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5 Pepper Growing Mistakes to Avoid



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Peppers are one of the most fun crops to grow no matter who you are,

because there's really a pepper for everyone.

You have your sweet peppers,

your hot peppers,

your super hot peppers,

your rare varieties,

your classic bell peppers,

your stuffing peppers.

You get the picture.

In fact,

there's really a class of gardener that only grows peppers,

which is kind of mind boggling that there's something so fascinating about the

pepper that someone would only grow those in their gardening life.

Now,

I can certainly appreciate that dedication and enthusiasm,

which is why in today's video we are going to talk about five different mistakes

you might be making when you're growing your peppers.

So I'm going to take one of these pepper plants from my grow bag garden.

Let's examine it,

we'll use it as our test case and without further ado,

cultivate that Like button for 50,000 Scoville units.

And let's get into the video.

Let's grab this beautiful specimen,

this jalapeno that is actually overwintered.

And we'll use this for our test case.

Mistake number

one when growing peppers is their spacing and,

more than that,

their placement in your garden.

So again,

you have your sweet peppers,

you have your hot peppers,

you have peppers of all different varieties,

and you want to preserve that flavor for the eventual harvest.

Well,

peppers really easily cross pollinate.

And so,

especially,

let's say you're growing a banana pepper and this jalapeno right here.

Well,

if you plant those right next to each other,

they may cross pollinate and those flavor profiles may actually get messed up.

So you may have a pretty spicy banana pepper or potentially a somewhat mild

jalapeno.

And if that's fine with you,

then that's fine with you.

But if you do want to avoid that,

sometimes it's a good idea to split your sweets and your hots into different

sections of the garden to reduce the chance of cross pollination.

Also,

when you have generally,

just general spacing,

small peppers like this jalapeno,

maybe a foot apart from each other is okay.

As you get to these larger peppers that bush out a lot more,

you can do about 18 inches or so.

And if you're really going crazy and you're saving your pepper for seed,

it's a good idea to space it at least 50 feet away from another variety to

really eliminate the chances of cross pollination.

Mistake number two,

and honestly this is a mistake with a lot of plants so I wouldn't sweat it if

you make it but try to avoid it,

is a problem with watering.

So peppers,

like tomatoes,

have the potential to get blossom end rot with inconsistent watering,

especially like putting it through a drought period aka not watering it and then

just flooding it with water cause you forgot and you want to make up for it.

Things like that can really stress the plant out.

And so really consistent watering.

What I do,

with the grow bags at least,

is I do grow bags on drip irrigation so I can just turn on a valve.

All of these grow bags behind me get irrigated and then I don't really have to

worry about it too much.

Another thing you can do is you can throw some mulch on top.

And this would apply to raised beds or any other container,

to really just stabilize that soil moisture so it's not going through this rapid

drying out,

wetting,

drying out,

wetting period.

That's going to help quite a bit.

It's shocking how much just properly watering a plant just eliminates so many of

the problems.

Another problem you're likely to run into with your peppers is overloving them

is what we call it.

So you're fertilizing too much or you're using too much nitrogen.

So if you use a lot of nitrogen with your fertilizer,

like if you were to dump some chicken manure in here or any fertilizer liquid,

that's a high NPK.

So the N is really high.

That's what's going to lead to a lot of foliage growth,

not a lot of fruit production.

As you can see this jalapeno is throwing off a nice amount of fruit.

I haven't done a whole lot of fertilizing here,

but I did apply a balanced,

aka the N-P-K plus all the trace minerals and nutrients are

relatively balanced in their ratio,

to the top.

So it's a granular organic fertilizer that I made myself with some bone meal,

some blood meal,

some chicken manure,

sort of different things like that.

Put it on the top at the beginning of the season and,

as it gets watered,

it will slowly make its way into the soil.

The microbes in the soil will break it down and you have a really nice blended,

slow release fertilizer.

So you don't have to go crazy with it.

You just really want to avoid overfertilizing your peppers.

The next mistake,

which I don't really want to call a mistake so much as an oversight,

is the ability to overwinter your pepper or grow the same pepper,

two,

three,

four,

five years in a row.

So let's say you like jalapenos a lot.

Like I do.

I love jalapenos.

Well,

why would I throw this plant away at the end of the season and then start a new

jalapeno plant from seed when this one's perfectly capable of growing over the

winter and then coming back?

And so what I did is I took a cut right here.

I took a cut right here and there's another one back there that basically cut it

down about two thirds or so in November of last year.

Now I live in a zone that doesn't freeze.

If I did,

I would have taken it inside and provided a minimal amount of light over the

winter,

just so that the soil and the roots don't actually freeze and die.

I left mine outdoors.

But then what I did is as spring approached,

I just kept an eye.

And what I saw is new growth starting to sprout out from these thick woody

stems.

And as you can see,

this jalapeno plant is doing really well and we're only in mid-June.

So this thing is going to bush up and produce quite a bit throughout the rest of

this growing season.

And who knows,

I probably will end up overwintering it yet again.

So again,

not so much a mistake as an oversight.

If you know you want to grow the same variety next year,

give overwintering a try.

Our final tip before a quick little bonus tip at the end of the video is -

temperature really matters.

Now these guys are a quintessential summer crop.

They love heat and they love a lot of sun.

But if temps go above 90 for too long,

especially as it's developing its flowers,

these little guys right here can start to drop off.

Because what the plant does is it says,

wow,

these conditions are really crazy.

I don't know if I,

as an organism,

can survive it.

So what I should probably try to do is stop focusing on propagating myself and

just focus on surviving.

So it'll throw these flowers to the ground and then it'll say,

I'm going to shrivel up.

I'll wilt a little bit.

I'll try to make it through this heat wave.

And then when things are safe,

I'm going to go ahead and put my flowers back out.

So what you do is you can add some shade cloth and/or move it to a shadier spot

of the day if it gets these crazy heat waves.

So one thing people will do is they'll just take some shade cloth,

put it over the top.

I'll do a video on shade cloth sometime in the future.

But a lot of people will get anywhere from 30 to 50% shade cloth.

That percentage defines the amount of sunlight that it blocks,

basically.

So 50% shade cloth blocks 50% of the sunlight.

So that can cut your heat down quite a bit.

Our final tip has to do with the peppers themselves.

So take a look.

You've got this small jalapeno up here.

Now,

could you harvest it at this point?

You certainly could,

but you probably wouldn't want to because it really isn't as intense in flavor.

And it's just not as mature.

Now,

then you have a more or less middle mature one right here and right here but

then down here,

look at this guy.

This guy is starting to crack a little bit or cork as it's called.

And sometimes that is when the flavor really,

really starts to come out.

Some people will even wait until it corks even more.

This is basically just a stretch mark on your pepper that is,

the skin is splitting because the skin kind of stops growing.

And then what you see is you see the interior kind of grow out and that's why it

causes this little split.

A lot of people will say this is the point where the flavor becomes really,

really tasty.

Peppers again,

one of the most fun plants to grow.

And I really encourage you to check out some of my other videos on peppers,

specifically the pepper pruning one.

I think you'll find that pretty useful.

But this guy is probably my favorite little guy because it's the first one that

I overwintered and it came out really,

really well.

So I'm probably going to have this one for many years to come.

I encourage you guys to grow some peppers this year.

Until next time,

good luck in the garden and keep on growing.