Unamended, Jamaican yellow from seed started 2/30.
This post was edited by jayhawkfan56 on Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 16:22
Pods. Got plenty more that are growing good!
Your title caught my eye, because I am growing my peppers in clay soil this year and they are doing awful. I've grown them in raised beds amended with lots of organic matter in the past, and the drainage was very fast. The peppers grew wonderful in that! Not this year! I keep waiting for them to take off now that it's hot out, but they are really struggling. So I'm thinking it might just be the clay soil. The bed actually puddles when it gets watered and I'm definitely not used to that.
I will probably grow some cover crop in it and turn it in to try to improve it for next year.
Congratulations on success with your pepper plants! Look at all those peppers and the healthy bushy foliage!
Unamended and bare or had there been something else growing there in the past where roots broke up the clay? Nothing wrong with clay...just needs some help.
Nice plant and like prairiemoon said, congrats.
Btw, how'd you like what the Aztecs did to your boys at YOUR house last year? :P
This may be the cause of my peppers. I dug up this new bed for my peppers, just plaint clay-type dirt, not raised bed. Here are my peppers:
I planted same peppers in another bed I used to grow tomatos and they did much better. So I figure new clay soil may be the cause. So the roots can not get deep?
Maybe, maybe not. I'm working in subsoil that the developer used for backfilling. Moved into our house 8/2013, so it's brand new here. I guess a point working in my favor is that it's sloped down away from the house at a steep angle, so that promotes "good" drainage. Otherwise, it's nasty clay. I was really surprised
Where is direction/location of the wall?
In my situation, the drainage is not the problem. It is the heat. I was thinking peppers like heat, so I planted them in open field, get full sun.
Most of the time, my peppers show sign of not getting enough water. They look the best after a soak from the rain. I tried to mulch the plants and water them often. But I figure either the roots are shallow, or the water just can't get to the root in the heavy clay.
The peppers I planted last year got 70% of the sun and the soil was used a few years with tomatoes.
Wall faces due west, so gets intense afternoon sun for ~5 hours. But as for sun, I was under the assumption that these love as much heat and sun as possible - provided there is water every day. Is your soil very acidic? Mine tends to be neutral (pH about 6), which apparently peppers prefer.
They like sun, but they have to be able to absorb water. Your wall clearly helps to get partial sun. Here is my bed:
The peppers are at the far end, left side on this photo, after the wood chip pile. They were planted in this tom bed, which runs from east (near) to west (far). Between the tom bed and the wood pile is the shed, which gives the peppers some shade last year.
I believe the soil is slightly acidic, almost neutral. It is just the heavy soil. I only prepared the bed with single digging. Heavy soil, full sun and lack of water is the only thing can explain the condition of the peppers.
This is my last year's peppers/tom bed:
It is the same time of year at 3PM. Both peppers and toms are bigger than this year's.
"But as for sun, I was under the assumption that these love as much heat and sun as possible"
Simply not true. Yes as much sun as possible. But even too bright can cause fruit to burn or scald. As far as heat, definitely not true. When temps get into the upper 90's, or greater, for extended periods, most fruiting veggies simply shut down and stop flowering. Mulch and shade cloth go a long ways in regulating soil temps and getting the plants through these extremes.
Full sun and HEAT is an accelerated growing condition requiring more care in terms of soil preparation/amendment.
, watering, fertilizing and lastly (but not lastly/leastly) MULCHING.
somewhere I read that when they get a soaking rain, they do better. There goes answer. Rain is just water. You can provide a soaking WATERING too. Peppers might not need a lot of water but they need moist soil not dry.
I've grown quite a few types in unamended "natural" soil. I cleared a 10' X 10' area of undergrowth and planted half dozen varieties and they did well. Just threw some bone meal down once a month and made sure they got some water. It was a pretty shady area too. Grew thais, cornos di Toros, chile Petins, and tepins successfully.
Clay soil is where all your minerals reside too....
When we say "clay" it is not quite clear percentage wise. Most soils labeled "clay" have some organic matter (= natural compost = topsoil). Amending clay-based soil is easy and simple : ADD COMPOST which may be plant base or animals based (like manures).
WHAT IS CLAY ?: It is decayed rocks. Red rocks make red clay ; Grey rocks make grey clay. So in a way clay is a very fine sand of some sort.
You can use Gypsum to break up clay. Its very effective and also adds good things to your soil. Im also in NJ here our soil is sandy here. It has not been an extremely hot summer so far so Im sure your problem is not the heat . You can add it any time just spread it around your plants and scratch it in. Takes a wile to work but should help, certainly will not hurt your plants. Did you lime? Test your PH clay can be acidic. If so you can add lime anytime I lime every other year with good results.
All the heat/sun loving plants do love the heat, but there is a limit.
Down in the hot Texas, tomatoes won't do well in the red hot summer. I remember over there the tomatoes have two seasons, one in early summer and one in the fall. The plants will stop producing in the red hot summer.
The same goes here. If this is container with potting soil, then the peppers would do well since the plants can develop a large root system and the potting soil hold water very well.
But with unamended clay soil, water tends to stay at the top layer of the soil and not reaching the entire root system. Also the root system has hard time developing a large root system. So its ability to absorb water is limited.
This is a big problem if the peppers are in the full sun. The plants won't be able to get enough water and can't develop. I think this is my case here.
I think the only way to improve here is to add more mulch. Then amend the soil next season. Or just plant the peppers in the big pots....
With hardpan clay i always figured that low oxygen penetration was one of 3 culprits, along with poor root penetration and uneven water soaking.
As Seysonn mentioned, with clay you'll want lots of plant and manure compost. Tilling in lots of mulch fines is a good start, but remember that mulch locks up some of the nitrogen in the soil till it breaks down. This may be a *part* of the problem for some of the posters here. Obviously it can be remedied with a regular fertilization routine, or a tiny increase in nitrogen.
As for Gypsum, it seemed to have worked well for one of my dad's plots, but he was also working in lots of cow manure compost. I also understand that gypsum is not as effective for certain clay soils. I have seen gypsum create a hard eggshell-like surface, granted that person only scratched it into the very top inch of soil.
My dad, who has lots of experience with different clay soils, swears that clay soil must be turned over at least twice in the springtime before plant-out. Otherwise he says the plants will either lag behind as runts, or not grow to their full potential. I believe this may have happened to me once, and the ole man was quick to point it out :-(.
Good luck either way all,
This post was edited by sjetski on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 17:51
Yes, amending the soil would be the best solution.
But with the size of the beds I have, it is not practical to do it. I built the beds by hands and it took me a several season. Cost is another factor. The store compost is not cheap.
For me, I'll try to plant the plants which would do well in clay soil, without having to amend it. I did not know that I'd have problems with peppers this year. It is the only plant that gives me problem.
The tomatoes are doing well, as well as Japanese pumpkin (kabocha), cucumbers and all the herbs...
achang: If you're not amending your soil, you may as well stick to containers. There's very few places on earth that have such fertile soil that doesn't need to be fed over and over.
Compost CAN be expensive, but how about making your own? Looks like you have enough material around. Hell! A lot of horse and dairy farmers will give away FREE manure. Buy it in bulk... it's very reasonable then. There's no reason to NOT feed the soil.
For anyone in NJ,Del.,Pa,or Md, Mushroom soil from Kenith Square Pa.is some of the best compost you can get. Check out some local nurseries its available by the yard or even the truck load at a reasonable cost. I live in southern most Jersey and here people even sell it on Craigs List by the truck load . Good stuff , already composted with a neutral PH.
I just found the problems with my peppers. It is the bugs, not sure what types. The bugs suck the juice off the leaves. I should not blame the soil.
The land we have was a farm field. Nearby farm grow corns and soybeans, sometimes winter wheat. So the soil is not rich, but not super hard clay.
I understand the needs to work on the soil. The GW members here have put on a lot of efforts to amend the soil. But on the personal side, I would not want to spend this much resources and efforts to make it work. Whatever works with you will come to you. Do not fight the mother nature.
For the insects I get, I still do not know what to do. I do not want to spray it. Just hope that some other creatures can eat the bugs and can save my peppers. I may plant some company plants, or some feeder plants to attract the bugs.
Research Integrated Pest Management(IPM). This is where Mother nature can truly help. But....
Don't rely on mother nature to help too much when growing things that aren't indigenous to that ecosystem as fae as soil is concerned. You need to "manipulate" and give her a helping hand. Peppers, tomatoes, and I'm sure almost any veggy, don't grow in the wild in New Jersey.
One of the main factors for pest control is healthy plants and soil. How do you achieve that? Feed it!
This is not the place to debate. You do your way and I go my way.
Thx for the info.....
A "forum" isn't a place for debate??
News to me... lmao
Good luck with your peppers.
We grow the best tomatoes you can get anywhere in the garden state no.1 for eggplant ,no.1 for blueberry,no.2 for cranberrys ,Best growing environment you could ever hope for. Theres more to our state then the Supronos . If I wanted to pick a place to grow hot peppers it would be here.
Ever been to New Jersey Kevin? Check out some of our farms if you ever make it to the left coast you might be impressed.
Dave. Yes I have but it was 33 years ago and just driving through.
I think you're mistaking what I'm trying to tell achang89 though. Veggies, for the most part, are grown out of their points of origin. You don't see pepper plants sprouting up "naturally" like say in the tropics or south Texas. So, we as gardeners, need to "manipulate" conditions for them to do their best and thrive in an ecosystem foreign to them. This includes anything from starting seeds on a mat to amending the soil to shade cloth to mulch to planting companion plants for pest control to using a soaker hose, etc.
If one is going to veggy garden only accepting what they've been given by the natural ecosystem, then they might want to keep expectations low.
Myself... I want rewards for my hard work! So if that means replenishing the native soil with much needed nutrients because it gets stripped of them each season, I'm going to give my plants what they need to thrive, not just survive.
Wasn't dissing NJ at all. Like i said, there's very few places on earth that have such fertile soil that don't need nutrients replenished.
Stop mentioning my name here. I do not need you to keep telling me anything. I said to put this to a rest. You still do not stop.
You do whatever you think is right for you. If others do not take you seriously, do not take offensive. Just let it go. No one likes to listen to your lecturing....
We are here to share ideas, not to take lecture from anyone. Make a point, then just move on......
Also, I already made the point super clear that, my problem with peppers is not even the soil, but some bugs sucking the leaves.
So stop telling me again and again to amend the soil. It is even the issue...
Place hands flat over ears and loudly repeat this mantra:
"LA! LA! LA! LA! LA! LA! I'M NOT LISTENING TO YOU!"
Guaranteed to make you feel better.
I always feel good. There are more important things to do than arguing for something not important at all.
So if someone wants to dig the dirt 3 feet deep and replace it with the perfect soil, then do it. It is not just my type. I have acres of land and far more important things to do....
But still good to know some folks are doing it. Good luck with it.
Achang89, achang89, achang89!!!! Whaa!!!
I wasn't talking to you. I was responding to dave's post.
You might want to spend some time in the soil forum. It's a wide belief that HEALTHY plants in HEALTHY soil tend to ward off pests better.
This forum is not all about you. In fact, this isn't even YOUR thread. When I post, it's for ALL eyes. I'm done with you. You won't hear from me again. Good luck with your "acres" of sad peppers and your inability to accept sound advice.
To everybody else, and especially jayhawksfan, I apologize for the thread hijack. Was just trying to share some of what I've learned through the years.
woohooman woohooman woohooman woohooman man!
Whoever you are, just stay away from me. Do not address me and do not mention me. I have nothing to do with you. I do not need your help and whatever you said does not even apply to me. Just to make it clear.
Lecture someone else, not me.
Let's get this thread back on track with pics of peppers defying the odds on paper, and growing in yellow clay.
Nice healthy looking plant there, jayhawk! What variety?
The first pic is white habanero. My first time growing these. Apparently they're smaller than your garden variety orange hab. It's been fun keeping the birds off that thing though, they love those. Next is regular Thai, both sourced from sample seed shop online. Good stuff!
I did not read your entire posting until now. Your sour personality is really amazing....
When did I tell you that I grow acres of peppers??? Very funny to make up all that.
Gardening is just a hobby for many of us here. I do not have a sad life like you to spend many years of your life digging soil....
A few sad peppers are still much better than your sad life and sad personality....
I probably shouldn't even chime in, but... this bickering is really cracking me up. It's funny to see 2 people who will probably, in a million years, never EVER even bump into each other going at it... I was reading through some posts on the harvest forum the other day, and "seysonn" was LAYING DOWN THE LAW on "canning" and PH levels. You guys must be growing some "angry" peppers! Anyway, your plants look great, jayhawk! Nice job! I hope you get tons more pods where those came from.
In NJ there is a free service called the Rutgers Farm Extension. They can be really helpful with any garden problems being it weed control,Pest control,or just what to plant in the conditions you are dealt . With the exception of a well spent $15 soil test telling you a lot about your garden conditions [ taking a lot of guess work out of things ] Most of there help is free. I have found them professional, knowledgeable and just plain helpful for any problems you might have. They will even send an agent out to help you handle any situation you might be dealing with at the time. Not just farms but anyone. Im sure most states probably have programs similar to what we have here and I personally recommend taking advantage of this service.