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Flies on my bonnet

Posted by HeatMiser none (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 26, 12 at 18:03

I've been creeping on these forums for the past couple weeks after I did a quick google search on what was wrong with my habs. (And I learned from you guys there was nothing wrong, they just grow slower than my other plants) I've learned a lot from everyone and will have a completely different set up to my garden next year and will hopefully have much more interesting plants than what I got from the store this year if I can bring some up from seed. Thanks for all the info I've gleaned and hopefully someone will have an answer for me.

I have 13 peppers overall with some in pots and some in the ground. My Scotch Bonnet is in a pot in a mix that is primarily MG Orchid Soil with some perlite and MG Organic. Since planting it I've learned this isn't the best mixture, but I don't feel like I can replant it yet because it's so stressed. The bottom leaves are yellowing with the veins a deep green. I've fertilized and tried to make sure I didn't under/over-water. It'd wilt bad in the day and then some days recover with no general pattern. Eventually I noticed tiny little flies were burrowing in the soil and would all come out when I watered. I sprayed Sevn on it, but they keep coming back since they just hide in the soil. Can someone tell me what these things are, if they're causing the problems, and how to get rid of them?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Flies on my bonnet

Welcome!

I use the same mix, MG Orchid mix and MG Organic soil 1/2 and 1/2 but don't add the additional Perlite and that mix is quick draining. Sounds like fungus gnats which means the soil is too wet maybe not at the surface. Stick a bamboo skewer to test the moisture of the soil.

Most of the time letting the soil dry out gets rid of them, if it's bad enough there is a way can't remember at this time, it's posted on the forum will have to check, don't want to give the wrong info on this. Or someone will post it shortly if I don't find beforehand.

Mark


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 26, 12 at 19:24

I agree with habajolokia. Too wet soil is probably the issue with the leaf color and almost certainly those are fungus gnats which like damp soil, especially indoors. Another way to get rid of them is to water with a hydrogen peroxide mixture. One part Hydro peroxide (3% solution) to 4 parts water. This works great for seedlings but if you are in 5 gallon pots now, it might not be very cost effective even at $1/quart. The problem with the fungus gnats is that you have to kill all cycles of the insect. Egg, larva and adult gnat. If not, they will reappear in a week or so. Letting the soil dry out (first few inches) will work but that makes it tough to water the plant when it really needs it. You may be stuck going the pesticide route at this point.
Bruce


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

Awesome thanks Bruce, could not remember if it was peroxide or rubbing alcohol ha ha and did not want to give bad info. What a mess that would have been. I only had to deal with them once and I let the soil dry out and they left shop or died.

@ HeatMiser I will be switching for the 2013 season to the 5-1-1 Mix if you came across that topic in your readings on the forum. That may be a good place to start on a possible switch for you.

Mark


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

Good to know guys. Thank you for the quick response. Only problem is that I just watered today so I guess they'll be there for a while. Is there an effective way to wick some of that moisture away? I have what is essentially an upside down plastic bowl with a bunch of holes punched in it in the bottom of my pot so I think it'd be hard to jam a wick into the bottom. My guess is the stupid thing is clogged up. I don't have any more mix and would hate to go out and spend 15 bucks or so just to save the one plant. If the plant is already showing signs of stress from having wet roots, do you think the H2O2 solution would be advisable?

Hab, I've read up on the 5-1-1 and would like to give it a go, but I have no idea where to find turface or pine bark fine in my area (Kansas City). I haven't looked around just yet, but I probably will before the next growing season.


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

I had bought pots that have holes in the bottom in addition to the bowl thing at the bottom so it really defeates the purpose of the drain holes and creates a water log. I noticed this with my TS peppers they were yellowing, and I knew that the bowl was not allowing sufficient draining. They just pull off with a little umph, I was able to do this with the plant in the container. Quite a bit of water came out the bottom not too good smelling either. I would get rid of the bowl and dry out the soil and either treat at the next watering or hope they check out soon as the soil dries. Once the bowl was gone 1 wk later much better looking plants.


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

This bowl is actually upside down and inside the pot. It almost looks like a pasta strainer without a handle sitting upside down in the bottom. I think I'll pull everything out tomorrow and see if I can't transplant everything to another pot after drying some of the soil out. I've got just a little MG Organic left that has dried in the sun and hopefully not hydrophobic yet. I'll mix that in with it after I pull that stupid colander thing out and that should hasten the drying process. I can't imagine that it would stay hydrophobic for long if it's sitting next to a bunch of waterlogged mix.


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 27, 12 at 1:02

No, dont do the H2O2 thing now if the soil is already wet. If you want to make sure your current container is draining properly, just drill several holes in the bottom. You wont have to repot the plant to do it. Many containers have a catch basin at the bottom that holds approximately 1" of excess water. That water sitting in that basin is no good. I just drill about 8 holes along the bottom edge on containers that have those basins.

You dont have to use Turface for the 5-1-1. Many people use other more common products like garden soil, Peat, etc... As for the pine bark, it took me two years of looking and calling all over heck to find some. I wound up finding it at a local K-Mart garden center of all places.

Check the link below. It is a link to another thread on 5-1-1. In the second entry, I describe the two products I found and even have pictures of the bags and the contents. If you have a Kmart nearby, give it a shot.
Bruce

Here is a link that might be useful: Pine Bark Fines at Kmart


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

I had an infestation of fungus gnats this winter particularly on my pepper and tomato seedlings. I used bottom watering with a weak solution of chamomile tea, which may not be an option for you, but I sprinkled cinnamon on the top of the soil and that worked. I don't know if the cinnamon dried the soil, or if they just didn't like it. You may have some around your kitchen that you can use.


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

esox - I want to preface this by saying I planted this pepper before I came to these forums. My Bonnet is actually in a terra cotta pot that was leftover from the wife's flower craze she went through last year. I don't think drilling holes in the bottom would be an option because it'd just crack. I'm shading the pot as much as possible to keep the terra cotta from baking the roots. Do you think repotting is my only option?

I'll check out KMart. I probably won't need anything until next year and hopefully KMart will still be open then...

northerner - Good to know about cinnamon. I saw on another string that someone used it to get rid of ants too. Apparently the stuff works magic. The kicker is that I've been cold brewing some coffee and tossing the grounds instead of composting because they have cinnamon in them. My friend who used to work at a coffee shop said they would put grounds out for gardeners, but were told not to put out the flavored ones so I was afraid it'd be bad for the garden. Now I know I've basically been throwing away grounds that are possibly better that normal ones.


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

Based on your description (inverted bowl with holes inside the pot), it sounds like it's just taking up space that can no longer be used by the container mix / roots????

Unless it's really large with plenty of space, I'd find another pot or as you mention earlier, just get the colander out of there. You really do need drainage holes, though, some how, some way.


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 27, 12 at 13:51

I vote for repotting in a more friendly pot also. Go with something that holds about 3 gallons or more. Many people simply use 5 gallon buckets and drill holes in the bottoms. They are inexpensive and durable. You can go with a smaller container but most people recommend 3 gallon as a minimum.
Bruce


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

Well, I repotted last night into a five gallon bucket. That soil was definitely wet and it was pretty compact, which surprised me. Esox, thank you for the link to the thread with the KMart info in it. I made a stop there last night and picked some bags of pine bark up and they were on sale no less!

I also happened to drive by a small nursery that had a sign saying 25% all plants so I had to stop by. Vegetables were 50% off so I got a loco pepper and a hot lemon pepper plant for $1.50 total. I was proud of my thriftiness until I realized that meant I was spending more money since I had to make more 5-1-1. I'm fine with it though. I've seen so many purple, chocolate, and black peppers on these forums and was wanting to grow some next year that were more interesting than yellow and red. The loco wouldn't have been my first choice, but I also wasn't expecting to have an oppurtunity to grow anything else this season. It'll need some nursing back to full health, but I didn't have too much to lose.


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RE: Flies on my bonnet

One bag of mulch, even after screening out the big stuff, should be enough to make a couple 5 gallon buckets of mix.

Hot Lemon (I'm assuming similar to Lemon Drop) is a nice pepper. bright citrusy flavor and a good amount of heat (but not too much). Sounds like you're set!


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