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Sweet Pepper advice for the rookies...

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Sweet Pepper advice for the rookies...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/13/2011, 6:03 pm

Ok, ok, I'm a rookie, too, when it comes to peppers. But, I'm also a research dork, and I found this very useful. I transposed most of it, but it's not my wording in it's origination. I am in my first season of an actual attempt at peppers. Repeat with me....I WILL get peppers I can use this summer! Now, believe it.

Peppers are best started from seeds indoors in late winter and then transplanted into the garden after the soil and air have warmed in the spring. Here is the problem I see being violated on this forum all the time....people planting too early... The plants cannot tolerate frost and do not grow well in cold, wet soil. When night temperatures are below 50° to 55°F, the plants grow slowly, the leaves may turn yellow and the flowers drop off. Raised beds, black plastic mulch and floating row covers may be used to advantage with peppers to warm and drain the soil and enhance the establishment of the young pepper plants in spring, when cool weather may go on and on and on.

Peppers thrive in a well-drained, fertile soil that is well supplied with moisture. Remember, you CANNOT overwater your SFG. Use a starter fertilizer when transplanting (not necessary in an SFG imo). Apply supplemental fertilizer (side-dressing) after the first flush of peppers is set (this may be advantageous even in the SFG). Because a uniform moisture supply is essential with peppers, especially during the harvest season, irrigate during dry periods. Hot, dry winds and dry soil may prevent fruit set or cause abortion of small immature fruits.

Again, I see a lot of questions regarding watering and fertilization in the SFG. Folks, let's remember that Mel says the compost portion is enough. But, let's not be completely naive, either. SOME plants will need a little boost from time to time. Your extra boost will be different than mine. But, fish emulsion, worm castings, an extra shot of compost, or compost tea are all acceptable things. Your heavier feeding plants will most definitely benefit from these side-applications. But, watch your plant for signs. This is the experience portion of gardening whether you are new to SFG or not. In other words, let's not overdo things in the side-dressing arena. Your garden is already set up well for you...provided you followed the book.

And, another area I think worth mentioning is that when you spend a lot of money on fertilizers in the SFG, you let a lot of money drain right out of your pockets...literally. MM drains so well, a lot of your fancy fertilizers run right out the bottom. So, replenish your composts and go easy on deviating from the method as a whole.

Now, go out and tend to your peppers. Happy Gardening!

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Re: Sweet Pepper advice for the rookies...

Post  stripesmom on 5/13/2011, 7:59 pm

Very nice post BBG. I just got in from covering my peppers and tomatoes. We went from a high of 95 the other day to 52 today. The lows the next few nights will be in the lower 40's. Even though it's past the last frost here, it's still hard on the little plants.

I've grown peppers for a long time. They usually do fine in my soil and it's horrible stuff-hard clay. I can only imagine what the peppers will do this year in MM.

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Re: Sweet Pepper advice for the rookies...

Post  staf74 on 5/13/2011, 9:04 pm

to that post!

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Great information!

Post  Menditha on 5/14/2011, 12:45 am

Yes, thank you BackyardBirdGardener! I've been experiencing these very problems with my peppers and thought maybe they needed feeding. Turns out it was simply getting too cool for them at night yet. Now that it's warming up (and I do mean WARM), they are looking better, greening up, and putting out a little new growth. I was patting myself on the back thinking it was my fertilization attempts, but turns out it was just the warmer weather!

It's also reassuring advice about not being able to over-water. Some experienced gardener friends (not SFG) were somewhat shocked that I was watering my garden every day, including my peppers. I guess with standard gardening that might be a problem, but it has been so dry and windy here and they just aren't familiar with my growing medium, are they?

Thanks again for helping us rookies!


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Re: Sweet Pepper advice for the rookies...

Post  shannon1 on 5/14/2011, 12:52 am

Yes MM is key but in the case of 2 poblano peppers I bought (the only ones in town) it was MMM Mel's Miricale Mix. I kinda thought these plants were going to end up a waist of money since the poor plants had been in their 4" pots sooooo long they were about a foot tall and had one mature pepper on each plant already Shocked . I had my heart set on growing poblanos as they are my favorite peppers so I got them anyway.
The weather here is plenty warm so I added an extra scoop of worm castings to each of their squares. Cut off all flowers and fruit crossed my fingers. Wonder of wonders 2 wks. later they are doing great. Lots of new growth, new leaves, new side branches, and tons of tiny buds have formed. I have grown peppers plants since the first year I started gardening they are so pretty and diverse between the chilies and sweets so many colors and shapes they are one of my most beloved vegies. In the garden now aside from the pobs I have one hot chilie III, one purple beauty (sweet bell), one datil, 2 red bells, and 1 ? pepper.
Datil peppers are a thin walled, hot, heirloom pepper brought to St.Augustine Fl. by the by Minorcan settlers. They had arrived in St. Augustine as early as 1776 after escaping the indigo plantations farther south in New Smyrna Beach, where they had been indentured servants. So if you grow a garden in St.Augustine, If you don't grow Datils I think they fine you, give you a citation or something. So if you are interested in chilies or heirlooms and want some seeds I should have some by the end of the season as the amount will be limited the first 5 people who PM me requesting seeds will get them for planting next spring.

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Re: Sweet Pepper advice for the rookies...

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