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To Grow or Not to Grow(Peppers), that is the question

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Post  Kate888 2/15/2014, 9:59 am

So, as I plan my garden this year, I'm trying to decide whether to try sweet peppers again this year or if I can find a better use for the space.

I have grown sweet peppers the last two years, but just have not gotten much out of it.  Last year was too cool, I know, but I don't know what happened the previous year.  It was nice and hot then.  My jalapeno did great that year, bumper crop, and it produced some last year, but not the sweet ones.  Did I just have bad luck or are they something that are harder to produce a good crop?
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Post  walshevak 2/15/2014, 10:04 am

I don't get as many peppers per plant as I would like, but I plant them anyway for the variety.  To save my precious bed space for as many other veggies as I can, I plant peppers and tomatoes in 5 gal buckets.   

Kay

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Post  R&R 1011 2/15/2014, 11:00 am

My green peppers (California Wonder) I got maybe 4 from 1 plant.  Sad
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Post  boffer 2/15/2014, 11:46 am

I get 4-5 sweet peppers per plant. I thought that growing them in a summer greenhouse would improve production, but it hasn't.

In the same environment, hot peppers do so well that I end up giving most of them away.
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Post  landarch 2/15/2014, 12:15 pm

I think sweet peppers are more difficult to grow than hot peppers.  My jalapeno, chili, habanero, and cayenne peppers are loaded year after year no matter the weather.  Sweet peppers are small and thin-walled.

I talked to a few people at a local farmers market about this...and they said they could almost guess what I was doing wrong.  "Did you buy bedding plants from a nursery?"  I answered "yes".  They both said "there's your problem...their genetics are crap...grow your own from seed and choose the right varieties."  They grew thick-walled, blocky peppers for market; Socrates, Aristotle, King Arthur, etc.

So this year I will try my sweet peppers from seed...picked up some Fat 'N Sassy and Giant Marconi...so we'll see how it goes.

I also have heard that peppers like hot days and cool nights...just like temps in the desert...my peppers really take off in September...90 degree days with cooler nights.
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Post  CapeCoddess 2/15/2014, 1:11 pm

I've had the same experience - hot peppers no matter what and only a few sweet peppers.  But Camprn says I need to cut the plant way back in the beginning to get it to bush out.  I know it'll be hard to do but I'll try it this year.  Maybe that's the secret.

Did you folks cut your sweet ones way back at the beginning?

CC
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Post  FamilyGardening 2/15/2014, 1:21 pm

we always have problems growing CA wonder sweet bell peppers as well....we would get a bunch of them on the plant but they were small...... yet sweet yellow banana peppers in a topsy turvy did great!....this year we are trying new seeds.....King of the North suggested from Seattle Seed Co......

happy gardening
rose
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Post  meatburner 2/15/2014, 1:35 pm

CC, we cut our sweet peppers grown from seed back to 4 bottom leaves.  It make a huge huge difference.  The plants are way stronger, bushier and production increases dramatically.  We have a nice long growing season here (about 180 days), which may make a difference.
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Post  boffer 2/15/2014, 1:41 pm

Do over-wintered pepper plants produce better the following year?

I'm trying it for the first time this winter.
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Post  CapeCoddess 2/15/2014, 1:45 pm

meatburner wrote:CC, we cut our sweet peppers grown from seed back to 4 bottom leaves.  It make a huge huge difference.  The plants are way stronger, bushier and production increases dramatically.  We have a nice long growing season here (about 180 days), which may make a difference.
The bottom 4 leaves!?  Shocked  Ouchie wa wa.  But I'll do it.

Thanks for the confirm,
CC
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Post  CapeCoddess 2/15/2014, 1:48 pm

boffer wrote:Do over-wintered pepper plants produce better the following year?

I'm trying it for the first time this winter.
Boffer, I have no idea.  But do you have them in the house or in a green house?  I'm thinking if I have to chop them back so severely I should probably start them now, but I only have the window.

CC
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Post  reservoir 2/15/2014, 1:48 pm

I never had  peppers bigger than an egg when I was growing under cover as per instruction of transplant producer.  Then two years ago DH put one out accidentally in flower bed and we had 4 huge thick walled peppers.  Thinking it was insect pollination ( flower bed)  I put three out in different locations, again I got 4 great fruits per plants.

This year I am growing from seeds and I will top them.  See how it goes.
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Post  boffer 2/15/2014, 2:06 pm

CC, I grew them in pots in the greenhouse last summer. I moved a couple indoors in an out of the way place (no lights), and a couple I left outside in a sheltered, slightly warmer location.

They're dormant. Actually, they look dead! I have no idea if they'll start growing when it warms up. I read about over-wintering them so that they come back heartier and more prolific, so I thought I'd try it.
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Post  camprn 2/15/2014, 3:59 pm

I found that the peppers, tomatoes and particularly the aubergine responded quite favorably when I planted them into boxes I had moved onto the pavement of my driveway; they thrived in the higher temps there.

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Post  sanderson 2/15/2014, 4:38 pm

boffer wrote:Do over-wintered pepper plants produce better the following year?

I'm trying it for the first time this winter.

Me, too. I'm going to cut out a wedge-band of the MM at the perimeter and replace with new compost. Then recover with wood chips. Experiment. I cut the stems to 6-10 inches and there are little suckers growing at the former leaf nodes.

Question: How many nodes should I leave? I just saw on another Topic that 4 is a good number for bells? I wouldn't mind if the hot peppers really bushed.
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Post  camprn 2/15/2014, 6:24 pm

sanderson wrote:
boffer wrote:Do over-wintered pepper plants produce better the following year?

I'm trying it for the first time this winter.

Me, too.  I'm going to cut out a wedge-band of the MM at the perimeter and replace with new compost.  Then recover with wood chips.  Experiment.  I cut the stems to 6-10 inches and there are little suckers growing at the former leaf nodes.

Question:  How many nodes should I leave?  I just saw on another Topic that 4 is a good number for bells?  I wouldn't mind if the hot peppers really bushed.
I'm not sure what you mean by nodes.
When I grow peppers the first year I pinch the terminal end and typically get 3 or 4 branches. They next season I cut this branches to about 8 inches from the soil level. This will give a bushier plant and more blooms.

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Post  R&R 1011 2/15/2014, 6:33 pm

FamilyGardening wrote:we always have problems growing CA wonder sweet bell peppers as well....we would get a bunch of them on the plant but they were small...... yet sweet yellow banana peppers in a topsy turvy did great!....this year we are trying new seeds.....King of the North suggested from Seattle Seed Co......

happy gardening
rose
I almost bought some King of the North seeds, but figured Ill use up my CA wonder first.
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Post  jmsieglaff 2/15/2014, 10:09 pm

I've struggled too with sweet pepper production.  Last year I tried King of the North and the production was best I've had for large bells and I will do some again this year.  I also planted a lot of Yummy Small Bells--the red, orange, and yellow ones you see sold in bags in the store.  They really produce nicely, are crisp, sweet and crunchy and have few seeds.  And are open pollinated as an extra bonus.
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Post  jmsieglaff 2/15/2014, 10:24 pm

meatburner wrote:CC, we cut our sweet peppers grown from seed back to 4 bottom leaves.  It make a huge huge difference.  The plants are way stronger, bushier and production increases dramatically.  We have a nice long growing season here (about 180 days), which may make a difference.
I'm intrigued by this--part of me thinks to give it a try, but I could see myself chickening out.  When do you prune back--after planting out or as soon as they start growing 5th and 6th true leaves?
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Post  quiltbea 2/15/2014, 10:37 pm

Camprn.....Do you mean to tell us you get a 2nd year of production from your peppers?  What's your secret?   What variety?  I never tried a 2nd yr.
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Post  Goosegirl 2/15/2014, 10:41 pm

I am trying King of the North this year as well. If they do well, I want to pot them up and bring them inside to see if I can keep them alive through the winter and set them out for a second season. Supposed to be possible, but will my cats behave around them..... thinking 

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Post  meatburner 2/15/2014, 11:24 pm

jmsieglaff wrote:
meatburner wrote:CC, we cut our sweet peppers grown from seed back to 4 bottom leaves.  It make a huge huge difference.  The plants are way stronger, bushier and production increases dramatically.  We have a nice long growing season here (about 180 days), which may make a difference.
I'm intrigued by this--part of me thinks to give it a try, but I could see myself chickening out.  When do you prune back--after planting out or as soon as they start growing 5th and 6th true leaves?
We prune this way before planting out into the garden.  The plants have been potted up at least once and then pruned this way.  It sounds drastic but works so well.
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Post  Windsor.Parker 2/16/2014, 1:36 am

boffer wrote:CC, I grew them in pots in the greenhouse last summer.  I moved a couple indoors in an out of the way place (no lights), and a couple I left outside in a sheltered, slightly warmer location.

They're dormant.  Actually, they look dead!  I have no idea if they'll start growing when it warms up.  I read about over-wintering them so that they come back heartier and more prolific, so I thought I'd try it.
Boffer, hopefully several of our 2 y/o, HOT pepper plants will produce again this year! They were heartier and more prolific last year than their 1st year. We have a couple of sweet pepper plants overwintering indoors now, and yes ours look dead too! ALL of them are in 5gal. buckets (self-watering type). The roots of your plants might like some compost tea or some plant food.
Good luck.
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Post  camprn 2/16/2014, 6:41 am

quiltbea wrote:Camprn.....Do you mean to tell us you get a 2nd year of production from your peppers?  What's your secret?   What variety?  I never tried a 2nd yr.
I have a few that I pot up and bring inside for the winter. I cut them back to about 18 inches before digging them out of the garden then they go relatively dormant for the winter. I prune them back to 8-12 inches in February. I will set them out in the garden after Memorial day. I have a 4 year Serrano and a two year peperoncino this year.

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Post  Boz 2/16/2014, 2:58 pm

I watched a video on pepper pruning last year.
There are many sites on you tube showing how to prune, the one I watched was
 Prune peppers

The results were so good that all my peppers will be started early and pruned.
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