only watering peppers once a week?

AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)July 9, 2014

I have been watering my peppers only once a week on average even though temps have been close to 100 with no rain. I have been waiting until they are wilting in the morning, not mid day full sun wilt. Does this sound right? I have eight pepper plants, bell, Anaheim, and jalape�o, mulched with straw.

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loribee2(CA 9)

I would not wait for a plant to wilt to water it. Wilt is a sign of stress, the plant is pulling water from the leaves to supplement the roots. If you're finding that happens on about the 7th day, I would be watering every 5 days, give or take.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:54AM
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2ajsmama

Actually for peppers you should wait until it wilts - peppers like it hot and dry. They require a lot less water than tomatoes even though they're in the same family. Your plan sounds like a good one.

Peppers will wilt if too much water too, so best to be conservative. I have 80 peppers in a 60-ft long west-facing bed, 2 have top new foliage that's a little limp though bottom foliage looks good. It's tempting to water, but we had almost 3" of rain July 2-4 and maybe 1/4" last night so I don't think that's it. More expected Sun - Tues so if next Wed they still look bad I plan on taking a look at the roots.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:32PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree depending on how one defines "wilt". Big difference between loss of leaf turgor (slight droop) and full-on wilt. Learn the feel and appearance of the plant leaves, its amount of turgidity/stiffness, shortly after it has been watered and how it feels/appears as it begins to dry out and will shortly need water.

Fixed schedules of watering for any plant never work as there are too many affecting variables. Flexibility is required. So while 1x a week may work right now, less or more often could easily be needed next week.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:49PM
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woohooman

Aili: I agree with above. You say wilt in the morn before watering? Now find the happy medium. i.e., watering RIGHT before that morning wilt.

One more thing --- Love that your mulching and that definitely helps in extreme temps but extended periods over 95F will cause the plants to stop flowering and/or drop flowers. Do yourself a favor(and the plants) and get some shade cloth or sheets over the plants in the midday sun. Your plants will better shrug off those temps and keep producing.

Take a look at the link -- these are my plants watered deeply every 8-10 days. I've mulched with couple inches of compost(now ab out an inch). Temps have been in the low 90's/high 80's. When they were younger in May, we had a couple Santa Anas and I covered them in the middle of the day. They just kept on trucking.

Kevin

Here is a link that might be useful: woohooman's summer update

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:51PM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

Kevin,
I have been considering shading as sun scald has been a problem. I just don't have a clue how to construct something that will stay up. ... thoughts? My beds are 4 ftÃÂ4ft. Here's a photo of one of my orange bells.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 4:15PM
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woohooman

Yeah. Bells will get sunscald for sure since the foliage isn't too dense and one has to leave the fruit on the plant for quite awhile for color change.

You have raised beds? Easy. Get some 1x2's and screw them to the outside corners. 5-6 feet high should be plenty enough. Put a couple nails at the top and attach some old sheets to them. Shade cloth is better but a lot more expensive than worn out sheets.

You can also attach some thin rope and tie off for easy removal later in the afternoon.

Nice looking plant, btw.

Kind of too late now, but I cage all my peppers, especially large fruited annuums. Keeps me from losing a whole branch of not-yet-ripe fruit due to weight and wind. You might want to stake it.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 4:38PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

IMO if they wilt in the morning, probably you should've watered them yesterday or the day before. So then, if you are watering them once a week, change it to 5 days interval.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:18PM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

I like your idea Kevin. I'll see what my husband can rig up. I'm going to watch the plants more closely and adjust my watering accordingly :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:56PM
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Bloomin_Onion(2/3)

What's the difference, if they're producing flowers, fruit, and they look healthy? I'm only asking because my bell peppers are in containers placed in my garden and they get hosed down with everything else nearly every day. They're healthy, plump, lots of flowers and fruits... am I not aware or something later on in fruit development?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 4:53AM
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planatus(6)

I find that peppers do better with generous water. Last year it rained and rained, and everyone around here was knee deep in peppers.

In non-rainy years my peppers benefit from the lightest of shade covers, mostly to prevent sunscald to fruits. My usual thing is to attach a double thickness of tulle to slender stakes with clothespins. This reduces midday sun and the plants seem happier.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 8:14AM
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loribee2(CA 9)

This was the first year I mulched my peppers heavily. Being a drought year, I wanted to hold in as much moisture as possible. I'm watering every 3 days and I've got the biggest, healthiest plants I've ever seen.

I also discovered that the mulch is preventing bugs from chewing them out. On bare dirt, if those low growing peppers made contact with the earth at all, they had a hole in them within hours. The mulch seems to be preventing that--an unexpected bonus.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 9:42AM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

Kevin,
When shading your peppers what time of the day do you throw the shade cover on?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 5:25PM
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woohooman

I usually let the heat of the day tell me. I do it more for regulating soil temp than for sunscald, though. I don't plant my peppers closer than 16" apart but I depend on foliage from adjacent plants to shade for sunscald. I expect to lose one or 2 fruit per year because of it.

But even still, the heat of the day tells me. So, where I am, that's usually around 11-12 to 3 or so. After that, the sun's at more of an angle, so the brightness diminishes and I can get back to getting them as much direct sun as possible for the rest of the day.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 5:54PM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

I don't remember having this much of a sun scald problem last year. So far I've lost a few bells and a handful of Anaheim's. I constructed a cover using four garden stakes in outside corners, with an old sheet draped over the top. We'll see how it goes.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:10PM
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woohooman

Cool. It will definitely help. I don't know about where you are, but it's been definitely warmer here this year. I hardly ever lose a mater to sunscald, but this year have had to abort about a half dozen or so thus far.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:28PM
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planatus(6)

I have more sunscald some years than others, depending on how the season goes. The smaller-fruited varieties seldom have this issue, but the big bells can run into problems. I think your shade cover is perfect. The only reason I use tulle is that it stays put in the wind better than other types of cloth or row cover.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:58AM
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