problems with pepper and eggplant plants! please help!

kawaiineko_gardener(5a)January 31, 2014

I tried posting this in the vegetable gardening forum and people recommended I post it in this forum instead.

Please don't derail the thread by arguing over which soil is best and which is inferior. I'm not trying to be rude, it's merely a request.

I tried growing pepper and eggplant plants in 5 gallon containers last year. I ended up with huge plants and little/no fruit.

The soil mixes I used are listed below:

I do container gardening and I make my own soil mixtures.
Listed below are the two main 'soil recipes' I mix up.

2-3 cu ft pine bark fines
5 gallons peat
5 gallons perlite
2 cups dolomitic (garden) lime (or gypsum in some cases)
2 cups CRF (if preferred)

2 parts vermiculite
2 parts peat moss
2 parts perlite
2 parts manure
3 parts soil (top soil/potting soil)

No other vegetable plant except my pepper and eggplants had an issue with either soil mix listed above; all of the other veggies LOVED the soil mixes listed above.

People keep saying that the mixes I have listed use too much peat, that I should use the 511 mix.

I DO use the 511 mix, and I found it right here on garden web via this link...

There are a few different recipes for the 511 mix depending on how big of a batch of soil mix you want to make.

The 'recipe; I use for the large batch of soil IS listed right on the page, as I said I received it from garden web via the link listed above.

All I did was measure out the ingredients in the quantities given for the large batch of soil.

I prefer to use a slow release fertilizer because I can just mix the fertilizer directly into the soil, and it basically feeds them all season long. I also don't have to worry about overfertilizing them by surface fertilizing them too much. (by 'surface fertilizing' i mean applying a liquid fertilizer on the surface of the soil).

I used Osmocote because it was recommended to me when i asked what type of fertilizer is best for container gardening.

However, it's very high in nitrogen. Can somebody recommend a time released fertilizer that is more balanced that is suitable for container gardening?

I've looked at lots of fertilizers, but none of them are designed to be mixed into the soil and aren't compatible with container gardening.

I use the soil mixes listed above, because with the exception of the pepper and eggplant plants, they work for me; I get healthy plants and very good harvests.

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Jay Part Shade (Zone 10B, S21, Los Angeles)

It's not the mix that's the problem, something else is going on. You need to post pics of the plants that aren't doing well in order to fix the problem, otherwise there's no way to really know what's going on.

As for fertilizers, look at Dynamite and others, just make sure they're for veggies, not trees or ornamentals. Sounds like you never switch the plants into fruiting stage -- they're focuses on growing huge with a ton of nitrogen. You could also have a calcium deficiency -- they drop flowers due to lack of calcium.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 10:54PM
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kawaiineko, "I ended up with huge plants and little/no fruit."
My first reaction is that the two plants belong to the same family and that they both are considered "dry weather" plants.
Do the plants flower at all? If "No", then it is likely that the growing conditions, water and nutrients, are all too favorable for growth. You might not be able to do much about the fertilizing aspect, but you might be able to withhold moisture.
Try that but watch out for fertilizer scorch/burn.
If the plants do flower but they wither, try this LINK.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 2:53AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Compost is a low nitrogen fertilizer, so maybe they got too much? If no flowers that might be true. With peppers they do need a long growing season and warm temps to really produce. They are from tropical or arid regions. Minimum outside temp is 70 degrees. Some can grow with less, but they need high temps. I use a cold frame or walls of water till temps reach the right levels.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 12:09PM
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I had blossoms on the pepper plants and what little fruit I did have was small.

People here have suggested 'other fertilizers'. Can somebody plz give names of fertilizers that are compatible with container gardening that have a more balanced NPK?

As I said I've looked at tons of fertilizers, but the ones I've found have been made to be mixed with water and applied at the surface of the soil.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 3:05PM
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kawaiineko, so, they did get fruit but these were small.
A varietal characteristic?
Are others in your neighborhood growing the crop?
Are they more successful?
Are nurseries or box stores promoting the sale of these plants?
Drew51 made a good point about growing the crop outside of its 'season'.
If all the evidence support your efforts, then fertilizer might be the key.
I want to suggest additional Potassium but I am wary for two reasons.
The first is that potassium is somewhat antagonistic to nitrogen. But nitrogen deficiency is easily diagnosed.
Secondly, I would not be surprised if calcium also becomes deficient. So watch for early symptoms of blossom end rot.
There! Now you know all I know about tomatoes.

This post was edited by ronalawn82 on Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 4:36

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 4:34AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

As I said I've looked at tons of fertilizers, but the ones I've found have been made to be mixed with water and applied at the surface of the soil.

Why is that a problem? There are many good brands of those and they have been proven to work quite well for many container gardeners.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:52AM
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digdirt, the short answer is that I do not know. My experience with soluble fertilizer is limited to Miracle Growî and Petersî 14-14-14 on outdoor annual beds weekly; and at 'half strength' on interiorscapes - once or twice a year. I have grown edible plants in Earthboxesî but these units utilize solid fertilizers.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 6:40PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

MG has a better ALL PURPOSE fertilzer that come as liquid. It is formulated as 12 -4- 8. The proportion is right ( 3-1-2). One of the popular granular is OSMOCODE widely used by container growers. Fertilizer like 14-14-14 are out of proportion for most plant needs and in the garden they cause P and K accumulation. K accumulation can cause problem with magnesium uptake. Those fertilizers are just like shooting in the darlk, with the perception that they have plenty of everything you need.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 7:21PM
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