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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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peppers are dying

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Post  pavlovaharrison 10/15/2014, 2:55 pm

Hello,
i planted big berta and green bell peppers and they aren't doing good. Losing leaves. Berta's blooms dried without opening. Green bell's blooms opened, but it keeps shedding leaves. The green bell's leaves are browning and berta's leaves curled into tubes. What's eating them?
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Post  camprn 10/15/2014, 5:26 pm

Hi pavlovaharrison! glad you\'re here to the SFG forum. I have a few questions. What did you plant the pepper plants into? And can you post a photo of the problem plant?

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Post  pavlovaharrison 10/15/2014, 6:41 pm

I planted peppers in stagreen garden soil in raised bed
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Post  camprn 10/15/2014, 6:48 pm

pavlovaharrison wrote:I planted peppers in stagreen garden soil in raised bed
did you add anything else? If not I offer a strong recommendation for adding a few inches of good quality mixed compost on top of your current soil and water it well. Sounds like your plants are starving.

For some insight into how we all have more successful gardens, you can find a few great informational threads that pop out on the left side of the main page.

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Post  pavlovaharrison 10/15/2014, 6:58 pm

I added black kow manure
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Post  camprn 10/15/2014, 7:00 pm

pavlovaharrison wrote:I added black kow manure
Recently?  Do you use your house water for the garden? Do you have a water conditioning system?

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Post  pavlovaharrison 10/15/2014, 7:02 pm

The rest of the crops dont seem to be starving, the garden soil is brand new. It rained every other day and, if not enough, i water
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Post  pavlovaharrison 10/15/2014, 7:05 pm

I planted garden about 3 weeks ago. Bought soil, put manure same day as soil. Planted vegetables. Everything grows, peppers die. I use regular house water, hose on side of the house
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Post  camprn 10/15/2014, 7:08 pm

Oh OK, the plants may have experienced transplant shock. Give them a bit more time. If you can do post some photos.

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Post  Marc Iverson 10/15/2014, 7:09 pm

Leaves curl for different reasons. Some tomato plants regularly have curled leaves, and they're in the same family as pepper plants. But sometimes it is disease. And sometimes it is physiological leaf roll, which I've read might possibly be created by changes in the pace at which the plants are getting the chance to absorb water, but there isn't an agreed-upon cause for it yet.

If you can post them, the more specifics the better. Like, did a problem just start or has it been going on for a while, how old were the plants when it started, etc. And photos often make things much clearer.

Regarding your soil, most bagged soil mixes are not very good. They often have too much peat in them, or else too much wood. What is called "topsoil," whether sold as an ingredient in a mix or on its own, is pretty much random, and some topsoil is great and some is lousy.

Sometimes the compost in pre-bagged soils hasn't been composted down too much and you're left with large chunks of stuff in your soil. There can be many kinds of problems. One reason the SFG recommends using a mix of five or more kinds of composts is that it's hard for any one ingredient or source to have the complete nutrition a plant needs. Soil also needs adequate structure and water-retention capabilities, and that's where the other two-thirds of the SFG-recommended growth medium comes in -- vermiculite and peat.

So if you only use one source, like your bagged garden soil, you're likely to have less than ideal soil. A mixture that gives you good nutrition, soil structure, and water retention is best. But that's hindsight now. Your problem is what to do today.

Is it possible for you to post some pictures here so we can take a better look?


Last edited by Marc Iverson on 10/15/2014, 7:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  pavlovaharrison 10/15/2014, 7:09 pm

For some reason i fail to post photos
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Post  camprn 10/15/2014, 7:12 pm

pavlovaharrison wrote:For some reason i fail to post photos
Here are some instructions on how to post photos.
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t129-how-to-post-a-picture-located-on-your-computer

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Post  pavlovaharrison 10/15/2014, 11:43 pm

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Post  sanderson 10/16/2014, 3:40 am

Hi Pavlov, Welcome to the Forum! glad you\'re here

The photo is helpful. It looks like there is a lot of wood pieces in the medium. I looked up your potting soil and it has a lot of peat and wood in it which are not that good by themselves. A well balanced mix is important to the best growth of fruit production.

Have you read the book "All New Square Foot Gardening, 1st or 2nd Edition, by Mel Bartholomew? It's a great help in mixing a nutritious, nice feeling, well draining garden mix.

It looks like you are cutting the leaves off?? Removing dead leaves or diseased leaves is fine, but plants need their leaves to make their food. It looks like the leaves are curling backwards on the plants. ?? This may be a sign of Curly Leaf which is transmitted my insects (leaf hoppers in my area). All of my tomato plants got the disease and I had to remove them. Not flowering, or flowering but not self pollinating, or even pollinating but fruit that aborts are symptoms. Can you take you have someone local look at your peppers to see what they think? Master Gardeners or the University Cooperative extension?

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Post  camprn 10/16/2014, 6:26 am

I see new leaves beginning to grow. Don't give up. okay

If the pepper plant leaf curl is the result of calcium deficiency, those leaves will be permanently disfigured. If the mineral levels are corrected in the growing mix the new foliage will be normal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwpYuP1as-M

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Post  pavlovaharrison 10/16/2014, 9:53 am

I wasn't removing the leaves off plant, they fell off, i just picked them up and threw away, so more plants dont get infected.when setting up a garden I always mix in ground egg shells, which i collect for weeks, dry and then put in soil.
and yes, i read the book by mel, i had made the mix before and grew vegetables in my first bed, but i find it to be out of my price range. In north carolina i had gardens with tomatoes and peppers, some peppers stayed alive till december. I'll give it a couple  more days and decide if it stays or goes.
Thank you everyone for your advice!
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Post  Cajun Cappy 12/6/2014, 4:34 pm

One of the things that prompted me to join this forum was the hopes that I could figure out why cant I grow bell peppers.  I have been trying and experimenting and taking notes for years with no luck.  I can plant in 4 adjacent squares in the same box a Cayenne a jalapeno, a banana, and a bell The three others will grow huge bare bunches and if the frost doesn't get them survive for several years while the bell in the same soil in the same box does nothing.  The next thing I'll try is from an old guy in town who swears that what I need to do is work a spoon of Epsom salt to the square before planting.  I'll let ya know in the spring. 
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Post  Marc Iverson 12/6/2014, 5:10 pm

Welcome to the forums!

Epsom salt as a cure for nearly everything is an old wives tale. It supplies magnesium, which is great if you need it. If you don't, a side effect of its application may be that it limits uptake of other minerals to a detrimental extent.

If you're going to add things to your soil beyond simple organics like a nicely aged compost, there should be a good reason or you may do more harm than good ... in the meantime wasting money doing it, too. A soil test is your best bet before adding new amendments, along with a little research on what pH level your particular plant flourishes under.

From http://homeguides.sfgate.com/add-magnesium-soil-21551.html

Never apply lime or Epsom salts to your soil without first having the soil tested. Applying these amendments when you don't need them can be harmful. Also, always amend your soil before you do any planting; do not apply magnesium amendments to living plants.
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Post  Turan 12/6/2014, 5:50 pm

From what i have gathered is that hot peppers handle heat and variable moisture better.  Bells need both cooler soil and consistent moisture and they drop their flowers from too hot a day much easier than the hot peppers.  they just sound a lot more finicky.  This is just from reading, I am still trying to get good at growing hot peppers.

Maybe this link will be helpful? http://www.tastefulgarden.com/store/pc/Growing-Sweet-Hot-Peppers-d12.htm

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Post  camprn 12/6/2014, 8:43 pm

Cajun Cappy, do you think deep much (3-6 inches) will keep the soil a little cooler under bell pepper plants. If you can cool the soil and keep it steady moist, perhaps you will have a greater rate of success with the bells.

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Post  sanderson 12/7/2014, 2:56 am

Cappy, My summer temps will run over a 100*F for days on end but the humidity is reasonable. Peppers can take the heat but it seems they like their feet cool (thick light colored mulch) and a little shade from the scorching sun. I make tents over them using heavy sheer curtains. Also, they are grouped together, which some indicate may create a little humidity micro-climate for them, good in my desert climate. Humidity is definitely something you don't have to worry about so I am thinking that keeping air flow in their area may help. No blocking beans or tomatoes. Summary: Keep their feet cool, shade their heads and keep good air circulation.
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Post  Cajun Cappy 12/7/2014, 5:53 pm

Thanks for all the wonderful advice.  hot peppers love the heat and I have always had great sucess with them.  So much in fact that we havn't  planted any for 2 years now cause of the plenty we have pickled, in jelly, dried, and frozen.  We are planning to plant some in the spring and Lord willing I'll show yall then.  I will try the bells again un der hay mulch and in the open air corner of herb garden instead of the veggy box.  Also when a 82 year old blue ribbon winning gardener comes over and grabs a hand full of mu dirt sniffs it rolls it in his fingers and says epsom salt well then I am using epsom salt.
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Post  Marc Iverson 12/7/2014, 5:59 pm

You can always make your own bed, as long as you're comfortable lying in it.
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Post  walshevak 12/7/2014, 7:21 pm

I use a  bit of epsom salts and a hand full of powdered milk in the planting holes of my tomatoes.

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Post  sanderson 12/7/2014, 11:05 pm

Peppers. I have mine in pots instead of the SFG beds. Last winter I topped them and put them in a green house to over winter Dec-Feb. Then come Feb/March, trimmed some of the MM out and replaced with home made compost, thin layer of manure, tulle and wood chips of top as mulch. They really produced the second summer. I wonder if yours would produce the second summer? Just thinking out loud.
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