My garden is doing rather well at this point, except for my pepper plants. They have grown some since they were planted, but are small and the leaves look pretty bad. Everything else is progressing more or less like I would expect. The spring was a bit cooler than usual, so things are behind some, but that is not that unusual here. I have watered these with both 5-1-1 and 2-3-1 fish emulsion, like I have with the rest of the garden. The soil is good and gets compost every year, as well as wood ashes, bone meal, and blood meal.
It may just not have been warm enough yet, but is there anything else I should be doing at this point?
I live in Boston, so there's no such thing as a fall crop around here other than apples and pumpkins. Even when planted in late April or early May, we often don't get peppers until late August, which is when we get most of our tomatoes as well. Generally I think it's not hot and dry enough for peppers here. They used to grow really well and we always got allot of them with very little effort. In the last several years, it has been harder to get a decent crop and I'm not sure why.
Do you think that they will recover on their own now that it is hotter, or do I need to do something? I have heard the epsom salts are good for peppers. I could also plant some more now that the weather is better. What do you think?
Mine recovered on their own, but why take a chance if you have time to plant more. Backup plants is always the best idea, my first crop of tomatoes died due to a late freeze, but I had more plants ready to go. I just picked another basket of tomatoes from those plants.
Wait, starting peppers as a fall crop?? Peppers are heat loving and, although they don't fruit during the worst of the heat (as in 95-105F), the plants mature nicely. Peppers are HIGHLY frost intolerant, so even in central Texas, where we can get frost in December, I don't want to have just planted them in the "fall", which I define as August-October. I plant them in March.
In Boston, where I used to live, you have exactly one season for peppers, and it starts in maybe April or May. Actually, down here, since peppers are formally perennials, with some light frost protection, I grow them year round, for many years at a time.
But yes, peppers will grow very slowly in cool weather. Temps need to be at least in the 80s to see a lot of activity. I guess I suggest patience. I've never seen peppers really "stunted" by cold. They just don't grow until it's really warm. If you had even a light freeze, however, and the plants were unprotected, it's probably all over for them.
I think peppers only have one season, at least here. I plant out all summer, I'm still planting some in containers. They produce unless it gets super hot, but then they grow like crazy. In late August and Sept they are coming on like crazy, sometimes I just stick them in the freezer bc I don't know what to do with them all. Lol
When "fall crop" was mentioned, I thought you meant plant in the fall. Most of what we plant here is planted in late May and harvested in August. The exceptions are peas, lettuce, and swiss chard. The cucumbers also will start coming in before August, but things can vary allot from year to year. The only thing I plant earlier than May is grass.
I am growing green bell peppers, but I think there are a couple of different ones in there. I didn't plant all of them. I am into a warm stretch here, so hopefully they will start to take off.
Do you think I should add some epsom salts?
I generally water the peppers every other day, is that enough?
I will see if I can still get more pepper plants and add some.
I didnt put the title of the thread together with your first post. Lol Peppers are perennials, so if they are kept warm they wont die, at the end of the season. I have really good luck growing mine in containers. I dont think adding Epsom salt could hurt, just dont do it during the heat of the day or in direct sun. As for watering I have found that peppers dont do as well when they are left to dry out. So that would depend on the conditions in you area. Some of my container plants I leave setting in a tray with water (or a kid's pool). They have water all the time.
You seem to be doing everything right but they do like warm weather and warm soil. Not much you can do about that except wait.
I understand whats going on here, and don't mean to intrude with my own issues, but my pepper's leaves are a greenish yellow, and the flowers fall off soon after forming. Im guessing this is because we are in the 90's and 100's here in South CA. Will shade, a bit of extra water, and mulch help green the leaves up and keep the buds on the plant?
Well the growing season is just about over and we are expecting a hard frost over the next couple of nights. I have deiced to bring in two of my pepper plants and see if I can get them to winter over. I have them in pots sitting in a window. They will get some light there, but it may not be enough. We will see.
I have a question about how to care for these over the winter. How much water will they need? Do they need to be fed anything other than water, etc?
To overwinter peppers inside I would give them the brightest window, or a really good grow-light.
Water when the soil is starting to dry out, not bone dry, but pretty dry.
Very modest amounts of fertilizer.
As for whether you should use Epsom salt:
If you soil is low in magnesium, then Epsom salt is a good source. Test your soil. When you prepare it next spring add long lasting sources of whatever it lacks, and some ferts that release more quickly. In the spring the soil is still cool from the winter, and fertilizers will not be very active.
You can also make arches out of PVC or other materials and drape clear plastic over them to create mini-greenhouses over each row. This will warm things and give you a head start on the summer crops that prefer warmer weather (especially peppers!).
Remove the plastic (but not the arches) when the weather is more consistently warm, especially in the night.
Then, in the hottest part of the summer you could add some shade cloth on those few 100* days.
The arches can also be used for row covers that protect baby plants from certain bugs, and birds.
Put the plastic back in the fall and extend the harvest by as much as a month.
The window I have the plants in is really the only option. I don't have any south facing windows that aren't shaded outside. The window is west facing, so it gets decent sun in the afternoon.
What would you recommend for a grow light? I see that there are a number of grow light bulbs that don't cost too much. Would something like that in a goose neck lamp work well enough to make a difference?
I have little experience with grow-lights, but I believe they emit a specific spectrum of light that plants like the most. I'm sure a desk lamp or goose-neck like you suggested would work for a period at least. I would appreciate it if someone with more expirience can answer for both of us, lol!