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New here but ere's a few tips for peppers

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New here but ere's a few tips for peppers

Post  genright on 12/31/2011, 9:26 pm

Hello, I'm new here but not new to SFG. I thought I would throw in some experience of my own for growing pepers. I've been growing the Bhut Jalokia, Devil's Tongue, Trinidad Scorpian, 7 Pot, Cayenne, and many varities of habanero for quite some time, as well as sweet peppers. If these are something you have questions about in your SFG, just holler. One of the things I've experienced is Mel's mix is just slightly off for these peppers. The best mix I've found is, 30% compost, 30% peat, 20% sand, 5% bone meal, and 5% gravel. No vermiculite. This also works excellent for seed germination.

All pepper plants benefit from sulfur, epsom salts, and fish emulsion which I alternate every 3rd week. Reduce watering at flowing and use a small 1\4" paint brush to pollinate. Give your peppers all the sun they can get and DO NOT over water! Most peppers originate from very dry climate. The combination of sand and peat serve them better than vermiculite.

I do use Mel's mix on every other veggie in the garden with great success. However, I've had better luck with the above for peppers of any variety. Thai peppers do well in one square but the more exotic peppers are grown with a 24"x24" square each.

Also, here's a tip on seed starting. Go to the grocery store and pick up small plastic cups in a solid color, drill a 1\4" hole in the bottom and add a layer of gravel. Then crab some the same size in clear. Germinate in the clear and when you water, put the water in the solid color cup. Put your clear cup starters clear cup in the solid cup about 1\4 full of water and let it soak it up. When transplanting, put a dusting of sulfur in the hole and your seedlings will thrive. Just my input to what looks like a really great site!
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Re: New here but ere's a few tips for peppers

Post  quiltbea on 1/1/2012, 12:59 am

Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your input.

It never hurts to get good info about growing food on this forum. If it works for you, it might work for us as well.
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Re: New here but ere's a few tips for peppers

Post  fiddleman on 1/1/2012, 9:14 am

Welcome genright, you are exactly right, this is a great forum and the people here are very friendly.

I have a couple of questions about the mix you use... I agree with the 30 percent compost and the 30 percent peat moss, but I start having problems with the sand and gravel parts and why they would be better than vermiculite. See, my issues with this comes from both of these items do not contribute to the mix nutritionally nor to the water retention and only minimally to drainage (low amount of gravel). Sand has issues since water and nutrients move through sand soils fast meaning both need frequent replenishing. The sand contributes to a denser soil allowing more support for the plant, the gravel would work for drainage to a degree, but in it's lower proportion at just 5 percent not enough to increase the drainage with any great significance. I especially have problems with the no vermiculite at all. If the sand and the gravel are for drainage how does do they do it better than vermiculite? Vermiculite has water retention capabilities, plus it helps to hold onto the nutrients so they don't wash away, all this with the added benefit of giving aeration to the soil. If you believe since the plants came from a drier environment a well draining soil would be better, then why not water less and use the vermiculite. I would be interested in your line of thinking.

The bone meal generally won't hurt anything since it's general purpose
is to have a slow release fertilizer higher in phosphorus and giving a
small boost in nitrogen levels. Depending on the source of the bone
meal, they also may add potash to help balance the mix. I've NEVER needed bone meal in our mix, but I have a pretty good compost too.

Sulfur is used usually for a few reasons, to lower pH, reduce calcium in the soil, and as a fungicide. While sulfur may help the plant absorb iron, normally it's not needed for that purpose. In the west they tend to have higher calcium levels in the soil so perhaps it would be needed if the sand is gathered locally, but especially east of the Mississippi river where the higher rainfall washes the calcium from the soil much faster so it is unlikely to be needed for that reason. I personally am not crazy about adding a fungicide unnecessarily to the soil since most of the fungus in the garden helps more than hurts. So your mix I am guessing must be too high in pH for the peppers and and you are trying to keep the pH lower. What pH are you attempting to keep the pepper soil at, and how much different is it from the Mel's mix, how much do you add and how often are you testing to keep it at that particular pH number.

I would love to see you post some pictures of the side by side gardens of the genright mix vs. Mel's mix. Each using the 5 good composts and on the Mel's mix one without the dusting of sulfur and Epsom salts, and fish emulsion, and of one with your mix with the additions. Keeping track of the water of course how much is used, growth charts and such. I am not saying yours doesn't work for you, but I suggest it is regionalized to your climate. We get too much rain here to use much sulfur, and I wouldn't eat those hot things anyway!!!

Without being confrontational, it would take a LOT of proof to get me off the Mel's mix bandwagon and agree with your suggestions. Some data of soil tests, pictures, side by side comparisons, and attempts around the country using your mix would be needed to try and say your mix is an improvement in all climates. My experience with a similar mix with Green Peppers, is contradictory to yours; Mel's mix is the superior mix for these plants; at least in mid-Michigan.

Thanks for posting and welcome!

Mark
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Re: New here but ere's a few tips for peppers

Post  llama momma on 1/1/2012, 9:31 am

When all is said and done I'm thinking there are many variables that contribute to growing fine tasting peppers. And So many ways to use them, salads, stir-fry, with steak, etc. drooling drooling
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Re: New here but ere's a few tips for peppers

Post  walshevak on 1/1/2012, 9:42 am

Peppers in pots of MM were the only things that survived the very hot, dry summer we had this past year and we got bumper crops of the hot varieties and the mini bells. Still have some golden mini bells on a plant under a hoop and the cayennes are still blooming in spite of a few light frosts. We did give then a boost of 5 way compost in early Sep.

Kay

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