pepper fruit set is low

I have 6 pepper plants growing outside my kitchen window, on the East side of the house where they are sheltered from the hottest afternoon sun.
While initially I was happy to see quite a few blooms on the plants, I have since noticed that relatively very few of the more recent blooms have set fruit.
I have 1 Pimento, 1 Big Bertha, 1 yellow banana, 1 Gypsy, and 2 fooled you no heat jalapenos. Pimento seems to be having the most problem, but all seem to be suffering from a lack of fruit set. Plants are quite healthy, and have grown from about 12" tall to 2' tall over the past month. We have all the plants well mulched with straw, and my kids water the plants about 1 quart each morning using a ceramic watering pig thing that my wife bought. If we've missed a day, I'll go out and give each plant a half gallon, especially on the hottest, driest times. (we haven't had appreciable rainfall in weeks) Day temps have been in the low to mid 80's, and night temps in upper 50's to 60's.
My Dad used to use some sort of fruit spray on tomatoes years ago to make higher numbers of the flowers set fruit. The resulting fruits had few seeds, but still tasted just as good. Do they have something similar I could use on the pepper plants in the mornings when the flowers are open?
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(snip)
Since the plants are growing well, I suspect that they are over fed and over watered and simply want to vegetate. The temps look to be on the low side for peppers. We had a very comfortable year here for people last summer but the garden suffered.
You might want to pull the mulch back from your peppers (unless it is plastic) and allow the ground to warm up and dry out a little. Some stress would be an indication to the plant that it is time to reproduce.
http://www.fiery-foods.com/dave/garden8.asp The Pros and Cons of Fertilizing
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wrote:

How many hours of sunlight are they getting? Since the house is blocking the afternoon sun, I'm guessing that it's a heavy shade. If that's true, they would need a bare minimum of 6 hours of direct sun to produce worth a hoot. The fact that they're growing tall makes me think not enough sunlight is the problem, as well.
I don't think you're over watering, unless the soil drains poorly, but you might want to consider watering deeply once or twice a week rather than a quart a day. I understand getting the kids involved, though; and I'd love to see a picture of the watering pig!
You don't mention fertilizers, and you do seem to be getting blooms, so you might consider tapping individual flowers with your finger in the mornings to get them to self-fertilize.
Or:
http://www.gardensalive.com/product.asp?pn ƒ25&bhcd218894207
http://www.gardeners.com/Vegetable%20Blossom%20Set%20Spray/34-444,default,pd.html
or even:
http://tinyurl.com/65kto2
You don't say what zone you're in or what geographic location, but if the temperatures you're describing are typical, I don't think afternoon sun would be too harsh for peppers. I'm zone 8, and my plants get full afternoon sun year after year, and do beautifully. Even last year when we had two weeks in a row of 100F heat, the plants themselves were fine. Lost a lot of blossoms to the high nighttime temperatures, but the plants thrived.
Penelope
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If the plants look like buggy whips, I would agree, but if they are filled out, four feet doesn't sound unreasonable. I'm on the north side of a hill in a forested area and my jalapenos grow to three feet with good production.
While temps above 100 F will cause plants to expend their energy on pumping water for evaporative cooling, low temps would mean not enough energy to set fruit.
To sum up: If your plants are tall and skinny, you don't have enough sun. If you plants are bushed out, I'd cut back watering until the ground was dry in the top 1/2 inch and feed with an organic 0-10-10.

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wrote:

Different pepper varieties grow normally to different heights. Length of season, available nutrients, etc can effect the height of individual plants. Corno Di Toro plants easily hit 5 and 6 feet around here, and several of the C chinense varieties get to 5 feet if we have a warm fall.
Two feet is about normal for several of the varieties OhioGuy mentioned, but he doesn't mention how bushy they are, or the size of the stems. He also says that they are protected from the afternoon sun. So, how much sunlight they're getting is the first thing I want to know.
I've grown peppers in limited light situations, the house I used to live in had an enormous pecan tree smack dab in the middle of the yard, and the yards on either side had large trees, too. It's doable, but they did take more tending and fussing to get good production. If OhioGuy has a full sun location he can put the plants in, I would heartily recommend he do so.

Only, they're not really expending energy to transpire. The evaporative process itself is what draws most of the water up. As I understand it, and it has been more years than I care to admit to since I took any ag courses, the transpiration and heat drives other metabolic processes that normally shut down at night. I want to say it has something to do with using sugars for growth as fast as it's produced instead of storing it; but I could be conflating peppers with potatoes.
Penelope
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Agreed, poor choice of words on my part. The point I was trying to make is that the evaporative cooling (water use) will take precedence over the production of glucose and therefore vegetative growth or fruit setting.
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The east side of a house doesn't get enough sun for peppers. Peppers do best in full sunlight.
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There is a line of trees about 70 feet East of our house. They were trimmed back rather heartily by the power line guys this spring. There is a rather filtered sun from 7 to about 10:30. Then there is direct sun from maybe 10:30 to 2:30 or so. After that, they get indirect sun for another 5 hours. The whole yard is open, so even with the indirect sun, they are getting something.
I ended up using some of that tomato fruit set spray, and in just the last week I now have an additional 30 peppers set on the plants.
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I'm glad to hear that. :) All our pepper plants were lost to the spider mites and whitefly.
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Out of my 6 pepper plants, 1 appears to be a bit stunted and shorter - it is the banana pepper plant. When I look at the plant up close, I see that the base of the plant, where the main stem meets the ground, seems to be brown and not hard like the rest of the stem - almost as if there is some sort of "infection". The plant has not died, but it isn't really growing much, either. I have mounded soil up around the affected area, hoping that it may grow additional roots through the soil. Should I apply some sort of fungicide or other chemical? Should I tear out the plant to make sure this doesn't spread somehow to the neighboring plants? Leaves and fruit on the affected plant seem slightly yellower and smaller than the rest of the plants.
Even with this shortcoming, after applying the tomato fruit set spray roughly 10 days ago, I now have 57 peppers on my 6 plants - fully double what I had 10 days ago, when I complained about low fruit set. One of my jalapeno peppers has a couple of places now where there are 3 peppers together in a "bunch"!
I would heartily recommend the tomato fruit set spray to anyone who has healthy pepper plants that otherwise don't seem to be bearing as heavily as they ought to be. Spraying it once and waiting less than two weeks for the plants to respond seems to be all that is required.
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That most likely wont happen with a pepper plant. It will only encourage the infection to spread by omitting air and light and dryness. I would remove that soil and let the stem breathe.
Should I apply some sort of

That's hard to say. It could be disease or a need for shot of fertilizer, most likely nitrates at this time of year. Does it look diseased? Blotches or spots on the leaves? Mottling or curled leaves? Mottled peppers? There's an organic concentrate for disease called Serenade. It's supposed to control molds and mildews. I just got it so don't know if it works or not. If it looks diseased to you, you may be better off pulling it before it spreads.

What store carried the tomato fruit spray? Did you get it online? I hope they have it at Dicken's Turff. We're going there this week, one day. My husband thinks the Greensand will be better than the questionable Ironite. The rest of my peppers, in very good health in the other gardens, are setting very few peppers. Very odd. By now we're usually rolling away in peppers. :*(

Did you spray the open blossoms?

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It was our local Ace Hardware. They had an 8 ounce bottle for $6, and it was worth every penny.
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