Corbaci Challenges

MIssion Valley, TX(Zone 9a)

Please bear with me. I grow every kind of pepper I can find,
and eat things normal human beings shudder at. My daughter
is little and has a fondness for only pimientos and corbacis.
She was broken-hearted a year ago when a tomato horn worm
ate her entire huge plant in under an hour.

I have found corbacis very hard to germinate. After a complete
zero from Reimer seeds (who I have had many other failures
with, and who completely ignore my insistance upon their
"guarantee") I found a good seed source in B.C. (Canada) at an organic
farm. I was able to germinate corbacis finally.

Trouble is I am getting huge plants with lots of blossoms and only a
couple peppers. The other blossoms just shrivel and fall. I have tried
all sorts of soils, indoor vs. out, lots of bug killer vs. letting the
germinators at them, etc. There are no other signs of plant distress:
all the leaves are huge and green...they are like trees.

Anyone got any experience with these plants or are they doomed to
be fussy plants?

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

I'm not familiar with that variety and you probably know more about growing peppers than I do. But.. many of my peppers quit or really slow down setting in the heat of July and August. I think the humidity clumps the pollen and possibly the combination of heat and humidity denatures the pollen. This is a notorious problem with tomatoes which are cousins to pepper. I'm harvesting a lot of ripe ones now that were set when it was cooler.

They always pick up again in September which is still hot but tends to have lower humidity. I think epsom salts helps fruit set too.

MIssion Valley, TX(Zone 9a)

I will dump some epsom salts into some that are in A/C and see.

You are right. I grow tomatoes year around and they are best in
transitional seasons...this is a Turkish pepper and might not stand
up to heat. It is also very sweet and bugs LOVE it.

Franklin, NC(Zone 6b)

I grew a few Corbacis in Florida and they produced like crazy. The suppliers in BC are totally orgnanic and produce their own seeds, so you may have a line of seeds that hasn't seen much inorganic nitrogen for a few generations. Big, green leafy plants without fruit are usually the result of lots of nitrogen and water, so maybe cut back on the nitrogen at least. I remember a drip irrigated farm the had the most incredible looking pepper plants, but no fruit until he turned off the fertilizer injector. Sometimes, less is better.

MIssion Valley, TX(Zone 9a)

Thank-you for everyone's input. These plants finally started to
produce. I had them in Miracle Grow moisture control potting
soil and the woody components of the soil were producing
mushroom growth. I Daconyled and rinsed the soil,
re-potted in larger pots, and used
Osmocote. They stopped dropping flowers. They are
still massivley leggy...after one watering a two-foot healthy
limb with about 50 blossoms simply snapped off by itself.

Here's a weird fact: the first one we ate was sooo hot it
took a quart of milk to put it out. Subsequent ones are
both totally sweet and blazing hot from the same plant.
The really large ones seem to be the hottest. The seeds
must have hybridized with something other than sweets...
other than that they appear like regular Corbacis.

North Hills, CA

When wood breaks down it locks up the nitrogen in soil.
I use a lot of bark and partialy composted forest products in my soil mixes and have to use a lot of Fish emultion or my plants don't grow well.
Try a shot of a heavy nitrogen fert. and see whats up...I wouldn't use a chemical builds up too quick and it's hard to overdue fish emultion.
Also I use a calcium liquid concentrate on my plants (soil drench and folier spray)during budding.It really makes the plants put out and set buds.
All my plants are in pots.

MIssion Valley, TX(Zone 9a)

That's really very interesting to me.
My biggest container issue is good drainage.
I live near the Gulf where I gather whole boxes of
crushed shells I use to line the bottoms of the pots.
They smell like fish-emulsion and obviously have calcium.
The corbaci that's doing the best has this in the pot. After
that one I ran out. My biggest issue with that approach used
to be that plants would get too big too quickly and outgrow the pot
so I have been experimenting alot.

North Hills, CA

With the soil mix I use it's almost like growing hydroponicly.
There is little nutrient value in the soil mix itself.
I water with 1/8-1/10th mix of seaweed extract and fish emultion whenever I water.
I've been playing with soil mixes the last couple years and this year I seem to have the best mix yet - for hot peppers any way.

1 part composted forest product-called Planter Mix-

1 part peat
1/2 part perlite
3-5 parts FINE orchid bark

bonemeal,Bat Guanno,Seaweed meal,osmocote 14-14-14 ,soil sulfur,dolomite lime

fertilise every 4rth day with fish emultion and seaweed extract at 1/4-1/8 strength.

You must use nitrogen often.As the wood products break down they suck up nitrogen.
water when needed-make sure to flood the pots.

I had a problem before with drainage.Commercial mixes broke down and I ended up with sludge in the bottom half of my pots that nothing could grow in.Lots of root problems.
So far this mix lasts 3+ seasons and doesn't get waterlogged.
In small pots though it dries out fast and needs watering often.

You might try a few pots of this mix and see if you like it.
I've found that putting sand,rocks etc. in the bottom of pots didn't work well to increase drainage.The finer stuff just worked it's way down to the bottom of the pots and made a sponge of sludge that seems to actually make things worse.
Also using ingrediants that are close in size (perlite the same size as the bark) made for more airspace for the roots and draines better.Things wouldn't pack down as much or as fast.
I grow year round and most of my plants are over a season in is 7 +yrs. old and a lot are 3+ yrs. old.
Putting a wick in the bottom of a pot and setting the pot off the ground helps with drainage too.
I use strings from a mop and stuff them in the bottom hole of the pot with a screwdriver.
Strings rot but they last a season or more depending on water in the pots.make sure the wick touches the ground.It acts like a syphon to drain the excess water out of the pot.
I'm still playing with soil mixes....

This message was edited Jul 28, 2009 2:07 PM

MIssion Valley, TX(Zone 9a)

That's some pretty scientific experimenting. I'll try the mix.
Thanks for the detail. I have some 4 year old peppers in the
ground, but everything my pots has croaked after a couple years
due to waterlogging. The shells I use are pulverized by the
ocean and are nearly like sand, and so far when I have re-potted
nothing has penetrated them. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

North Hills, CA

Along the way I have found mixes that were good for a season and then had to be replaced or mixed with peat and or perlite the next year because the stuff that broke down fiiled the bottom of my pots with useless sludge.
The other mixes also ended up only filling the pot half way by mid season as they broke down,leaving only a few inches on top of the pot for roots.
I do 300+ varieties 2 times a year so I got tired of repotting constantly year round.
it got too expensive too.
Here in Ca. I can grow year round.The only cold weather we have is usually late Feb.-mid March.
I just repotted my Habanero Arbol for the first time last spring.It is 5-6 yrs. old.
Manzanos really like the soil mix.The new stuff is as big as some of my year old plants and they are putting out the pods in their first year too.

Here are some links where I got ideas about playing with container soil mixes etc.

There are many links out there about partialy composted forestry products and bark as an ingrediant in potting soil.
Google is your friend.

MIssion Valley, TX(Zone 9a)

Great links!

I only come here a few times a month so I apologize for the tardiness.
If I may ask: do you flush and "root-prune"?

When I have re-potted I buy a bigger, more expensive pot, and just
spread the rootball a little.

I also grow year around with overhead coverage (eaves mostly, or trees).
It gets too hot for even peppers, so the shade helps in the summer.

So far it has been hit-or-miss for my pots...the ones that look like
they are dying after years get to go into the ground, usually to a funeral,
but I have a lot of land to experiment with...just some things never make
it in the soil here...they burn up, get eaten, or die of shock.

North Hills, CA

I don't do much of anything to my plants when I repot except knock off some of the old soil until I get to where the roots start to get thicker-root ball of soil and roots.

If I'm potting up I try to just pull the plant out and put it in the new pot with as little disturbance to soil or roots as possible.

I try and repot in the late winter or early spring if I can or sometimes early fall.
Depends on when that plant puts out buds.

Most will put out pods 2 times a year to 3 times except for C. Chinense for me outside.

Any plants I've trimmed down to basically nothing seem to take too long to come back.

I see people have good results but it doesn't do it for me.
My plants grow year round and the guys who trim drasticaly are overwintering stuff inside and don't want a big plant till spring.
I only repot because I have too-needs new soil,rootbound etc.
I only trim off dead stuff.
If a plant starts needing too much attention I grow a new one and give the old one away to someone who wants to mess with it.
I try and keep 5 seeds as backup from almost everything I grow or have grown.

MIssion Valley, TX(Zone 9a)

Now that I have all this good feedback, I have managed
to get my Corbacis growing prolifically. However, I have
encountered a new thing I can hardly guess at (please
give me ideas). I have nearly microscopic pure white
flying liitle bugs all over the leaves that seem to lay eggs
and make the leaves drop.

I've sprayed concentrated Liquid Seven on the leaves
front and back, and dusted the soil with both Seven-5
and Diatomaceous Earth. Nothing stops them. They
dance on the dust. They breed in the soil. What are
these rascals...when I don't shake the leaves they are
almost invisible?

North Hills, CA

Sounds like White Flies.
Green Lacewings and Ladybugs take care of them for me.
A lot of people use insect soap mixes on them-drown them.

MIssion Valley, TX(Zone 9a)

Those have never worked for me, but come
to think about it I never used them indoors
(where these are, and where ladybugs would
stink up the place). I'll mix some up. It won't
wash off inside.

MIssion Valley, TX(Zone 9a)

My first batch of homemade soap-spray (using Dawn)
made matters much worse: leaves dropped and infestation
flourished. So I bought some "Safer" at the ag store and that
did the trick. Unfortunately, it stinks...didn't notice it had
seaweed extract in it too. But no more whiteflies. I don't
know where they're coming from, but they are beginning to
get on my indoor herb garden now...and that's something
i have never sprayed because I pick/eat every day.

But problem gone...thanks!

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

I read somewhere that some folks using soap for aphids say it does it's work quickly and they then rinse off the plants. I have been spared white fly experience (knock wood) but will surely have to do the aphid battles next spring. I used dish soap this year and had partial success. It didn't work 100% and did do some leaf damage.

MIssion Valley, TX(Zone 9a)

Just as a follow-up. I have had to repeatedly spray these
plants. Sometimes three days apart. I am still using the
Safer Soap with the seaweed extract. The whiteflies
die hard and are hard to see until the leaves start to
look translucent. I am getting some production, but the
cost of the spray and everything else has me questioning
the viability of the whole venture.

It's kind of like jalapenos. Yes, I have a tree outside that
is four years old that produces them. But the water, the
spray, the effort, etc., makes that big vat at Walmart
(59 cents/lb) look pretty good.

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