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Tue Jul 17, 2012, 05:50 PM

Do we have anyone who grows Bell Peppers well?

I have tried for years, and I have very limited success. Every time, I get few peppers and they always have a thin flesh. This year, of 4 plants, I only have one with any peppers on it...this one is doing well as far as size of plant and leaves, but I just picked the first pepper and here we go again----thin flesh. I would blame the heat and dry conditions, but this happens all the time.

What am I doing wrong, or what should I be doing that I probably am not doing?

On the bright side, the tomatoes are doing fine.

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply Do we have anyone who grows Bell Peppers well? (Original post)
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 OP
Denninmi Jul 2012 #1
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #4
jtuck004 Jul 2012 #2
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #5
JDPriestly Jul 2012 #23
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #24
JDPriestly Jul 2012 #25
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #26
JDPriestly Jul 2012 #27
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #28
JDPriestly Jul 2012 #29
stopwastingmymoney Jul 2012 #30
Melissa G Jul 2012 #3
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #6
NRaleighLiberal Jul 2012 #8
Melissa G Jul 2012 #9
NRaleighLiberal Jul 2012 #10
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #15
NRaleighLiberal Jul 2012 #7
NJCher Jul 2012 #12
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #16
cveillon Jul 2012 #11
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #17
HopeHoops Jul 2012 #13
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #14
mopinko Jul 2012 #18
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #19
Le Taz Hot Jul 2012 #20
BlueToTheBone Jul 2012 #21
Curmudgeoness Jul 2012 #22

Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 06:56 PM

1. How long are you waiting to pick it?

They all have thin flesh at first, the longer you wait the thicker it will get. Ultimate wall thickness is only achieved as it fully ripens to its end color, be it orange, yellow, red, whatever, but it will be basically there when its full sized, dark green with just a flush of its ultimate ripe color.

Maybe it just needs to stay on the plant longer.



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Response to Denninmi (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 08:37 PM

4. Thanks. I will stop being so impatient.

I usually watch for the green (the color that these peppers are supposed to be) to start to get a bit of orange---which I assume means that it is ripened. I will see if waiting longer helps. I did not realize that the pepper got thicker as it aged.

Thanks again.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 07:18 PM

2. I grow garlic more than most things, but we always throw in some tomatoes and peppers.

 



If you get the seeds from the same place all the time, it could be the variety, though that usually wouldn't explain the lack of "fruits", which is more likely temperature or nutrition. We grow most everything in raised beds, and I am always adding compost. It's like an earthworm factory in there.

They need hot. Hot, hot, hot. We always start them inside, then transplant as soon as practical. We have a relatively short season, so they are usually planted through holes in black plastic, increases the soil temp. We lived in Oklahoma City for years, you just stuck them in the ground and got peppers. Now in Eastern Washington, much cooler, and thus harder to grow. Even in a good year it we don't get the yield we got in the South. If that is an issue, you could always make a plastic tent with some pvc, or maybe some old windows and get temps higher.

Could be too much nitrogen - or not enough phosphorus / potassium, they get a little leafy with not many peppers if the nitrogen is too high. If you have the space, or some containers, you could try putting them in a different soil, see if the result is better.

I am spraying liquid kelp on the the leaves this year, and I have some peppers already starting up, my little experiment with foliar-feeding. The sprayed ones do seem to be doing better, both tomatoes and peppers.

Should be able to find a guide to tell you how much to fertilize with the size of your garden - over fertilizing could keep them from setting fruit.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 08:48 PM

5. Yeah, I always thought that peppers were easy to grow too.

This year, I have some in cardboard boxes as an experiment with "raised beds" without the work. My garden is at the top of a hill and the soil doesn't seem to have any nutrients in it, so I have to do something different. The only pepper plant doing well is in a conventional large pot. One in a box was being eaten by slugs, so I know why it didn't do well. One bloomed but the tiny fruit dropped. And one in a box is so-so, may still make it. All of them but one are in the same soil (more experiments).

Heat is not an issue this year. Today my thermometer outside showed 100. It has been a hot year, not enough rain but I have been watering all the time.

Thanks for the suggestions. Let us know how the liquid kelp works. That is an interesting experiment and I love trying different things....especially if they work. This is the first year that I have been trying the instant milk on the tomatoes and it seems to be working fine.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 21, 2012, 12:57 AM

23. Cardboard boxes? That sounds interesting. How are you doing it?

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #23)

Sat Jul 21, 2012, 02:59 PM

24. Cardboard box container gardening

is something that I read about in Birds and Blooms magazine. They hold up long enough for a season, but they will decompose. This is an experiment so I have learned that you want to use sturdy boxes. A few that I used were from copy paper and they started to fall apart with the first watering. Ain't making that mistake again.

Anyways, it is like a raised garden, I lined up boxes and filled them with dirt, then used them like a container. My soil is lousy and there is too much mint and other invasives all over the place, so this keeps everything out of the way. A neighbor is also using it for her cucumbers, and she has never had a better crop.

This is where I got the idea to try this, and I am liking it.

http://www.birdsandblooms.com/Gardening/General/cardboard-gardening

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #24)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 12:08 AM

25. Thanks! That could solve some of my problems.

I do a lot of gardening in relatively small containers. These boxes would be great for tomatoes because I could do away with the box and use to soil for flowers until maybe the soil is revived with lots of compost, etc.

I used to subscribe to Birds and Blooms and then dropped my subscription. Maybe I'll pick it up again.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #25)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 12:08 PM

26. What I really like about it is the price.



A large container pot is so expensive, and you need so many if you are doing container gardening.

And the box will decompose or can go into the compost pile. I loved the idea of this as soon as I saw it.

I get my Birds and Blooms from a friend----we pass them around to several people, so they get well used. She was the one to point me to the cardboard article.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #26)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 03:58 PM

27. Where do you find really heavy boxes?I h

I have a normal kind of box. I wonder whether it would hold up. I am thinking of putting it in a plastic bag.

I was thinking my little grandson would enjoy a shoebox garden.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #27)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 05:30 PM

28. I don't have really heavy boxes,

but I have some of the regular boxes that you get things shipped in, and they worked well. The boxes that copy paper come in do NOT work well....although they are surviving since I put stakes in around them to keep them from falling apart. A shoebox will never hold up from what I have seen of my boxes, but a regular box of the same size would. Or at this time of year, you may be able to use one and it would make it.

Another thing that worked well to keep the boxes in shape was taking the flaps and folding them to the outside, then taping them. That gave extra support. But all of my boxes are still surviving at some level. I did not use any plastic bags in or outside of mine, but if you do, make sure you put drainage holes in them. I don't want to put plastic bags on the inside of the boxes, because I think that it is possible that the roots may use the cardboard (or may even go through the cardboard), and get more moisture or nutrition. I will let you know if the roots did get to the ground when the season is over and I check how this all worked.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #28)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 11:40 PM

29. Good. Thanks. I'll experiment with this.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #29)

Tue Jul 24, 2012, 12:37 PM

30. I'm doing something similar this year with

bags of potting soil laid in a row against the fence. The squash is showing signs of feeling crowded, but the green beans and cucumbers are climbing high and looking great.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 08:14 PM

3. Peppers like it hot and fairly dry

Tomatoes need temps below ninety something degrees to flower. My tomatoes stop a lot sooner than my peppers which go until fall when nothing else is still growing. Talking Texas heat here. Austin is currently pretending to be the pacific northwest.

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Response to Melissa G (Reply #3)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 08:52 PM

6. I didn't realize that Austin was not a desert this year.

Interesting. Sounds like my tomatoes may stop flowering, since the temp was 100 today, but so far, I still have blooms and do have tomatoes as well. I will not worry if they stop flowering because of this heat. And if peppers like hot and dry, they should be tickled pink this year. I will keep trying, and I am going to leave the fruit on the plant as long as I can to see if that helps.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #6)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 10:58 PM

8. Tomatoes will flower in the heat - issue is that they won't pollinate well and the flowers will drop

Esp with larger fruited varieties - cherry types don't seem to mind much at all.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #8)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 08:43 AM

9. Good to know.

Got my info this year from a champion tomato grower- so anecdotal source.

Some years my cherries and roma tomatoes do well, other years its the big ones. Temp is probably the difference. I usually plant both and see what happens.

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Response to Melissa G (Reply #9)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 08:44 AM

10. I've grown 1000 different types in Raleigh over 20 yrs -

another couple of hundred in PA before that - so I've got data on all sorts of things!

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #8)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 05:58 PM

15. Good to know that there are simple reasons for some issues

that we have from time to time. I mostly grow cherry and roma because I don't like to deal with heavy tomatoes....it just causes me to fret over them. I will grow a few medium sized tomatoes, but I give up on the big ones.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 10:57 PM

7. Bell peppers in 5 gallon pots outproduce those I plant in the ground 10:1 at least -

peppers and eggplants like hot roots. I have bumper crops of peppers and eggplant every year since going to containers.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #7)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 11:48 AM

12. Really!

I have a whole group of little peppers and eggplants that were going in the ground today. Now I'm changing my mind and going to the 5-gallon pots, of which I have many.


Cher

p.s. I plant all season long, as I believe the younger plants will outlast the colder temps when fall comes.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #7)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:01 PM

16. Maybe this is why my potted plants are full of peppers

and the ones in my cardboard boxes are not doing as well. I am really glad that I asked my question, because I am learning a lot from this (and about tomatoes too, even though that was not my problem THIS year---they are doing great). Thanks.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 10:54 AM

11. SUNSET Sweet Bell Peppers are second to none!

the best gourmet bell peppers i have ever had (and continue to buy today!) are SUNSET Sweet Bell Peppers....available at nearly all grocery stores across North America....including Costco, Sam's, and Walmart too.

Quality can't be beat; fantastic taste year-round.

They have my $.

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Response to cveillon (Reply #11)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:05 PM

17. Welcome to DU, and the garden group.

I am not looking to buy peppers, I am hoping to grow them. I also don't shop at Sam's or Walmart, and have no Costco here. But thanks for your interest. Maybe we can get you to grow your own too.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 11:58 AM

13. They need a lot of water but with good drainage - don't let the feet stay wet.

 

Use frequent low-content fertilizers (like a 4-5-4 or similar) for top dressing. Do NOT overdo the nitrogen - that juts leads to bushy plants with tiny fruits. If you treat the peppers the same way you do your tomatoes, they should do well. We've got about 30 plants (bell, and two varieties of hot) both inground and in pots. If you grow hots, keep them at least 30 feet away from the bell because they WILL cross-pollinate which leads to slightly hot bells and not hot enough hots.

Their worst enemy is root rot so if the drainage isn't good, improve it before the next season. That said, they do need a lot of water but don't baby them. Water early morning and or late at night but let the soil dry out in between and don't worry if they look "wilted" at the peak of the heat. They need the stress to put out more roots. The roots are everything with nightshades.

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #13)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 05:56 PM

14. Very interesting to know

about the peppers liking to be dry---mine are definitely dry this year. I am watering once a day in pots, they don't stay wet so that is good. I was wondering if my problem was not enough water, so glad I asked before I overwatered. They are wilty in the heat of the day, but I don't water them at that time---I once cooked some plants in pots when I watered at the hottest time of the day and I will not do that again.

LOL, and I think it might be fun to have slightly hot bell peppers. Hmmmm.

Thanks for the info.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 07:48 PM

18. i picked off the first blooms this year on a few, and

they seem to be making more fruit. craig is right about containers. almost all mine are residing in my greenhouse. they are one thing that will stay in containers even after the farm has actual soil.
seems like the hotter the pepper the better the yield.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #18)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 07:54 PM

19. It seems that there is concensus....hot and dry.

It is too late for me to pick off blooms, but I will try that next year with some and see how it goes. One day, with all the different things that I try, I will have it all figured out.

What is funny is that I would expect the boxes I am also trying to be the same as pots, but the one plant in a black pot is the only one doing great. The one pepper I picked had thin flesh, but there are a lot of peppers on it. They ones in cardboard boxes, not so much. So that experiment is not going so well....oh well.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 05:41 AM

20. I'll add to those who have already posted

re container-grown peppers. Yesterday I counted 11 bell peppers ON ONE PLANT. I don't know about any one else but the bells tend to be smaller when grown in pots but they are prolific. At least that's been my experience.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 07:15 PM

21. What's your zone? both heat and cold?

Different environs allow some things to grow better than others. I couldn't grow a pepper to save me on the west coast because of the day length and heat. Here in Arkansas (zone 7/10) I have them doing so well. We'll have roasted peppers to put away.

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Response to BlueToTheBone (Reply #21)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 07:29 PM

22. I believe we are now 6a.

Used to be 5b. Right now, we have heat. But we finally had rain today----yippeeeeee!!!!!!!

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