Pepper saga.......... Pepper expert anyone?

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I've already mentioned the problems with our Bell peppers this year. Whitefly and spider mite but these may not be the whole problem. I've look online and can't find these symptoms anywhere. These peppers came from three different places, some I stared myself last spring. Within a week of planting them out their leaves looked "strange." Instead of being smooth and flat, they started to look like seer-sucker, kind of 'puckery' and the plants failed to make normal growth. As the weeks passed they made buds but all flowers and buds fell off along with the bottom leaves. Leaves were still green when they fell. Now over a month later I'm seeing small yellow spots with dark brown centers and leaves are curling upward slightly. It's getting paler between the veins. The plants are tall, spindly, leaves are sparse and only a handful of peppers were produced from 18 plants. In the past few weeks the spider mites and whitefly infested them completely and every spray I used failed to make a difference. Ideas anyone? Thoughts? Suggestions? What disease can this be?
By this time other years we'd have so many peppers we'd be giving them away - and from no more than 6 to 10 plants.
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Google is your friend....pepper plants+diseases....first hit of 254,000+ is a site with descriptions and pictures of all the problems you've described.
Val

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wrote:

You know, a little more fruit in your diet, and you won't be so constipated.
Penelope
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Yes, but the plants cannot. Our soil was very low in Iron when tested.

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Liquid Chelated Iron 32 oz. Price: $10.95
Sulfur Powder 2 lb Price: $4.95
and no heavy metals
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Billy
Bush and Pelosi Behind Bars
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wrote:

I have sulfur powder and used it, but it can affect the soil PH whereas Ironite doesn't. There has to be iron in the soil for the sulfur to work. The soils here are very low in Iron. 32 oz of liquid Iron covers how large a garden? We have several vegetable gardens.

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wrote:

No heavy metals in the sulfur powder either.

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On Sun, 10 Aug 2008 22:47:55 -0500, "Marie Dodge"

This is probably aphid damage.

You don't say what part of the country you're in, or what your cultivation techniques are, but too much or too little water, cool nights (>50F) or hot nights (<~75F), or too much nitrogen can cause flower drop. Aphids and spider mites can spread diseases, too which can weaken the plants cause the flowers to drop as well.

Are the leaves curling long ways, or tip to stem?
Unfortunately the symptoms you're describing could be for several diseases from bacterial spot to Cercospora. Could you post pictures on a site like Photobucket so we can see exactly what you mean?

The problem with spraying is that it kills the insect predators as well as the pests, and the pests bounce back faster. The best way to control aphids is to release lady bugs and stand back. They won't clear out the aphids over night or kill all the aphids, but they'll keep them under control.
I'm also wondering what you're using for fertilizer. I ask because aphids are attracted to plants given high nitrogen fertilizers.

It's been a slow year for my plants; pepper, tomato, and egg plant. I was hand watering at the beginning of the season because of drought and watering restrictions, and I think they just needed more water than hand watering could supply. Once we started having rain, they took off, and are producing enough to make up for lost time. The tomatoes and eggplants are coming in thick and fast, and the peppers aren't far behind.
Penelope
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Perhaps worth a try.
Bill .............
<http://www.seedsofchange.com/enewsletter/issue_28/issue_28.aspProtect
Your Crops Sanely and Humanely Hot Pepper Wax Capsaicin, the ingredient in hot peppers that gives them heat, is a powerful feeding deterrent and will even kill many insect pests. Hot pepper wax is a formulation containing capsaicin, which can be sprayed regularly on plants to prevent damage from aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, thrips, leafhoppers, scales and many other soft-bodied insects. It can also be used as a feeding deterrent for rabbits and deer. Waxes in the mixture help the spray stick to leaves making it last up to two weeks. Be sure to respray newly emerged leaves during that time period. And don't worry, the pepper spray washes off easily enough that it won't linger after harvest.
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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Big brevity snip.

I hesitate to buy even more products since nothing has worked so far. The Neem Oil (about $12) was supposed to work and didn't. Rotenone (around $9) didn't work... couldn't find pyrethrum. The light summer oil ($10) was supposed to work. I have about 8 things here (over $90 w/chemicals) and none made more than a small difference in the whitefly and mite populations. The pests must be gaining immunity to the organic pesticides as they have the chemicals. My gardens are large and it's now starting to run into a lot of money - and there's little improvement.
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<http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=p yrethrum&itemc7>
<http://www.biconet.com/botanicals/rps.html
Sounds like you have a challenge. Best practice may be to go fallow.
Best
Bill
Ps Rotenone has human health issues. Big ones!
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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As I mentioned somewhere here,.. this garden laid fallow 2 years due to an accident I had. Several surgeries on my knee and physical rehab kept me out of the garden. I'm surrounded by woodland and fields... and both are full of insects and bugs. Virus and bacterial diseases have not been a problem. I never saw whitefly here before, or spider-mites. The biggest pests were a few Japanese beetles and the ubiquitous SVB. Aphids one year when we lived in town.
I believe the spidermites came in on a gift palm I recieved last winter. It was incurable so I trashed it this spring. Most likely not before a few mites fell of it.......... :( The whitefly probably came in on one of the seedlings I bought last spring.
Thanks for the URLs.

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Marie Dodge said:

There's an old remedy for spider mites that might be worth a try, and might not be too expensive. It combines wheat flour, buttermilk, and water. The Organic Method Primer recommends it, and various proportions are mentioned. Here's a recipe from a website:
1/8 cup buttermilk 1 cup wheat flour 1-1/4 gallons of water
http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/gt_organic/article/0,2029,DIY_13864_5693956,00.html
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/gt_organic/article/0,2029,DIY_13864_5693956,00.html
Have you found any of these concoctions to work for you? So far the only thing I've seen make any difference this past week is called Organocide. I got it at Lowe's. It's made with fish oil and smells like Cod Liver Oil. We went to the Extension Office today with samples from our garden. The agent didn't find signs of anything but whitefly and 2-spot spider mites. He said they were the worst infested leaves he ever saw. We have to stop making our own compost because there is no real way to kill them off in compost. I could spread the problem all over the property with compost from the gardens. He told us of a place we can get all the free stuff to compost we can haul away. We're going to burn the entire pile we now have and get the shredded stuff he told us about.

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Marie Dodge said:

This one, no, but I have had people say it did work for them. And it even turns up on some extension service websites: http://everest.ento.vt.edu/~idlab/vegpests/vegfs/spidermites.html
And the following article references a study which found that "(f)our applications have been shown to kill 95 % of red spider mite infestation." http://www.infonet-biovision.org/default/ct/236/recipesForOrganicPesticides
But having seed your pictures (after my post) it looks like your infestation is so bad that burning everything would be the best thing at this point. I'd maybe even consider running a flame over every inch of garden.
Then hit every dormant shrub or tree in the vicinity of the garden with some dormant sprays of oil before they break bud next spring.
Then maybe hit the area with lime sulfur after bud break: http://preview.tinyurl.com/6oozzc http://www.infrc.jp/english/KNF_Data_Base_Web/PDF%20KNF%20Conf%20Data/C6-6-238.pdf
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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OK. I'm sure it did. Unfortunately none of the organic products or concoctions have ever worked for us. Many people claim Neem Oil worked for them and it did nothing to even slow them down in my garden. I threw away another $10, $12 for the Neem Oil. The light oil "Organicide" did damage the plants as I thought it might. The mites continue on but the white fly population was cut by maybe 25%. Hardly worth the expense. I would like to know what organic or inorganic actually works on mites other than Kelthane which I can't get anymore. Kelthane was the only product I ever had that killed the mites in two sprayings.

Actually it says: "Flour preparations Flour mixed in water *is said to be* very effective against aphids and spider mites.." I'm curious, said by who? Where were the experiments done and by who? I couldn't find any further information.

No one I know has ever seen such an infestation of whitefly and spider mite, including the extension agent. The heat, low humidity and lack of rain is certainly contributing to this infestation. In fact it's spreading across the grass, other wild plants and the trees on the property around us. It's spread to the flower beds. At this point trying to control the mite and w/flies is a waste of time.

http://www.infrc.jp/english/KNF_Data_Base_Web/PDF%20KNF%20Conf%20Data/C6-6-238.pdf
We live out in the country so that's impossible. We're surrounded by woodland and underbrush, weeds and wildflowers. It would take thousands of dollars and aerial spraying would be required. But thanks for the info.....

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Marie Dodge said:

In reference to wheat flour/buttermilk mite remedy:

Actually, I should have said "no, I've never used it myself." I rarely use any pesticides these day, and even those are mainly limited to soap and pyrethrin.

Neem oil has some very few legitimate uses but is touted as a panacea. And there is no such thing as a panacea. I would have warned you off that...

Lime sulfur, maybe, as per info at: http://preview.tinyurl.com/6oozzc
(Lime sulfur is a long-standing remedy for a long list of mites, including mange mites and chiggers as well as horticultural pests.)
BUT! I wouldn't expect any remedy (even Kelthane, if you could get it) to help at this point. But dusts (flour or mineral) are legitimate remedies for insects and mite pests. Call them 'particle films' and they even sound ...exciting:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/6j3m22
Which takes you to: http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/person/2017/Book%20Chapter % 20Particle%20Film%20Technolgy.pdf
That document contains the following line:
"Although not mineral-based, Ghate and Marshall (1962) suppressed eggs and mobile forms of European red mite and two-spotted spider mites with a combination of buttermilk and wheat flour."
The kaolin-based product, Surround (R), which is mention in the document cited above, is available mail-order to home gardeners from various places (if anyone is interested).

Hell, even people who *don't* live out in the country are surrounded by other peoples yards with plenty of trees, bushes, weeds and flowers which are *completely* beyond their control, let alone being beyond their *budget*! Why did you assume I meant such a hugely extensive action?
Perhaps I should have thrown in the word "immediate" before "vicinity." As in, if you have a row of raspberries, or a hedge row, or a couple of peach trees next to the garden, spray *them* (they almost certainly need the protection, after what's happened this year).
Next year, you will need to invest in prevention, which is always less expensive and more effective than trying to cure. (Prevention is less expensive, though not FREE.)
Right now you are hit hard with "throwing good money after bad" regret/anger, and the fact that the most reasonable action at this point is to destroy everything you planted for this year, which hurts.
HURTS BIGTIME!
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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