July 21, 2010: Houston, We Have a Problem

There's trouble in the pepper patch. At first I thought it was simply sun scald, as the sweet bell peppers on the west side of their garden spot had the familiar sunken scarring. I was rather surprised they'd been affected, as the leaf coverage was so heavy. Then, upon looking for new peppers throughout the bed, I saw that nearly every pepper was suffering from the same ailment. I'm assuming it's either BER or a fungal infection, probably due to the unusually cold, wet spring weather, and not helped by the fact the peppers are planted so closely together that there is very little air circulation. It's so disappointing, as these are the gorgeous, huge Quadrato Rosso D'Asti red peppers, and they will have to be picked in the green stage. At least they are also a very good tasting green pepper, much sweeter than the store bought varieties, but they will have to be picked, trimmed and used right away.


Blossom end rot?


25 comments:

  1. Ugh. I'm sorry to see that, Granny. You can cut off the affected areas and use the rest of the pepper?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Momma_S, yes I can and will. I need to go out and search for more, so I can get them before the spots get too large. I'll just have to freeze the good parts.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my gosh! I can see why you would be so upset! I'm sorry for ya!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm.... Granny you know I am growing the same peppers and have seen the same issue, although not quite as many as you describe. I am still freezing strips of the good parts like you are. Let us know what you find! I got my seed at Baker Creek, if you got it somewhere different then maybe they are just that more susceptible to damage. I have killed a few leaf-footed bugs on them, have you seen any?

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Apple Pie Gal....ugly, isn't it?

    ********
    Erin, this is from the seeds I've had and grown for two years, and they performed beautifully for me before. If I have anything to blame, it's that I grew them very close together and I brought in a different type of nursery compost this year. Nothing is growing as well in the beds where this compost was dug in...and it was the most expensive! Before, I always bought dairy compost, this was leaf and twig compost. The beds where I did use the dairy compost this year are doing great.

    I have never seen a leaf footed bug. I don't think we get them here.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh Granny, what a rotten thing to happen to your beautiful peppers (pun intended). At least you can salvage the good parts, so your effort is not all lost, but I feel your pain! Did you know that you were taking a chance when you planted the peppers so closely together?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thyme2, I always do plant my peppers on 1-foot spacings, but I always did just a double row. That way, they got air from both sides. Oh, I usually run the rows east and west, so the long parts of the rows don't have a west facing side. That helps protect them from our scorching sun. Anyway, I pushed it this year, and put the entire 4'x4' bed into peppers, so there are four rows with only the 1' spacing between them. But the infected peppers are also on the outer edges of the bed, so that shoots down the idea that they aren't getting any air circulation. Maybe it's the new type of compost, which doesn't seem to be giving me very good growing results (read reply to Erin, above).

    ReplyDelete
  8. I had the same problem with a few of my peppers as well... I am rushing to harvest and use. It has been such a strange weather season.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear about the peppers! That's terrible.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Basil Becky & meemsnyc, I just had to pick several really large ones. There wasn't a lot of rot on them, but I need to get them sliced and frozen before the damage gets worse.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Granny, I don't think it's BER. I've had it on peppers in the past, and it never looked like that.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I had that same problem last year but it only affected a few of my peppers, hopefully it will be the same with yours. I would say that is definitely blossom end rot, leastwise that is what I diagnosed mine with last summer.

    By the way, the tomatoes in your last post look fantastic.:) I called my much better half over to see your garden pictures and read your previopus post...she was as amazed as I.:)

    ReplyDelete
  13. EG, my first thought was a bacterial or fungal infection, because of the cold wet weather we had after the peppers started forming. Do you think that might be what it is? I had to pick all of the larger peppers today, but let's hope the young ones are unaffected. I'm still kicking myself for buying that leaf and twig compost this spring. All the beds where it was used are doing poorly, compared to previous years using the dairy compost. Where I didn't use it, everything is growing great.

    Oh, to top it all off, where the tomatoes fell down from the fence, there is a lot of what looks to be chemical (herbicide) damage along the backs of all of them. Peeking between the boards, I can see where the neighbors used something to kill a strip all along their side of the fence. I'm going to be mighty p***ed when my tomatoes curl up and die on me :-(

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mr. H, I hope you are right, and it won't show up on later peppers. I do want my sweet red bells!

    Read my comment to EG to hear the latest (bad) news about the tomatoes behind the shed. Not much I can do if the neighbors decide to use herbicides near my garden, unfortunately.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Granny, I so feel your pain. It is hard when we baby our plants and watch them grow and something attacks them. Between the worms and the excessive heat/rain my tomatoes are having a rough time. I am also carefully watching my red peppers for more spots, too. (sigh) I hope you find an answer soon.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Debiclegg, it almost makes one want to rip it all out and start fresh...next spring! But no, I won't do that ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Damn, that's bad luck. Now, there's many things and misfortunes that I would laugh at, but pepper rot isn't one of them. Tonight, I shall drink a beer in commiseration!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Geez Granny, I hope that the balance of the peppers on that plant are OK and your tomato plants too!!! It's amazing that your neighbor would spray on their side of the fence when they know that you have vegetables planted on the other side. I have a fence on the east side of my property where I plant my spaghetti squash. My nieghbor's grandson (who also veggie gardens and takes care of his yard) never sprays there...because he knows that my herb garden and squash are planted nearby.

    ReplyDelete
  19. It would not be a true garden season without at least one major "oh no!" item occuring. It sounds like you have two of them in the works - the peppers and the sprayed/falling down tomatoes.

    The soft spots look alot like blossom end rot. If it is not the same, I would suspect it is a similar condition resulting from uneven uptake or distribution of water/nutrients causing an isolated patch of cellular growth to die off and essentially rot. My experience with such thing is that if I remove the problem fruit and keep the plants well tended that the young fruit coming behind usually is blemish free. Hopefully that will be the case for you too. I suspicion the strange / cool weather at the start of our summer followed by some considerable warmth (for you anyways!) is the likely culprit.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sorry about your tomatoes. it's hard to stay green when all about you are not.:(

    ReplyDelete
  21. So sorry to see that, Granny. :( For me, that would have meant a lost crop, as I'm allergic to the green, unripe peppers. At least you can use these... maybe a good, spicy gumbo is in your future?

    is there any way to thin the remaining plants and remove affected foliage and fruit and the few left standing could recover? You still have plenty of time to ripen a good crop, I think, if they could fight off the illness.

    ReplyDelete
  22. TIG, drink a second one for me, old pal.

    ********
    Robin, that would be 18 plants. I've already had to pick enough that I'll probably be making hot pepper jelly this week, except I'll have to buy the jalapenos because mine aren't ready.

    ********
    Kitsap & Mr. H., I'll inspect the tomatoes closer this morning. It was late when I discovered the damaged leaves, and thinking about it last night I was wondering if maybe it was simply sunburn. After all, the plants are up against that fence, so the back leaves have been completely sheltered from sun and wind. Now they are flattened and exposed. I'm still concerned about herbicide though, as the neighbor's grass is dead along the fence line....and I heard that "whish-whish-whish" of a spray bottle last week. This is the same neighbor that turns the sprinkler on me occasionally.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Meredith, the foliage is gorgeous on every single plant. They are about 2' tall, sturdy and full of blossoms. No, it's definitely a problem with the fruits, not with the plants. The recent 100+ temperatures have caused some blossom drop, but hopefully anything that forms from now on should be fine. I'm just hoping they all have time to bear more peppers, and time for them to turn red.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh how sad. I so love red peppers. Green ones are OK, but just not the same.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Daphme, do you remember all those gorgeous, huge red ones I had last year? Good heavens, I harvested over 86 pounds of sweet peppers on fewer plants last year!

    ReplyDelete