Pepper Question and observation

slowpoke_gardenerJuly 2, 2012

All my peppers have been doing rather well, but I have some, what looks like might be blossom end rot. I have 3 plants and all look good but I dont understand the dammage in this dry weather. Nearly all the damage is on the Perreoncini Italian peppers. I have never grown these and dont know what I should be doing, of even how to use them.

Advice would sure be helpful. Thank you, Larry.

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Larry, Pepperoncini Italian peppers are frequently cut into small rings and pickeled and used on submarine sandwiches. I have grown them many times, but never get around to pickling them, and I have never seen a pepper get blossom end rot. I have picked quite a few bell peppers this year that have sunscald spots, so I end up picking them immature and using them for cooking while the remainder of the pepper is still good. I'll be interested if others have seen BER on peppers.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Larry, I found this so I guess peppers do get BER, but I've never had it happen.

Here is a link that might be useful: BER

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Carol, I think the weather and the fact that I did not install the irrigation tube as soon as I should have may be a large factor with my peppers.

Thanks for the link.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

It is blossom end rot and I do see it on at least a handful of peppers just about every year. I believe it is more common in clay soils because of the way that they hang on to excessive moisture when a whole lot of rain falls at once, and then they dry out and get so hard during drought that the ground cracks and light rainfall, which might be absorbed in sandy loam or sandy soil, tends to run right off the surface of dry, cracked clay. These soil moisture problems often cause BER by interfering either with calcium uptake from the soil or, more commonly, by interfering with the way calcium is distributed within the plant.

Larry, There's a few other causes but I bet it is the drought you've had there. Other causes of BER, which used to be thought to occur because of calcium deficiency in soil, could be a low soil pH, excess nitrogen, excess potassium (it interferes with calcium uptake), or pretty much anything else, like hot winds, that stress the plants.

In very rare cases it could result from calcium deficiency in the soil, but that's not at all common and you'd only know that was your issue if you'd had a soil test that showed your soil is low in calcium. I believe excess magnesium also can interfere in calcium uptake and distribution

When most of us see BER, whether on peppers or tomatoes or eggplant or anything else, it is an issue with the way that calcium is being distributed throughout the plant, not because the calcium isn't available in the soil. As the plants mature, often the older and more mature vascular system of the plant is better able to cope with the stressors that lead to BER, and we don't see it any more that season. The exception to that is if we're in severe drought and find it very hard, if not impossible, to maintain consistent soil moisture levels. Most of us understand well the role that low soil moisture plays in BER, but extremely heavy rainfall can cause it too.

This year, I had BER pop up in early June, after we'd had 7" of rainfall between about May 29th or 30th and June 11th. All that rainfall waterlogged the soil temporarily, and also waterlogged the plants' vascular systems as well, and probably interfered with calcium uptake. I had it on many, many dozens of paste tomatoes, about 2 or 3 dozen slicers, a handful of cherry tomatoes (something I almost never see), and about a dozen jalapeno peppers. On about half the tomatoes, it was very superficial and I just cut off the bad part and used the rest of the tomato. On the others, it ruined the fruit. I also had some internal BER, where the fruit looks fine on the outside but then you find BER inside when you cut into it. I don't think I've seen the internal BER more than maybe once every 4 or 5 years, usually after heavy rainfall like we had in April 2009 or in 2004 or 2007.

In most years, mulching the soil helps to maintain soil moisture, but y'all are so dry there that I am not sure that even would help under your current dry conditions.

As for how they're used, most people pickle them. They're really popular with Italian food, often served as a side with Pizza PapaJohn's Pizza puts them in every box) or salad or on antipasto platters. I think you could eat them the same way you'd eat any other pepper, like sweet or hot banana peppers, for example. They're fairly mild, and I think their Scoville Heat Unit rating is between about 500-1500, so they're milder than jalapenos, for example.

If I grew that type of pepper and wanted to pickle them, I'd likely use the recipe linked below.


Here is a link that might be useful: How To Can Hot Peppers

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 8:38PM
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I have a question. Is the area dry and the skin turn thin and crispy like paper or is it black & leathery? I have seen BER on bell peppers once or twice. Never on the chile types. In my opinion true BER on peppers is like BER on tomatoes. It makes the area around it bad and in time will ruin the whole fruit. Without seeing your fruit in person it is hard to trouble shoot. I do have a few chiles most years where the ends with dry up and turn crispy. Only the very out skin is left. The flesh is gone. The areas never spread and the rest of the pepper is always good. Many times the area will show up while the fruit is small but it never spreads. Not what I call a true sunburn either. Most of the times the areas are on the tips although occasionally you will find them elsewhere. I've always felt it had something to do with too much sun and not enough foliage cover. As it is usually on the early exposed fruit. But being that it has never been a wide spread problem and that it doesn't ruin the whole fruit I have never really worried about it. Like I said I have seen true BER on Bell peppers so I know it is possible. Jay

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 8:43PM
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Dawn, thanks for the link. I have pickled squash and beets, but that is all I have tried alone.

Jay, the Peppers seemed normal except for the bad spots on them. I ate one of them and it taste like a pepper with no, or little heat. We have had a lot of hot dry wind this year and I expect the lack of moisture and the dry wind to be the biggest problem. The last soil test(2011) showed Ca. to be 1896 PPM. Add 23 lbs of lime and 3.5 lbs of 27-0-0 per 1000 sq. ft. which I did. I cut the nitrogen a little short and used compost instead. I dont expect sun-scald to be a problem yet because all plant have heavy foliage. If you click on one of the pictures and go into my Photobucket and check picture #2 (looking west) you will see that some of those peppers may not see the light of day till harvest.

Thanks to all for the help.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 11:04PM
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I have a question about peppers also. I planted cayenne, habenero and a foolin' you and their first crop matured this past week. All of a sudden the Habs and foolin' yous got large white mushy spots on them. I immediately picked them and threw them away. What happened?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 10:47AM
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trees, white spots that go mushy sound like sunscald. Were the peppers exposed to too much sun on that side?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 2:49PM
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I bet so, I just removed a hedge that would shade that side of the plants. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Trees, To prevent sunscald just put up something that will shade your pepper plants a little like the hedge did, or give your plants a feeding with a liquid, water-soluable fertilizer to push the plants to produce more foliage to shade the fruit. Sunscald on peppers is common here in summer, especially when something changes that abruptly exposes the fruit to more sunlight. I've had sunscald develop just because a pepper plant was heavily loaded with fruit and sort of leaned over--not falling completely over--but leaning over strongly--and the peppers suddenly were more exposed to sunlight. I either stake my pepper plants at the time they're plantED, which prevents that sort of leaning, or I cage them with those little three or four-tier wire cages commonly sold as tomato cages. Then I staKe the cages so they won't fall over.

Sometimes if a pepper plant gets too hot and wilts, some of the foliage can drop off the plant, so that foliage loss can lead to sunscald too. If I see a pepper starting to scald, I immediately remove it and bring it in and use it before rot has a chance to develop in the scalded area.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 3:26PM
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Thank you for the info Dawn!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You're welcome.

Sometimes sunscald is so vexing. One day your peppers are fine and the next day they are tan and blistered. It is aggravating!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Trees problem sounds like true sun scald. The problem I mentioned above is totally different. I have never seen a mushy spot. I've even wondered if it is from insect damage to the fruit. It is like the flesh in that area just withers and goes away and leaves the skin. Especially since the drought has hit and the heat has been above I've noticed more of it. But the insects have been greater also. Like I said it is usually the ends or small spots on the fruit and the area never spreads so I just cut them out and don't worry about them. With true sun scald I treat them like Dawn does. Jay

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 8:41AM
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