Hi all. Returning to Usenet after many years, as well as to gardening.
I've had some early successes so far this year (Lettuce is doing nicely
and some cherry tomatoes I started way too early in December have some
nice fruits already).
I'm also growning peppers again, which I've tried in the past with
minimal success. I'm in upstate NY, Zone 6, growing California Wonder
bells and Hungarian Wax, both from a local seed company. I planted them
in mid-January and started transplanting into my raised bed about a week
or two ago. The area I've planted them in gets plenty of sun.
The trouble I've always run into has been that peppers for me have never
grown much beyond about 9-12" and only set a few fruit. I was surprised
to read recommendations for staking peppers.
I had a soil test done last fall, and the area has plenty of phosphorus,
magnesium, and calcium. No notable deficiencies. The pH was 7.2, and
I've since added a good bit of peat moss, partly to lower the pH but
mostly to break up the clay soil.
I'm wondering if there's something obvious I'm doing wrong. Is there
something I should be looking for that would explain why they haven't
Thanks in advance for any advice. It's nice to see such an active
newsgroup still going strong.
my green pepper experience (with the california
wonder) is different from my red pepper experience.
so far, when i've amended the clay here for peppers
the green peppers have reacted by growing a lot of
green leaves, but not many peppers. when i've grown
them in our clay and not amended they have produced
plenty. [we now grow only a few green pepper plants
because neither of us likes them much as compared to
how much we like the red peppers instead. we also
don't grow anything hot/spicy. Mom has no desire or
tolerance for heat, i like some, but can get plenty
from a bottle of hot sauce when desired]
the red peppers have all done great only after i've
amended them (i use worms/wormpee/wormpoo). if i grow
them in our normal clay soil they don't bear much at
peat moss has little actual nutrition and while the
organic matter will help with the clay it tends to
also end up making excellent bricks if you get a dry
do you have full sun and warmth? enough water and
i'll be planting out our peppers soon (the next
few days once we get through some family events).
they mostly need warmth/sunshine and we've had
nights down into the 40sF yet (last week). this
week has a few low 50sF, but at least no frost is
one season we had a cold snap that took all the
leaves off the pepper plants, but they sprouted
back out and did ok.
I'm hoping to add some homemade compost to the bed soon, once it's ready.
The peat partly to get the pH down a little, but is there a better way
to amend clay to make it less bricky?
For nutrition, I've been using a 1-0-2 kelp fertilizer. I'm assuming
I should expect a fairly deep green in the leaves. Some of them seem
a bit on the pale side.
Probably the sunniest part of our back yard. As for water, it seems
we've had a very wet spring this year in NY. I never kept any notes
in the past (I've started doing that this year), so I not sure if that
might have been a problem. I've just learned they like it humid, so
maybe I should give them more water between the storms.
They might be a little closer than ideal, but I also have one in a
good size pot, though that just went in a few days ago, so I'll see if
there's a difference as the summer progresses. Do you know if peppers are
sensitive to being root-bound? One year I played with growing tobacco
(another nightshade) and everything I read about it was that it will
barely grow at all if it's at all root-bound. When I transplanted one
that was stuck at 2" tall, it had a huge root system and took off once it
had more room. So I've been curious if peppers have similar tendencies,
though I haven't seen roots to the edge of the containers when I've
I thought we were in the clear on sub-50 temps, but we had a low in
the mid-40sF last night. Luckily I remembered and took in the potted
(and to be planted) peppers and covered the ones in the raised bed to
keep them a bit warmer.
i add sand and plenty of organic materials
(pretty much anything i can get that will rot is
good), wood ashes (silicates, some carbon chunks,
increase the pH a bit). i layer them all and
then as i garden for the next few years in that
space it will gradually all get mixed together.
the layers are down 12-24 inches depending upon
how much of what i have. if i have anything
extra i'll put that down deep as a carbon store
if i need any later i can dig it up again and
the worms and drainage are improved by having
it. sometimes i get some interesting fungi
digesting the woody materials. after a single
season most stuff i bury looks like a peat moss
type material. i only do this in a new garden
space as it can be a lot of work, but from
then on i usually don't disturb a garden quite
so much and only as i go through and bury the
garden debris from a season. so only 1/10 to
1/5 of a garden may get dug out much as i
rotate my plantings through it. just depends
upon how much organic materials i get to work
i've yet to test the soil here other than by
visual inspection and noting what is changing as
the years go by. in most gardens the changes are
also shown by diversity of life and how many worms
are in there when i do any digging during the
spring. the soil is many shades darker now than
it was before. the veggies that used to struggle
and looked poorly have kept improving (beets
seemed to be a good indicator species for me -
when i first was growing them the leaves were
often full of holes and not very big, pale
areas, etc. now they grow pretty well in most
i've kept it simple here with using the
worm stuff and if i can i will top dress with
some alfalfa or birdsfoot trefoil clippings,
but i don't always get to that and i've not
really noticed a huge difference within a
season (but i do notice the difference over
the longer haul).
it varies by type from what i've experienced.
i don't do much at all in pots so i can't answer
this question from personal experience, yet i do know
that some people do grow certain peppers in pots and
seem to be ok with it. seems like it is the smaller
tobasco types. i'm not recalling anything about the
rest of the varieties. George might have more to say
about this. :)
we just had some hail so i'll be interested to
see what the morning brings. last year or the year
before we had hail that shredded some of the squash
plants but did very little damage to the peppers or
anything else for that matter, so i'm not too
worried. the squash plants didn't seem all that
bothered by it either.
maybe more rain this evening if we're lucky.