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Beginner Vegetables: poor job with peppers

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vicjova
Amherst, VA
(Zone 7a)

July 26, 2013
8:46 AM

Post #9612352

I'm doing a poor job with my sweet peppers. I have used compost and the bag of cheap stuff from Walmart (humus with 10% manure). I have also applied Scotts fertilizer and Miracle Grow. There has been an abundance of rain this year. I am guessing the soil preparation is what is lacking and the peppers need manure. Any advice would be appreciated.
stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 26, 2013
10:52 AM

Post #9612510

I'm always a fan of applying fish emulsion.
SwallowFeather
Tiskilwa, IL

July 26, 2013
6:10 PM

Post #9612899

If they really do need more fertility/nitrogen, what I use is chicken manure, it all depends on what you can get. Fish emulsion is also real good for a quick shot of fertility. Any fertilizer that's liquid, including any kind of manure tea or compost tea (I'm currently just mixing aged chicken manure into buckets of water & using that) is good for giving them a boost when they're in the middle of their growth.

What do they look like, though? Leaves too yellow & not green enough? Growing too slow? That would help us know what exactly is wrong.

I will add that it's possible to overfertilize peppers. I did that last year. You get an abundance of lush leaves but they set fewer fruit.
vicjova
Amherst, VA
(Zone 7a)

July 27, 2013
9:38 AM

Post #9613354

The plants were purchased and have been in the garden for 2 months. The leaves are not as lush as I have seen other years, they are a bit curled over also. Not much fruit, they start then drop off. The tops of some of the peppers I do have are rough looking and have a gray color to them.
SwallowFeather
Tiskilwa, IL

July 27, 2013
2:57 PM

Post #9613635

Oh dear. Fruit dropping off is a serious problem... but I'm not certain what causes it. My gut tells me it may be something more than inadequate fertility, but I'm not greatly experienced with peppers. It may be a specific mineral deficiency of some kind.

I'll have to consult my gardening guru neighbor on this and check back in. (Maybe someone else here will be able to tell you between now and then... I'll try not to let it take too long.)

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 28, 2013
5:09 AM

Post #9614089

vicjova -

If your soil is staying too wet, your peppers' roots may be rotting.

I'm wondering if you have applied too much fertilizer. If so, the roots may have been burned, and died.

I'm not a fan of purchasing vegetable plants unless they have come immediately from the plant nursery. I see droopy plants in big-box stores, which means the roots have dried out. When these plants are placed in the garden, they have to regrow their roots, while trying to put on top growth. The end result is that they do not do well.

How did the plants' roots look before you put them in the garden? Were they nice and white? Were the roots very crowded? Was the soil dry?

All these things can lead to success or failure.
vicjova
Amherst, VA
(Zone 7a)

July 28, 2013
3:42 PM

Post #9614590

I read the instructions, I thought I was being careful. Maybe not careful enough. I put the fertilizer down July 1st. If they are still here in September I'll skip the second application and try again next year. I don't remember what the roots looked like. Since there has been much rain this year, a question about Miracle Grow. Since it is mixed with water, if the rain continues do I feed it to my plants according to a regular schedule or do I hold it back until there is a break in the rain?

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 28, 2013
4:44 PM

Post #9614629

vicjova - thanks for the update, it's good to have more information

Did you use liquid or granular fertilizers? If you have added NO fertilizers or manure since July 1st, then I think it's safe to fertilize your peppers again. Follow the label directions. Don't wait for a break in the rain.

Because of all the rains we have been having, liquid fertilizers will wash out of the ground more quickly than granulated ones.

Are you using a fertilizer that says it's for vegetables?
ladysoth
Alexandria, VA

July 29, 2013
7:19 AM

Post #9615143

My peppers aren't doing well this year either. They are the exact same varieties I grew last year and last year they were fantastic. Not sure what the problem is but they just never took off after being planted outside. Seems like each year there is one crop that doesn't do well and I guess this years it's the peppers turn.
vicjova
Amherst, VA
(Zone 7a)

July 29, 2013
12:24 PM

Post #9615459

Scotts all purpose flower and vegetable, granular. It even says tomato and peppers on the package. I also use miracle-grow every two weeks.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 29, 2013
5:07 PM

Post #9615734

vicjova - it's okay to alternate these fertilizers, but I would not use both at the same time. Too much fertilizer will not give you more fruit.
ClearlakeTx
Houston, TX

July 29, 2013
5:28 PM

Post #9615752

What I have found vey helpful to most of my pepper problems was the folowing site:
http://userwebs.batnet.com/rwc-seed/Pepper.growing.tips.html

Prior to reading it, I had not relized how essential ready available calcium is (and why my pepper seeds had such poor germination in my peat moos tablets). So now when my pepper leafs look anything but shiny dark green, they get a generous helping of bone meal, and shortly after they pay meback with extra blossoms.

Hope that helps!
Happy gardening!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 30, 2013
4:57 AM

Post #9616157

I gave up peat moss some time ago. Mainly because once it dries out, it's hard to get it to re-wet.

I much prefer coconut coir - the finer kind, not the coarse.

Here's my homemade potting mix recipe. Some of these items can be purchased locally in smaller amounts. This blend has been formulated over several years and has proven to be a successful method for starting seeds indoors in small pots.

Potting soil recipe:

1 brick classic coir soaked in 4qts hot water makes a little over one gallon
http://www.wormsway.com/en/SCCB300

1 gallon worm castings, keep bag closed after each use to prevent drying
http://www.wormsway.com/en/EC430

2 gallons chunky perlite
http://www.wormsway.com/en/SCP940D

1 gallon coarse vermiculite
http://www.wormsway.com/en/VER940D

2 tablespoons bone meal
http://www.wormsway.com/en/HFSB408

teaspoon trace elements
http://www.violetshowcase.com/sup12web.pdf

4 tablespoons dolomite lime
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Espoma-5-lb-Garden-Lime-100047103/100581208#.Ufel7_nD-Wg

cup soil moist
http://www.wormsway.com/en/SM903

cup Numus
http://www.wormsway.com/en/NC400

1 cup crab shell
http://www.wormsway.com/en/NHC413

1 tablespoon triple phosphate
http://www.wormsway.com/en/TPH410

vicjova
Amherst, VA
(Zone 7a)

August 1, 2013
7:50 AM

Post #9618267

Thanks for the advice. I will start making plans for next year's peppers.

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