Balcony Peppers

alynne68May 14, 2013

My first post was last night re cold weather. All seemed to survive and I appreciate all the info.

I have 12 hot/superhots from Chiliiplants in 4 20" pots on my west facing balcony in DC. I had great success 5 years ago but in the past few years have been plagued with pests. Mostly aphids but also whiteflys. I threw out everything except a fig tree and a pot of lavender and started fresh this year. Insecticide soap doesn't seem to help and I don't want anything harsher. Any thoughts? I am using Bumper Crop potting soil and seaweed fertilizer.

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alynne68

Here's what is there: Beni Highlands, Bird Dung, Chiltepin McMahons Bird, Chintexle, Fatalii, Limon, Pimiento de Chiero, Ring of Fire, Thai Yellow, Trinidad Scoarpion, West Virginia Pea, Yellow Sun.

I also had some concerns with spacing, again, any thoughts would be very welcome.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:00PM
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sjetski(6b NJ)

One plant per pot, with potting soil filled to within an inch from the top, more room for the roots to spread.

Two per pot will produce stunted plants with a limited crop, but i realize some people are ok with that :)

Your plants seem perky to me, they don't seem leggy either. Looks like a good location for chili plants too.That balcony looks like it has enough room for at least a couple of more pots.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 9:41PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Agree with the above, I would try to get some more pots and soil if you can. If you just transplanted those recently (which I think you did) you can separate them out to individual pots with little to no stress on the plants as I doubt they have rooted out much if at all yet.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 11:16PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

My first plant as an adult was a palm tree on a balcony in DC. 9 stories up and it was loaded with spider mites every summer. Ah, the good old days. Anyway, the insecticidal soap will probably work, you just need to be very diligent. When they say reapply every 3-5 days, they mean it. Actually, I find every other day for the first couple sprays, then tapering off to once a week eventually works. It can take a few weeks to irradicate a good infestation. Cheers!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 10:38AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Yeah, soap does work eventually, but it requires that you wet everything - bottom leaf surface too. Your plants should be vigorous enough that they can handle a mild infestation so don't worry too much if you can't get rid of the pests in detail.

With three plants per pot I'd worry about some shading out others - something you can deal with by judicious pruning. I'll be interested to see how they look when they get bigger. Please plan for more pictures.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:17PM
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woohooman

Whiteflies are tough. I've yet to conquer them. This year though, I'm going to very proactive

Yellow sticky cards to detect and catch some adults, then neem oil and soap applications along with worm castings at the base of each plant, then release some green lacewings.

With those containers, I'd go with 1 per pot. I do, however, have some half whiskey oak barrels and plants 2 in each of those. Very good production in those.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 3:57PM
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JoppaRich(7b)

20" pots are just fine for 4 superhots. The OP probably isn't looking for 10 lbs of each pepper.

I've got plants in 6" pots that give me a couple of pounds of peppers.Sometimes people get a bit crazy on here.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 7:36PM
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woohooman

Jopparich: So... 4 superhots per 20" container??? With recommended spacing being 18" min for most annuums and even more for most chinenses, how does that work out?

I find the TWO that I put in my 27" oak barrels to be a tad crowded. One reason why I usually do 1 caged annum and 1 chinense per barrel. Also, there's no sense in planting so many if you don't maximize production.

To each their own. :)

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 11:07PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

One reason is because you get to grow many different varieties - more than the number of pots. Another may be aesthetic. Also the amount of daily sun may limit size.

Agreed, non-optimum for most of us, but to each his own. [uhh.. deja vu?]

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:08PM
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alynne68

Thanks for all the input. I'm gonna stick with 3 per pot for now. Don't want to give up the balcony real estate. I've found peppers deal with crowding relatively well.

Would love a basic explanation on fertilizer. Got Neptune's Harvest Seaweed. 0-0-1. Put matches in one pot while planting. Not a science person. Idiot proof explanation of what is needed and where to find it?

Thanks again!
Al

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 12:39PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

It really depends on how you fertilize and what your grow medium is. But in general I understand that you want a nutrient ratio of 3:1:2, for instance Miracle Grow 24-8-16. Use as directed.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 4:46PM
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woohooman

A lot of people use Miracle Gro All Purpose 24-8-16 or Foliage Pro 9-3-6 at half strength on a weekly schedule. One problem with this is that there isn't any calcium in most synthetic ferts -- not sure about the foliage pro. So, you'll need to supplement with some calmag, gypsum, or dolomite lime. Keeping in mind that lime increases ph. You could use bonemeal but it takes a long time to break down. Fish and seaweed ferts is never a bad idea.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 2:42PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Foliage Pro does have calcium and magnesium, along with several other trace elements in pretty good ratios. I believe one of the liquid Miracle Gro products does as well, not sure if it's the 24 8 16 formula though. Foliage Pro is a nice easy one bottle solution if you can source it, that is the trouble though, it can be difficult to find locally.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 4:36PM
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alynne68

Peppers are all doing well even with the gray days we've had here in DC. Found a few aphids on one plant today and am panicking! Removed them by hand but have had infestations on my balcony in the past. Spray with insecticidal soap preemptively? Is the store bought - Concern - any better than homemade? Does it go bad? I've had this one for a few years. Am I overreacting?

Alison

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 7:28PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Yes.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 7:53PM
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alynne68

Assume that's to overreacting. Got it. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 9:23PM
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tsheets(5)

If you see any more aphids, I'd hit them with the soap. I don't think it goes bad, but, you would know pretty quick. Just be sure to rinse it off and try not to do it in the direct sun.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 11:00PM
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woohooman

Preemptive doesn't work with soap. It's a contact killer. So, spray 1st thing in the morning or right at sunset when they're more likely to be present.

Homemade soap is fine. Just make sure you use REAL soap -- Ivory, fels naptha, castile(no additives like olive oil or perfumes), murphy's oil soap.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 11:04PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Johnson's Baby Shampoo?

FWIW, I've used ancient IS left out in the freezing weather for years and it worked a treat.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 5:40PM
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woohooman

Not sure about Johnson's Dennis.

I know you want the 1st ingredient to be a fatty acid like sodium tallowate-- nothing labeled as DETERGENT. from my readings, the ones I mentioned seem to mentioned over and over, especially fels naptha and Dr. Bronner's Castile.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 5:59PM
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alynne68

My poor Bird Dung Chili. DC had 80 degree temps Mon - Wed. Torrential rains Thursday night. 40 degree temps this morning. None of the chilies are very happy, but this poor one is the worst.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 2:16PM
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woohooman

Alynne:

Ouch! Since it's in a container, try to get it under some partial shade for a few days. Maybe roughen up the soil a couple inches down to allow more air to get to the roots.

Good luck. I'm sure it'll straighten out.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 2:27PM
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alynne68

At this point the wind is dying down and I was thinking it needed to soak up some sun and heat. Wrong idea?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 2:33PM
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woohooman

It just looks very stressed -- almost likes it needs a drink but you mentioned rain. Did you harden off properly?

Warmth is never a bad thing, but until it perks back up, I'd try to protect it from intense sun. Like I mentioned earlier, fluff up the soil a couple times a day and that will allow it to dry out a bit quicker.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 3:58PM
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JoppaRich(7b)

I'm about an hour north of him, and all my stuff looked like that saturday morning. Very nasty windstorms.

Everything seems to have recovered for me as the day went on, so I hope it did the same for him.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 9:43AM
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sjetski(6b NJ)

Direct sunshine is usually not the best thing for stressed plants, shade for a day or two is often needed. Even when potting up, temporary shade is very beneficial.

It depends on the problem, but i believe the shade solution would have applied here.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 6:07PM
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