is this a watering issue or something else?

melvee(7)August 5, 2012

hello again. i am learning so much from you all, and now i need you again :) This is my sad pepper plant. every day it looks a little bit worse. started out fantastic, was bearing large, green, crisp peppers and a bunch of them. then started slowing down, but the peppers were still healthy if a little on the small side. i put down some 12-4-8 the first day i noticed this (about two weeks ago) but it has not helped. the last two weeks have seen the overall plant decline. the leaves are droopy and floppy, the peppers are wrinkly and squishy. is this an issue of watering or something else? both ends of the peppers look healthy, and the leaves look healthy except the wilting and drooping (ie. no insects, powdery mildew, etc.) we have had several weeks of 95-100 degree heat here. they are in full sun. i only water if it has been two days since a rain. everything else in the garden looks healthy. any help is appreciated.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Peppers can fall to one of the wilt diseases very suddenly and I suspect that's the problem here, since you say that the other plants are fine. Fusarium or verticillium are soil borne fungal diseases that affect the vascular system of plants....disabling the water transport system.

You might want to make certain that there's not a dry pocket in the soil caused by a large ant nest, mole or vole, etc. If you water by drip lines, make sure that there isn't a leak. If everything checks out, you should remove the pepper and dispose of it.

Fertilizer should only be used in response to a nutritional need....never because a plant looks sickly, especially if it's wilted.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 5:08PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

to put it another way ... NEVER... ever ... 'FEED' AN ALREADY STRESSED PLANT ...

For ALL WE KNOW.. YOU BURNED ROOTS IN HIGH HEAT.. WITH TOO MUCH FERT ... oops.. roots that were already suffering from something else ... as per above ...

so.. newbie .. fert once in spring ... and put that thought out of your head.. as a remedy for anything ...

you will be further ahead.. if this fall after you clean out the garden.. you add 6 to 8 inches of COMPOST.. and turn it into your soil.. so that by spring.. you wont even need to use fertilizer then ...

and perhaps a soil test.. to see what, if anything, your soil is missing.. would be a great place to start.. if you havent done so already ...

build the soil.. insert plants.. add water and sun.. and you should just about NEVER need fertilizer ... it is NOT a remedy for anything .. in a good soil ...


ps: i hope you know about crop rotation ... some things simply can not go back in the same place year after year.. but if you build the soil then maybe they can ....

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 4:26PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

And in the absence of many inches of compost, almost ALL veggie gardens benefit from fertilization. Just be better informed about when to apply it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:07PM
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probably should have clarified. this is first year i have ever done peppers, and i do rotate to some degree. my garden is sadly small and i don't have space to rotate every three years since i only do one or two of each veggie, but i do not plant in the same space for at least two years. i had just tested the soil for an issue my cukes were having and found it woefully lacking in macros, so i was feeding the entire garden for the benefit of all and not so much in hopes to 'rescue' this one. i do have a compost pile but not enough ready to cover the entire garden. i ended up pulling this one bc i don't know what it was but don't want to risk anything with my cukes, beans, and melons. thanks for the help, tho. will keep it under advisement for next season and hopefully be able to finish out a growing season with no major issues. :)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 9:42AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Sounds excellant, melvee. Thanks for clarifying things for us and keep beefing up that soil.

Sadly, gardeners are sort of out of luck when it comes to verticillium or fusarium wilt of peppers. Once they begin to wilt, they just can't be coaxed to keep limping along like our tomatoes and eggplant can. And, to make matters worse, I don't think that there are any V or F resistant pepper varieties on the market.

You're probably aware that spores of these fungal diseases last for many years in the soil. So, you've got a tough decision to make, melvee. Considering the size of your garden, I'm not so sure that I would be willing to risk peppers again.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 12:03PM
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