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Vegetable Gardening: Pepper Problems

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LiseP
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 26, 2013
11:04 AM

Post #9498019

I haven't done the research yet, which I will do, but am always happy to have my DG friends weigh in with their suggestions:

My peppers are an assortment of Thai and Italian sweet peppers. I may have one or two bells in there, but mostly I went for banana-shape this time, but still all sweet (no hot ones).

Anyway, several are hanging in there, but not exactly taking off. The cooler temps we've had recently probably aren't helping.

On some, though, there are problems. One plant has been dropping leaves and is looking a bit yellow. It's in a different bed than the others, so soil/nutrients may be an issue. It should have good drainage, and the tomatoes nearby all look fine.

Two that I have in containers have a different problem. There is some black stuff going on down the centers of the leaves. It looks kind of like dirt or coffee grounds got spilled on them, but that is not the case. It's not "on" the leaf, it is more like discoloration. I was sort of hoping it was just normal coloring for that variety of pepper, but I doubt if I'm that lucky, lol.

I'll try to provide a little more info (variety and maybe a pic) a bit later, but meanwhile... any ideas?
Thanks!
LiseP
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 26, 2013
4:17 PM

Post #9498303

I'm going to include 2 pics that have this mysterious discoloration. I've looked at images on the web and nothing looks quite right, but it may be "pepper spot" disease -- although it really doesn't match other pics I've seen of that disease.

As for variety, The pic on the left is Big Bertha (bell type) and the other is a Marconi (red elongated). I have each type in another part of the garden and with no spots.

Okay, here are the photos. Anyone seen this?

Thumbnail by LiseP   Thumbnail by LiseP         
Click an image for an enlarged view.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 27, 2013
7:22 AM

Post #9498852

LiseP - I'm not going to be of much help.

I stopped trying to grow peppers in pots because they never were successful.

Last year I grew "Ace" which I purchased from Johnny's. They produced an amazing number of peppers in a raised bed.

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-6748-ace-f1.aspx
LiseP
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 27, 2013
7:50 AM

Post #9498874

Well that is interesting. I've got some planted both ways, so we'll see what happens. Thanks for the tip on the "ace" peppers. I have yet to grow an amazing pepper. (Maybe an amazingly small one!). lol

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

April 27, 2013
10:01 AM

Post #9499002

My experience peppers in containers was poor, too. "Jackpot" (a bell) has proven a good variety for me in the ground. The plants are very tall, vigorous, were quite prolific and has some serious roots on them. And while I am not terribly fond of banana peppers, the plain old yellow banana is always prolific for me.

The yellowing leaves kinda look like the roots can't breath; maybe too much water. Or it could jsut be stress from the cool weather.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
5:07 PM

Post #9503256

To me, the dark gray or brown regions look like necrosis along the main leaf vein.

But I don't know what could cause that in peppers.

Very very tentatively, I might guess that IF it is some nutrient deficiency or nutrient uptake probelm, it would be a "mobile" nutrient since the older leaves seem to be dieing and the newer leaves doing better. In that guess, the plant is sucking whatever it lacks out of the older tissues and exporting it to the newer leaves. Pure guessing!

When you suspect LACK of a nutrient, you can foliar-spray a few plants and see if that cures them. Then you still have to guess whether it is a LACK, or an insolubility problem like pH, low O2, stunted roots, or some incompatible-solubility thing with something in excess and something else blocked.

Maybe give one pot some lime. Flush another pot heavily with just water. Withold fertilizer from one other pot. Withold water from yuet another (if you have that many pots). See which one(s) improve.

Can you tell if the roots are healthy? Surface roots only, circling, circling and c oming out the bottom, or look OK?

If you figure it out, please let us know!
LiseP
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 1, 2013
7:21 AM

Post #9503954

Thanks for your further comments on the pepper plants. I was sort of musing on pH, and this morning I did some research and found that peppers like a range from 5-5-6.8. That's a little low for how my soil generally runs. Our soil is pretty basic, due to a lot of limestone around here. I'm lucky if I can get it down to 7. (I'm not growing any blueberries around here). The article I read said that while peppers might be able to tolerate soil on the basic side, they can suffer from a deficiency in iron, manganese or phosphorus as a result, and they recommend adding some fertilizer that has some ammonium sulfate or other acidifier. So I guess I will start there, and add some soil acidifier to one of the pots.

As far as I can see (and honestly, I can't!) I don't think the plant is pot-bound, but I do know that sometimes I get surprised at how large a root system there is underneath a modest-looking plant. I may re-pot one in a larger pot. I do wonder, when it comes to pots, if a couple of cold days could have knocked the pot plants sideways. You have to figure that the roots would get colder than a plant in the ground, and if the plant really doesn't like cold, maybe that just added a lot of stress. And-- wouldn't you know -- we are due for a couple pretty cool/cold nights coming up (down to the 40s or maybe to 40). I'd better stick a stake in those pots so that I can throw a blanket over them, or just bring them in the house for a couple days.

NicoleC -- thanks for the suggestion of "Jack" peppers. My husband shakes his head every year at my tiny (pingpong ball, usually) peppers but one of these days, I'm going to figure this out. We use peppers a lot in spaghetti, pizza and stir-fry, and I am determined to figure out how to grow enough to keep us in stock for at least a few weeks of the year. So next year, maybe it will be "Ace" and "Jack." But hey -- the season's just starting, so maybe this will be the year with the pepper varieties I already have. :-)

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

May 1, 2013
8:39 AM

Post #9504049

I hope you find winners this year, but the Jackpot peppers I got were HUGE. Think as wide as a grocery store bell but 6-7" long instead. (Some bigger.)

We'll see how they and the old standby, California Wonder, do this year. Maybe next year I'll add "Ace" to the mix. Growing good peppers is hard to do.

Gymgirl

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

May 1, 2013
9:50 AM

Post #9504150

I'm still trying to crack that nut!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 1, 2013
12:35 PM

Post #9504316

>> peppers might be able to tolerate soil on the basic side, they can suffer from a deficiency in iron, manganese or phosphorus as a result, and they recommend adding some fertilizer that has some ammonium sulfate or other acidifier

Ah hah! That sounds right.

In outdoor soil with a variety of soil microbes, I'v read that sprinkling sulfer (plain old sulfer, just the element, not a sulphate salt) can lower pH over time (acidify soil). I never understood that chemically, but it turns out there are sulfer-eating microbes that, in effect, combine it with oxygen and release suphuric acid one molecule at a time.

Iron solubility is helped a lot by chelating agents like EDTA. When people worry about 'is it toxic?', I bring up the fact that EDTA IS present in many toothpastes.

And you can always foliar-spray to cure or test for deficiencies.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 1, 2013
8:45 PM

Post #9504892

I grow pepper plants in containers and in the ground and water with well water that is very alkaline. My plants have never looked like those in your pictures. I really doubt if PH is the issue. I don't usually grow bells but I do grow peppers.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 2, 2013
7:41 AM

Post #9505230

Nicole, I would be interested to know how your "California Wonder" peppers do. I tried them here, but the season was too short for them to make red peppers.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

May 2, 2013
10:24 AM

Post #9505402

So far the seedlings are outperforming the others with more leaves and less legginess, with the Jackpot coming in second and the Orange Bell a distanct third. The banana peppers are small, too, but they are smaller plants anyway.

I probably won't go for many, if any, red peppers. So few, of any bell variety, seem to make it to red, with lots of the failures getting rotten spots. No wonder the red ones are so expensive. But I'll try for a few just to see what they do.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 3, 2013
7:24 AM

Post #9506556

Nicole - I prefer red peppers because of their higher vitamin C content. The "Ace" peppers that I grew turned red quickly.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

May 3, 2013
7:49 AM

Post #9506598

Sounds like another reason to add Ace to my list to try next year!
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 3, 2013
3:28 PM

Post #9507087

Calwonder is a bell that is usually used when it's still green. If you want a red bell you might try Jupiter. I realize most peppers turn red when ripe but some are bred to be a certain color. I very rarely grow bells but I'm going 3 this year, orange, yellow and red. Non bells are purple, red and golden Marconi. They all stay green but then turn to the color they will be when ripe.

I doubt if the red bells at the store are calwonders. They are probably a pepper that is bred to be red earlier. Just like the orange and yellow ones.

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 4, 2013
2:07 PM

Post #9508067

Reds rotting early is humidity at the wrong time.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

May 4, 2013
4:30 PM

Post #9508228

kittriana wrote:Reds rotting early is humidity at the wrong time.


Ha ha... there's no such thing as "not humid" in the summer in Alabama!

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 4, 2013
6:10 PM

Post #9508331

O I know. Houston can be worse. Peppers do like heat and humidity too. But just a tiny thing happen and they will rot easy.

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