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Old October 26, 2016   #1
b54red's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alabama
Posts: 5,705
Default Worst year for bells in a very long time

It has been a lot of years since I last had a disastrous season with bell peppers but this year was the worst in a very long time. The year started out pretty good and the plants grew well until mid summer and then bam! one thing after another. First this weird leather skin condition developed on most of my bells. This is only something I have seen once before and it only affected a few fruits but not this year. Second came very hot weather with very clear skies and very high ultraviolet radiation and unbelievable sun scald on any pepper that wasn't totally shaded by leaves. To make things worse many of the leaves actually got sun scald and new growth tips got burned. I finally put up some shade cloth but the damage was irreversible. Despite the drought I kept them watered and fertilized as usual but they hardly grew at all and hoping for better luck in the fall I kept nursing them along getting a few runty bells here and there. More and more of my plants just withered and quit making new growth and blooms til now I only have one pepper plant out of 25 that has even a few fruits on it that might be good enough to eat. The rest of my plants look like skeletal remains with few if any leaves and the ones they do have are droopy, withered and discolored. I thought it might be the bed so I started a dozen or so in another bed with shade cloth but before they got over a foot tall they were hit with the same loss of leaves and droopiness. I suspect the relentless spider mites and whiteflies may have contributed to the problems brought on by extreme heat and drought but most of my tomatoes survived the ravages of these pests albeit with fewer leaves and looking quite bedraggled at times.

Fall is usually the best time for bell pepper production down here but this year is a no go. I talked to a friend of mine and he has had the same problems but not as bad since some of his peppers get shade for part of the day but his production has been miserly also. This time of the year I am usually giving away bell peppers by the bag full but I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and buy any decent peppers at 4 dollars a pound at the grocery store.

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Old October 26, 2016   #2
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Location: Brownville, Ne
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Sorry to hear the bad news. We must have switched conditions because this was far and away the best pepper year ever. My pepper growing woes were getting on my nerves. Here it was excellent on all sweet pepper varieties. Hopefully it will continue and your peppers will rebound next year.
there's two things money can't buy; true love and home grown tomatoes.
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Old October 26, 2016   #3
dmforcier's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 2,269

Every year is my worst year with bells. I gave up on them years ago.

But yours is a story of horror, appropriate for Halloween. Do you treat for your pests at all?

Stupidity got us into this mess. Why can't it get us out?
- Will Rogers

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Old October 26, 2016   #4
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Location: Illinois, zone 6
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Giving them enough water is usually my issue with bells. Hot peppers thrive being neglected, but without adequate water, my bells get thin-walled, tough-skinned, and deformed in shape.
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Old October 26, 2016   #5
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: selmer, tn
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My plants look nice but production has been scanty.

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Old October 27, 2016   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: NW PA (5B?)
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I grew beautiful seedlings. Then the weather got unseasonably warm. Then it snowed in May. MAY! They it went to abnormally hot drought weather for about 6 weeks. By the time the bell peppers got growing, it was already fall. I got nice bell peppers, just darned few of them.

I grew American Seed's California Wonder from seed, and bought unknown brand Lady Bell and Revolution at a local nursery. All of them did about the same. The cold weather slowed them to a crawl and they didn't like that hot dry weather, either.

Oh, and a several of the larger Lady Bell or Revolution were found to have one or more smaller peppers growing within them. Since I haven't grown those 2 varieties before, I don't know if they are prone to that or not. I picked them and tossed them into the same bag, and they all looked alike, so I can't be sure which ones had secondary peppers inside.

Last edited by MadCow333; October 27, 2016 at 12:54 PM.
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Old October 27, 2016   #7
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Ontario
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Sorry that you had such a rotten pepper-growing season Bill.

My peppers loved the heat, but not the drought and the constant wind. They didn't taste so wonderful raw, but the flavour condensed and was amazing when cooked, so I cannot complain.

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