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Pepper Fertilizer

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I grow a few types of peppers and I've found that Coffee Grounds (free in 5 lb bags at some specialty coffee shops) and composted banana peels work real well for pepper fertilizer.

Yall find other things that work nice?
post #2 of 18

Yates AssociationPeppers
By, Tom Rood
July 25, 2001
Peppers like tomatoes and potatoes are members of the nightshade family and native to tropical Americas. In its native environment it is grown as a perennial, becoming a bush growing up to eight feet tall. Spanish explorers "discovered" them in the 15th century. The peppery flavor of hot varieties lead Columbus to confuse them with pepper from the East Indies and the name stuck.

Peppers are divided into two groups. There are sweet or mild flavored varieties often used for salads, garnishes, and for stuffing. The hot varieties are used primarily for sauces and for flavoring. Peppers are high in vitamin C and A, with highest vitamin A when fully ripe, usually bright red or yellow depending on the variety. Plant seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before optimum planting time in garden (night time temperatures stay above 50F- at least June 1st here which equates to a seed planting window of March 22 to April 5). They demand warm temperatures and are more susceptible to cold damage than tomatoes. Best soil temperature for germination is 80-90F which requires bottom heat with a minimum of 60F the lower limit. Peppers can be started indoors without bottom heat although germination may fall off at lower temperatures. Peppers take 50 percent longer to germinate than tomatoes, up to 20 days.

Grow seed flats where minimum temperature is at least 75F (days) and 60F (nights). Place flats in a sunny location. Transplant to trays or pots when the tiny seedlings are easy to handle. Don't be in a hurry to transplant to the garden. Rule of thumb: transplant in the garden two weeks after tomatoes are set out or when the minimum night time temperature will not go below 55F. Pepper plants may be set back failing to set fruit if temperatures fall into the lower 40'sF. Recommended minimum planting space is 18" apart and 24" between rows. Peppers respond best with good organic matter/compost is mixed in with the soil and when grown in full sun.

Days to maturity are from the time transplanted in the garden. In our area (Finger Lakes) this is June 1 to Sept 15 or 106 growing days. Any decent growing conditions beyond Sept 15 until first killing frost is a gift and depends upon the local climate for the garden but keep in mind that the days are getting shorter. An exceptional warm fall could take the first killing frost date into November. I wouldn't plan on it though. Threats of light frost can be protected against by covering the plants overnight. Peppers will continue to produce up to the first killing frost.

Select varieties that will mature in the garden well ahead of the Sept 15 date. Most peppers, including a wide variety of hot ones, will mature in 60 to 75 days. Some peppers, the southern hottest ones especially, may require more growing days than available here. If we have a cool summer, those requiring 90 or more days may not set fruit at all even though the catalog days to maturity state otherwise. Some of the smaller bushes, especially several hot varieties, can be container grown and brought inside to continue producing all winter if provided with enough sun. Containers should be filled with a porous well draining soil mix with plants kept on the dry side to produce compact bushier plants.

Shallow cultivation on a regular basis will help keep the weeds down and aerate the soil. Peppers are heavy feeders and susceptible to blossom end rot so water well adding a foliar fertilizer (fertilizer mixed with water and poured/sprayed on the foliage) or side dressed with a low nitrogen fertilizer following label directions. I prefer foliar fertilizing and think plants respond better with it than loose granular fertilizer placed on the ground. Foliar fertilizer goes to work right away. Granular side dressing requires heavy irrigation or much rainfall to become effective. Too much nitrogen in the fertilizer produces plant growth rather than fruit. Nitrogen is the first number on the fertilizer label. Select a low nitrogen fertilizer such as 5-10-5 or 5-10-10.

There are many pepper varieties to choose from. One tomato/pepper speciality catalog list 120 and another 153 varieties. As with tomatoes it is fun, and something to look forward to, trying a few different ones each year along with the old standbys. New ones are introduced every year. Local garden centers carry a number of good pepper plant varieties for those who do not wish to start from seed.

Peppers will continue to bear right up to killing frost provided the fruit is picked regularly as soon as they are large enough to harvest. We often pick our peppers green. However if left longer on the bush, they will ripen further often turning bright red, orange, or yellow depending on the variety. Riper fruits have a shorter shelf life and bruise easily which is why supermarkets charge premium prices for those brightly colored beauties.

Hot peppers contain the chemical capsaicin with a non-linear "heat" rating scale of "0" to "10" with "10" being dynamite ("scorching") and very dangerous to handle if not brutal on the palate. Sweet peppers are usually all "0's" exhibiting no discernible heat. The Habaneros and Scotch Bonnets are "10's". One local supermarket has a "heat" chart with the pepper "heat" displayed near the hot pepper sales area. The older Scoville heat scale was too ambiguous with units in the thousands.

Jalapeno (hah-lah-PEH-nyoh) pepper is only a "5" ("hot") on the heat scale and many hot pepper connoisseurs use it as a bench mark as in "X" times hotter or less hot. For example some references say Habanero peppers are 1000 times hotter than Jalapenos. A "7" is "very hot" while a "3" is "mild-hot". My palate registers peppers with ratings of "1", "2" or "3" as relatively mild with a "5" as a warning that going any higher up the scale isn't going to be pleasant at least for me. Still, I have several friends whose mouths and stomachs are lined with firebrick.

Some good sweet pepper varieties to try are Whopper Improved, California Wonder, Bell Boy (All American Selection winner), Big Bertha, Blushing Beauty (an ivory pepper that turns yellow when ripe and an All American Selection winner), and Corno di Toro (an Italian pepper "Bulls Horn" that is great for grilling)

Hot varieties are subjective to individual tastes. Some interesting ones to look for are Thai Hot Dragon (8 times hotter than Jalapeno rated about a "7" on the heat scale), Super Chili (another All American Selection winner, one of the hottest chilies and great for container growing), any of the Cayennes (good for drying), and Serrano Chili (seh-RRAH-noh, "6-7" heat scale, some say it has a better flavor than Jalapeno but keep in mind that it is much much hotter).

Growing peppers is not hard and as long as we keep in mind that they do not like cold temperatures they will produce large crops of delicious and wholesome fruits for our harvest tables.

If you have any questions about peppers or any other gardening questions, please call the Cooperative Extension Office at (315)-536-5123 and leave a message for the Master Gardeners. Be sure to leave your name, phone number and a time we can call you back. Happy green thumbing.

post #3 of 18
Chicken poop
post #4 of 18
you are giving away all the secerts lol..my 12 guinne hens are poop factorys. 1 ounce in, 16 ounces out..But, the little devils like to self marinade and have picked the pepper crops to tooth pick looking things in my garden. I was looking yesterday at plants i have planted..a lot of birds of paridise,orange, yellow and red ones.. the little sweety's plucked em all out of their beds..hmmmm. have to get ones larger then them I guess. are unleash the hounds on em..
post #5 of 18
I"ll go along within the coffee grounds, my peppers were lookin kinda sad, started givin em my coffee grounds each day, now they be perkin up some! Next year I'm plantin more of em an gonna try some bigger containers to. Wanna increase production a bit.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Trav - Call me nuts but - - - I've got my favorite pepper plant in a Large Container. I pull it in in the winter and put a Grow light on it. Darn thing is now in it's third year and even spits out some peppers in winter inside my basement. It's one sturdy plant that one. BTW, it's called "Super Chili".
THAT puppy is HOT too!

Yeah, and in the Late Spring/Early Summer I take it outside and pull out a few baby plants that grew out of seeds I missed and plant those too! No kidding.
post #7 of 18
When transplanting pepper plants from the flat to a garden dig the planting a hole a bit deeper. Place a tablespoonful of bone meal in the hole, cover with an inch of soil then set the plant.

Seems to make them come up faster, last longer and produce more.

Cheers!
post #8 of 18

Pepper Fertilizer

I grow Habaneros ( Carribean Red and Orange). I plant them in containers half full of composted horse manure. When the plants roots hit the manure, they go into overdrive. You will get extremely large peppers!
Happy growing.
post #9 of 18
you may have luck doing it this way. But horse manure is to hot. especially if you put it in the ground under the plant. it gets to hot and will burn and even destroy the plant.

now if you use old horse manure and till it into the garden that will work. but is not the best choice for a pepper garden.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
I ALWAYS put whole fish under my tomatoes and it works GREAT!
Anyone try this method w peppers?
post #11 of 18
supervman..I have heard of folks doing this..around here they would get dug up by the yotes and other critters and we don't have enough rain to keep the smell from coming back out of the ground. I think the settlers might have been the last to do that. we have this new stuff called miracal grow now..lolbiggrin.gif
post #12 of 18
Coffee grounds are acidic, and peppers tend to like mildly acidic to neutral soil, so that may account for the effect you see.

Remember, plants can't uptake nutrients very efficiently if the soil pH is wrong, so if your soil is highly alkaline, adding the coffee grounds may not help the nutrient value much, but may greatly help the pH.
post #13 of 18

Pepper Fertilizer

Also Heard Of Using Epsom Salts....anybody Here Use Them? I Have Not....
post #14 of 18
Yes, Epsom salts are a good source of Magnesium. It's a micronutrient, so you don't need much, but each chlorophyll molecule has a Mg in the center, and without it it can't respire.

Take maybe 1 tablespoon for a big pot and just sprinkle it over the surface. It dissolves as you water through the top, and this way you are less likely to damage the roots unless there are lots of surface roots.

If you have surface roots (probably not with pepper), mix with water and dissolve fully. Pour water through and make sure you run plenty of pure water through after. The Mg binds to the soil, and the remaining salts wash through preventing root damage.
post #15 of 18
sounds like some really good info their.. some one else a while back. mentioned that epson salt was good for peppers. about the same time I was in wal greens standing in line for some meds. and was reading labels as I slowly moved towards the window.and there was epson salts the label said good ferilizer.so I bought a couple bags they were cheap enough.

I think I over did it. by just sprinkling around the drip line.
post #16 of 18
coyote............you have to watch chicken poop also.........it can get too hot...........i personally know of a dude that used chick poo, and lost his WHOLE garden........bout 1500 bux werth of veggies...........
post #17 of 18
I have saved banana peels cut up into smaller chunks in the freezer. Just add new chunks to old bag and keep filling. Usually the amount saved through the winter is enough for my Tomato and Pepper plants. I have even frozen whole banana that got a little too ripe for my taste. (That is if I can get them frozen before LOML puts them into bread or muffins).
Preparing Banana for planting is a snap. Thaw and process in blender with enough water to make a medium thick paste.
When transplanting Peppers and Tomatoes into garden -- dig your hole add about a quarter cup of banana mix, cover with a little soil and place plants into hole for planting. I like to bend the stems, be careful not to break plant, into the hole to help produce a better root system. I have had the stems of mature plants measure upwards of 2- 2 1/2 inches in diameter at ground level. The plants seem to produce a healthier root system and fruit since I've been using this procedure.
post #18 of 18

i go out once a month with my cast net and get about 10 to 15 lbs. of bait fish grind them with my meat grinder till its mush and water my plants about 2 times a month. my plants are very healthy and stong. i use it on all my plants. [ over 60 diffrent types of plants ] they love it.. i use to use whole fish mixed in with dirt around plant but down here in south florida the heat can make your yard stink and bring to many flyes around. i keep a container in the fridge for 2 week use and freeze the rest. just started my first ghost pepper and just spray the leaves for now till the roots get bigger than ill water it with the fish emulsion.i fert my peppers once every 2 weeks and spray leaves with epson salt once every 2 weeks.  

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