Pepper Critique Wanted...

Kalie(9 - Jacksonville, Florida)April 25, 2013

Good morning all!

This is only my second year growing peppers from seed and I was wondering if anyone would like to critique my set-up or the plants themselves. I planted inside on January 27 and transplanted outside on March 24. Lately we have been getting a lot of rain plus fluctuating temperatures... and the leaves have been getting lighter than normal. Also, I have only fertilized once, with fish emulsion about 2 weeks ago. Should I be fertilizing more? Anything else that stands out from this picture?

Thanks for the help!


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mctiggs(2b (WPG, MB))

What types of peppers are they? Depending on the type you may have planted them too closely together (from the pic they look about 1 foot apart). Not the end of the world, but you run the risk of larger growing plants blocking out the smaller.

Looks like you're already addressed that, though, I presume the 2 plants on the end are a larger variety.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Kalie(9 - Jacksonville, Florida)

Yeah, they are mostly about 1 foot apart... I thought that might be kind of close, but I dug this bed down about 3 feet so I thought they would be ok. The bed gets pretty direct sun for most of the day.

There are several varieties... from the top down: Royal Black, Black Hungarian, Anaheim, Jalapenos, Beaver Dam, and Georgia Flame... and then the two at the end are Bull Nose Bells. I don't mind too much if they cross pollinate.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:50AM
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mctiggs(2b (WPG, MB))

You might find the Anaheim pepper, for example, is in too close proximity to the other ones and will leave them in shade. It's not necessarily the depth of the bed that concerns me, just that the larger plants end up shading the smaller. It should be ok. You just may just need to prune back some branches if that happens. I usally plant a bare minimum of 18 inches apart, accounting more for the larger growing plants.

I've never had the need to stake a pepper plant either, and I've grown hundreds over the years. Maybe just a personal preference tho.

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:01PM
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The lighter leaves are symptomatic of too much rain, in pots we call it overwatering caused by us, but with rain out of your control for the most part unless you spend a lot of time throwing together a rain roof to assist when it's too much water for the peppers. Just let them be and let the soil dry out they should bounce back. I would wait for the soil to dry out to fertilize again so you are not adding more water to the already saturated soil causing more of an issue.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Nice work, Kalie!

I agree that spacing may become an issue with time. Also, though it's sort of hard to tell from the pic, they do look like they're a bit on the yellow side, especially the ones in the center of the bed. A couple of questions might help us get to the bottom of this...what are they planted in? Is it your native soil, and if so, what kind of soil do you have? Amended or no? The soil at the bottom of your picture looks very it usually that wet, and do the plants have a chance to dry out between waterings? And finally, what are you daily temperatures like? I know you said you've been getting a lot of fluctuation...have they been experiencing less than 55-60 F?

Your plants do look like they are a bit nutrient deficient, which shouldn't be if they're planted directly in the ground, unless your soil is pure sand. Other factors that could cause this would be if they're kept too wet for too long, or if they spend too much time less than 55-60 F.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:38PM
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Kalie(9 - Jacksonville, Florida)

The soil is approximately 1:1:1 sand (my yard is 95% pure sand), mushroom compost/black kow composted manure, and peat moss.

I haven't really watered the plants that much since transplanting out about a month ago. We have had some day-long storms at least twice a week lately. I think the picture was taken right after one of those storms, that's why the soil looks so wet.

I guess what I should do is wait for the soil to dry out and then water with some fertilizer. I just got some foilage pro 9-3-6 for my citrus trees, which should work well.

As for the temperatures, we have had several days/nights where the temp has dropped from low 80s to low 50s and was usually coupled with the extreme rain.

Hopefully the plants will perk up soon. They already have tons of buds on them, but the color was worrying me. Also the fact that they are smaller than my peppers were last year even though I never used any fertilizer at all last year.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Sounds like they're suffering from the cold, wet nights then, but they'll bounce back when things warm up and dry out.

With all of the compost and manure in your bed, I don't think you need to worry about fertilizing. If you had good results last year w/o fertilizing (you've refreshed the compost since then?) then you can expect the same again this year. Give them a chance to recover, than see where they stand.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 2:09PM
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I'd pull the mulch away until it dries out some. Other than that, they look fine except(like others mentioned) planted a bit too close together. You may be able to cure that problem a tad by using tomato cages.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 2:14PM
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bigoledude(SE Louisiana)

I plant mine further apart to help with air circulation, to make inspecting for insect/diseases easier and to make harvesting easier. Our climate is very humid and, we tend to be susceptible to viruses, fungus, and bacterial issues.

Intensive planting seems to be successful for a lot of folks. It just led to problems in the past for me. Once these pathogens showed up in my beds, they would rapidly infect the other plants. So, I give them wide berth and hope the extra air movement helps with the disease issues.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 9:15PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Save the Foliage Pro for your container plants :-)
As the others mentioned, your soil should be plenty fertile.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 11:33PM
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Kalie(9 - Jacksonville, Florida)

Definitely planted to close together. What was I THINKING?? Haha. There are still tons of peppers coming, but things are way too crowded in there. It's creating a very humid environment aka grasshopper paradise.

Lesson learned.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 8:34AM
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Oh, wow, that's interesting. My bed is every bit as crowded as yours - some plants are probably even closer together. I've just had them out for a little more than a week. Will be interesting to see how it looks in a month :)

How long did it take for the plants to "green up"? I'm a little worried about some yellow-ish plants in my bed as well.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 8:48AM
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Kalie(9 - Jacksonville, Florida)

It only took about 2 weeks for the peppers to turn green. I moved the mulch back so the soil would dry quicker. The bed was completely soaked after the rain we had been having.

I'm about to have to do the same thing again. Tropical Storm Andrea has dumped about 5 inches at my place in the last couple days!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 9:03AM
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Kalie and cjohansen:

While both of your plants are relatively small, you might want to try slipping tomato cages around them to allow more air circulation and make tending to them a lot more easy.

Just5 a suggestion.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 12:01PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I just priced tomato cages. The cheapest one (too small for a tomato actually) was $6. Huh? Can't them make these in China or somewhere that wire is cheap?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 5:36PM
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You sure DMF? Maybe for the heavy duty 54" . I've got some of those strictly for the first 4-5' of growth for my tomatoes. But, the 42" ones, I've been able to pick up for $2.50-$3.00. Perfect for peppers. I've even picked up some of the taller cheaper ones at Walmart for no more that $4.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 6:55PM
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