It certainly is something. I had that same thing going on the last season I grew peppers in eBuckets. Kept getting this stink from the reservoir, and finally broke a bucket down to investigate.

The colander had collapsed and the soil bed was sitting in the water all the time. Totally anaerobic. But, the damage had been done to the plants, and none of them recovered enough to produce viable fruits. But, I also suspect I had a touch of some virus going on in conjunction with the collapsed system, because my leaves were crinkling and getting splotches, just like your picture.

Never did figure out what my problem was actually called.

I planted 17 BPs in RB #1 this past season, and they've cranked out beautifully (although small, on the first wave). The second (and final) batch are a bit larger, but still not the handful size I'm trying to get to.

In retrospect, I believe the BPs do well in the ebuckets because they are HEAVY feeders and drinkers, and those reservoirs saved me many times over, with having water available, and with being able to concentrate the feeding to just those plants. Iin the future, I may go back to BPs in eBuckets with reservoirs, and make better use of the space in my RBs.

Linda

Linda

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NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

September 28, 2012
8:29 AM

Post #9288851

Could be:
Excess nitrogen
Herbicides in the soil
aphid damage (easiest thing to check!)
calcium deficiency

I doesn't look like pepper mosaic virus, IMO. I would suspect excess nitrogen.
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

September 28, 2012
9:44 AM

Post #9288950

Thanks Linda & Nicole!

You know what, Linda? I think I'll just pull the plants this weekend and break down the eBuckets as well to see what's going on. Maybe my set-up is to blame?

I'll discard the soil as well in case something is in the soil as Nicole mentioned.

Ok...hold the presses. I just googled "aphid damage to peppers" and the resulting pictures were pretty much identical to what my plants are looking like. The thing is, I never see any aphids but I probably gaze right over them. Anyway, that has to be it! Time to buy insecticidal soap and spray spray spray (on future plants.)

Thanks everyone!!!

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

September 28, 2012
10:12 AM

Post #9288987

If you have aphids, you probably have a trail of ants going up and down your pepper plant's stem. They are often easier to see than the aphids.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

September 28, 2012
10:39 AM

Post #9289015

1 cap of Murphys' Oil soap to a gallon of water, but not when it's sunny. Cloudy day or evening...blast the undersides of the leaves.
rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

September 29, 2012
7:15 AM

Post #9289764

NicoleC wrote:Could be:
Excess nitrogen
Herbicides in the soil
aphid damage (easiest thing to check!)
calcium deficiency

I doesn't look like pepper mosaic virus, IMO. I would suspect excess nitrogen.

I second Nicole's analysis, with the exception that it could be a virus. There are quite a few that attack peppers (e.g.: Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, Potato virus Y, Tobacco etch virus, Pepper mottle virus, Tomato spotted wilt virus, and Alfalfa mosaic virus), though most cause loss of chlorophyll rather than darkening of the leaves.

I've seen this sort of damage many times on other species that got over-fertilized. Sometimes in field plantings where fertilizer was applied expecting rain or irrigation that didn't come or that was not sufficient to distribute the nitrogen into the soil.

-Rich
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

September 29, 2012
7:33 AM

Post #9289779

Thanks Rich.

Well, I was able to examine the plants yesterday and I did manage to spot a few aphids on the plants. But when I looked closely at the soil level I saw lots of them...hopping around having a great time. Reminded me of lice. It looked like quite the infestation.

Anyway, I pulled the plants. What to do with the soil? How do I cleanse it of this evil pestilence? Oh, just spray with the soap?

Thanks again everyone, you've been a tremendous help.
rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

September 30, 2012
3:48 PM

Post #9291290

For aphids, soap dilutions work great as direct spray applications. Especially those with strong essential oils like peppermint, which seem to help them penetrate better and may have insecticidal qualities of their own. Dr. Bronners' Peppermint Soap is my favorite, and works really well in the shower too (especially on hot days).

-Rich
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

October 1, 2012
8:25 AM

Post #9292056

You had me scratching my head with your last sentence Rich as I am unfamiliar with Dr. Bonner's Soap. So, I looked it up and went to the Amazon site to read the product description and customer reviews. Wow, it looks like a great multi-use product! And it's all natural too. I may have to check this out- thanks. I just need to find out where it is sold locally, or if I'll need to order online.
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

October 1, 2012
11:06 AM

Post #9292324

It looks like pepper mild mottle virus. Is your fruit distorted also?

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

October 1, 2012
2:34 PM

Post #9292579

John,
Order the two-pak specials from Amazon. Most bang for the buck. I ordered the lavender...
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 1, 2012
2:43 PM

Post #9292599

Or you might be able to find it at local health food stores. I lean toward peppermint and have used it for years as a hand soap.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

October 1, 2012
2:54 PM

Post #9292617

Pod,
Good thinking! I have company coming this weekend. Now I know what to do with all that Lavender Dr. Bronners!
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 1, 2012
4:04 PM

Post #9292734

Be sure to dilute it ~ half soap and half water in a container.
If you don't dilute it, you will get soap boogers. lol
I use a foaming soap container. It works well and lasts longer too.
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

October 2, 2012
8:38 AM

Post #9293509

Calalily- I only saw one or two fruit appear before I pulled the plants. They looked bad and I did not think they would bounce back.

Both fruit were smooth but underdeveloped and not growing much, and there was some discoloration at the ends.

Pod- great idea, I'll check out the local health food shops. I wonder if HEB has it since they have such a huge selection in there mega-stores.
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

October 6, 2012
7:00 AM

Post #9297342

HEB Plus has it down here. Their selection is limited, used to have more variety but the last couple of years they've quit carrying some scents.

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