So many peppers lost, frustrating and sad.
Calcium should fix, have you used any ferts recently?
I hear ya! I had a bunch of cayennes last year that did exactly the same thing. It was weird - same seed stock has had little to no problems in previous years, and no other peppers had this problem last year. As productive as those 6-4 plants seem to be, hopefully, you'll still get a bunch of good ones! They say that uneven watering can contribute to BER. Sometimes it just seems like some plants are more susceptible than others. I've been culling super marzano tomatoes like crazy due to BER. No one else...just that one variety.
I am having a similar issue, and thought it might be BER. It's my first year gardening, and I haven't see this before. All my other peppers are fine, but all the hot banana peppers are starting to turn brown.
Should I just cut them all off and add calcium? They are in a self watering container (DIY earth box type), so watering shouldn't be an issue. We did just hit triple digits so maybe add more mulch?
Thanks for any help with this. I have already learned so much just searching the forums!
Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening Photo album
Yep, looks like BER.
I've never had to apply calcium so don't know a lot about it except that bone meal takes a while to break down. So, using something that more readily available for the plant to take up would be preferred. Or, it may just grow out of it. It is fairly common for early fruit to have BER but later fruit be just fine. At least that's the case with tomatoes. I assume the same would be true for peppers.
Calcium and magnesium concentrates can be purchased at hydroponic outlets. They are just diluted with water and added at feeding time. I used one last year to get rid of my crinkled pepper plant leaves and it worked like a charm. Perhaps they will be helpful with BER.
Calcuim uptake is also compromised by poor soil conditions, among them improper Ph.
You can add all the calcium you want, nothing will change unless you correct the Ph.
Ok. We need to dispel the "add calcium" myth for blossom end rot.
Although calcium shortage in the plant tissues is usually the reason for the blossom end rot, it's not usually caused by shortage of calcium in the soil. That is very rare. Most blossom end rot is caused by inconsistent moisture conditions in the soil. Overwatering or soggy soil are very common causes of blossom end rot.
I use a fast draining soil in containers, and have sandy soil with mulch in ground and have never experienced blossom end rot in peppers or tomatoes as both are very well drained mediums. Blossom end rot is most common in peat or compost/soil based container mixes, or gardeners who don't water correctly, or clay soil in ground.
Since you are using self watering containers, and are experiencing very high temperatures, you could be experiencing swings in soil moisture that are the perfect conditions for BER. I'm willing to bet you are using a very water retentive medium such as peat or compost/soil based.
or gardeners who don't water correctly, or clay soil in ground.
My yard is basically clay fill dirt. I've added quite a bit of compost over the past several years, and it's definitely better, but, still a clay base. I'm also guilty of inconsistent watering in the garden. Pots I haven't had much issue with BER.
I was figuring that with the self watering container, that watering would not be the problem. But, I've never used a SWC before.
Tsheets: Having sandy soil is a blessing and a curse. I have to use tons of organic matter as well and mulch to keep things from drying out, but I'm lucky I never get BER or saturation, as I think too much water is worse then not enough, especially when it comes to BER.
Self watering can be too wet or too dry as well. It's not a perfect system. Let's say a self watering system is set up with a very water retensive soil that wicks a lot of water up, and then the common practice of putting plastic on top to keep moisture in, is perfect conditions for saturation. Conversely, allow the reservoir to dry out, and peat based soils will become hydrophobic and not wick up moisture. Both create extremes. In SWC's you need a well drained soil that still wants to wick up moisture.
I really like the idea of the earthtainer type setups (just been too lazy to put some together), but, your points are exactly what gives me pause. I have read so many posts about SWC that people have problems - almost always related to wicking too much or not enough. They sound awesome when they work, but, if you hold your mouth wrong, they sound like a nightmare! haha!
I think the secret to SWC is to use a well drained soil like 5:1:1. Personally though, I'm just as happy to use 5:1:1 in containers. I don't find it dries out too fast if the container is large enough. I don't have to worry about leaving them out in the rain. I am now starting to use slow release fertilizers to reduce my fertilizing. I guess I have so much on the go now, including in the ground I want to make everything more low maintenance. Not sure SWC's are the way to do it.
One more point. I think where SWC's shine is in arid areas that have extreme water shortages. SWC's can use far less water then containers we let water drain out of the bottom. I believe this is what earthtainers were originally designed for. I have some water limitations where I live, but not enough that I need to use extreme conservation methods. For the most part, rainbarrels supply most of the water for my containers, and the flushing of nutrients is a big benefit.
Thanks for all the replies. It certainly gives me some things to consider.
I went with SWC because unfortunately our backyard is concrete, and the plants I have tried to grow in regular containers complete burn. The soil in the pots was also heating to a non hospitable temp. I thought the SWC would help with that and let us have veggies plants for a change. It just isn't possible to water 3 times a day (2 is pushing it but possible) because of the crazy work schedule at my house. Although not technically arid, we have been a drought for a long time, so water conservation is a good thing.
The soil I am using is just Miracle Gro potting mix (not moisture control). It was recommended on the earth box forum I was visiting. If it doesn't work this year, I will have to look at mixing my own next year. Admittedly I have several things working against me this summer, but I figured I would give it a go anyway. I will at least know where to start next year!
I have the plastic over the top of the SWC to help control moisture, but with my strawberries I had to add mulch over the plastic. Even with the plastic, the soil was drying out several inches down and the strawberries (shallow roots) were dying.
The peppers have all been doing good up to this point. I thought the sudden spike in temp was the problem, but having the soil drying out more could be what's causing it.
Just an update.
Thanks for all the good info! I'm going to try side-dressing with bone meal, since that's all I can find in this area.
Here is a link that might be useful: DFW Gardener
Water is not a problem if oxygen is included. I grow in aero and the roots are wet all the time but the water includes oxygen.
I feel for you! I had some tomatoes that did that last year. I had plants sitting 2 feet to either side with no problems. I don't know if the bone meal is a good idea for this season. I was under the impression that bone meal took a long time to break down. Hopefully someone more educated than I can elaborate on that topic. It looks as though everything else is doing great though. Congrats on a mostly successful season.
@peppernovice try finding liquid bone meal, theres a line called Nectar of the Gods thats organic that is what I use for my bone meal and some of my Ca
Here is a link that might be useful: liquid bonemeal
An interesting thread from the growing tomatoes forum about bonemeal:
Here is a link that might be useful: added bonemeal
I sidedressed my New Mexico 6-4L and Big Jim peppers with bonemeal, hopefully it'll have some effect (no matter how small) in a month or so. There are an enormous amount of flower buds on my plants, to lose all those to the blossom end rot would be a real shame.
I read that issue with maggots, I'm puzzled how that could be, since the bonemeal I used was a fine dry powder. I put it in a couple inches and covered it up just in case though.
I'm going to have to agree with tsheets, and say that some varieties just appear to be more prone to BER. I am growing over 50 varieties, and over 80 plants. The only two plants with BER are the two Big Jim plants. One was overwintered, and the other was started this season. One is in the veggie bed here at the house, which has good drainage and good soil. The other is at a community garden plot with somewhat amended clay soil, and full, all day sun. So, completely different growing environments, and different seed sources, but both have BER, and none of the other varieties have this issue.
As far as SWC go, I have two Earthboxes, and after using them for a couple of years, I decided to lose the plastic covers, when the soil was retaining too much water, even in my high desert location. Plants are doing much better this year.
The MG soil you are using is one of those highly water retentive soils that saturates way too easily. It also becomes hydrophobic when it dries out as well. It could very well be your source of BER. Try the 5:1:1 from the container forum next year. You can always adjust it with experience to wick up just the right amount of moisture.
Update on my issue, after side dressing with bonemeal:
New Mexico 6-4L
New Mexico Big Jim
"The MG soil you are using is one of those highly water retentive soils that saturates way too easily. It also becomes hydrophobic when it dries out as well. It could very well be your source of BER. Try the 5:1:1 from the container forum next year. You can always adjust it with experience to wick up just the right amount of moisture."
I used MG soil WIth not ONE Pod drop or any end rot at all. Fact is, those soils hold water to get the plants through the summer.
There are so many advantages of growing soil I could not list all of thwm right now.
If you do not know how to water right, does that now say everyone else does not know how to water either?
This year I grew 50 lb of jalapeno with potting mix this year :). I also used promix bx mixed with compost.
I don't care about your qualifications or your plants.
It's odd that the varieties having the problems switched on you! At least with the bonemeal, you know the amount of calcium in the soil won't be a problem next year. Not sure if it's really had time to break down / be available yet this year. Everyone says that it takes time, but, I don't know how long really.
New Mexico Big Jim
New Mexico 6-4L
If the bonemeal didn't help, it certainly didn't hurt.
Getting close to the end of my season, still a few with BER:
I think I have a unique problem. First what I saw on my pepper plant was drying of new leaves after they came out. These leaves stop growing when they are 1/4 size of normal leaf. Even they are not growing and seem dry still the color remain green, well not as green as normal leaves. Slowly these leaves fall off and the end half of small peppers become dark and dry.
Is this BER or something else? These plants are grown outdoor in a container. I have 6 pepper plants in three containers. All side by side, all are same type and same age. This happened on plants in one container. The rest remain fine so far. Is this BER or something else. How could this be recovered.