foolishpleasureDecember 22, 2012

I love pepper of all colors and I eat it fresh in salad, pickled and stuffed with rice and ground beef and cooked. I plant from 1 1/2 to 2 dozen plants. My plants are always healthy but I don't feel I am getting enough fruits. Today I was talking to a PHD student whose research center on plant biology. When I told him about my pepper story he told me the secret is in the way you fertilize your pepper. He told me make sure your fertilizer has a low N (nitrogen) I use 24-8-16, He said the 24 number should be the lowest. The higher the number you get a big tree with little fruit because the nitrogen encourages the plant to concentrate its energy on creating branches and little of its energy goes to the fruit. I know I can get a low N fertilizer from our farm store. He told me if you can not find a fertilizer with low N you will be better off using compost, humus and cow manure.
Does any body has experience in that regard.
I am getting ready to sow my pepper seeds in the seedling dome. Later I transplant them in small individual pots. When I take them to the garden beds in late April it should be 2 feet trees. I am itching please winter go away fast. LOL

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He's right. Try to incorporate Phosphorus(P)prior to transplanting and possibly Potassium(K), but hold off on Nitrogen(N) until you get a good flower set on the plants. Peppers seem to perform better for me when water is even restricted. Under "Stress" the plants seem to put out more blossoms. Once you have fruit set a sidedress of N will help with yield, if you don't overdo it.

Another hindrance to boutiful fruiting on peppers is the initial fruit set. By picking off the few initial fruits the plants respond by sending out multiple replacement blossoms. Thinning those (as picked green peppers) will help with overall production quality and quantity.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 9:53AM
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My experience is that sweet peppers especially are not happy in sandy soil. Hot peppers will produce ok, but the large sweet peppers really appreciate a silty or clayey loam.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 11:19AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree. As with most fruiting plants excess nitrogen is NOT beneficial and can be detrimental. High N levels is one of the common causes of blossom drop. Standard rule of thumb is that high nitrogen gets you big bushy plants with little to no fruit.

And a "2 foot tall tree" pepper plant would have already bloomed and set several fruit under normal condition. Sure not something I would want to be transplanting. Another example of why big is not always better.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Nevertheless, pepper qualifies as a fairly heavy-feeder, yes? It's not like a root crop.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Peppers will feed as much as you throw at them.

In my soils (clay, OM, good nutrient holding capability) I give a very early growth N-heavy application and I don't even bother to feed them any more N until there's a lul in the summer season production because it's too hot for heavy fruit production...and even then it's rarely a full application unless the rains have been heavy.

In areas where the summers are short and cold fall temperatures come on fast it may not even be necessary for a second hit of N. P/K are a lot more important than N once the plants start to bloom out. Unless deficient, most soils don't need much K help, though.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Sat, Dec 22, 12 at 16:23

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 4:21PM
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Like you are all saying peppers seem to like rich soil with out too much nitrogen. I also read a report that says they respond poorly to late applications of Nitrogen as well. We went three months without a drop of rain and I had a record crop of peppers.(These plants had a very large amount of cow manure) Peppers are almost more of a tree in the tropics and will grow for years, it is quite acceptable to plant large plants. They can be pruned back harshly at the end of the season, uprooted, and put in soil in buckets. Then water sparingly, put where it is cool and dim light. Bring them out in the spring, and they will be way ahead of the little seedlings. You can do this year after year with the same plants. Also you can bonsai them.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 4:58PM
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