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General information and discussion about cultivating peppers.

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Old February 7, 2018   #16
Rajun Gardener
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Since everyone is giving their 2¢, here's mine.

Slowing the growth down in short season areas isn't a good thing so I wouldn't intentionally give them a "Cold Treatment". The better option is to keep the plant happy and growing fast and top it to slow the growth down.

What? He just said don't slow the growth down.. Let me explain.

When it's time to transplant your seedlings use a 5-6" container, you want something bigger than you think you need because they will be in there a while and you want the plant to have as big a root system as possible when it's time to plant. If you're gonna grow these in a container then skip the small pot and go straight to the container, it will develop a better root system.

Let the plant grow until the growing tip forms a "Y" or fork. Not all plants will grow a "Y" but the process is the same. The plant will probably be between 8-12" tall. Clip off the tip right below that "Y" and also remove some of the lower leaves to open up the stalk, this allows light to get to the leaf nodes and that's where the new sideshoots will grow. Once you have a few side shoots growing you can clip off all of the older leaves. The only reason some of the older leaves are left on is for photosynthesis, the new shoots will take over the process.

This pruning/topping method will do the same thing as a "Cold Treatment" but the plant will be healthier and still growing Happy.

I have to agree with Worth, it's all about location. I think timing is also a factor so maybe you should try a few different methods this year and see what works best. Once you find a method that works with your climate, you'll be swimming in peppers.

Keep us informed, we can all learn something from the methods you decide on.
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Old February 22, 2018   #17
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Here's a follow up to my last response.

Feb 8th I topped my peppers in the GH and you can see the new growth already. Not all plants will respond this quick, these took off because the side shoots were trying to develop when I topped it.

Feb 8th before topping


After topping and pruning most of the leaves


Here's today and you can see the new sideshoots growing, these will all produce more peppers than just the single main stalk.

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Old February 22, 2018   #18
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Wow, that is really interesting. I will give it a try this year. What is the science behind the method or why does pruning produce more peppers?

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Alex
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Old February 22, 2018   #19
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Topping makes the plant grow more side shoots and that's where peppers will grow. I can count 5 side shoots growing on that plant and they will all produce. The plant will grow like a bush instead of a single stem. Most plants will grow the side shoots later in the season, this speeds up the process. Think of it as letting tomato suckers grow except unlike tomatoes, all of the peppers will be the same size.
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Old February 22, 2018   #20
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I am looking forward to see how it works. I think I might have done something similar by accident, where early planted peppers were exposed to wind and became defoliated. When they recovered I never paid attention to production.

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Old March 7, 2018   #21
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Updated pic from today, It's really growing like crazy now and should have a few flowers developing in a week or so.
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Old March 7, 2018   #22
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My understanding is when you prune any plant, it will redirect growth to the roots unless it is under a major stress of some kind (I mean life-threatening, from the plant's point of view, not ours). The problem with peppers for a lot of people is they take a long time to ripen, so you have to weigh the risk of setting back ripening overall with the extra yield you'll get from pruning.

Johnny's suggests the cold treatment, which I don't understand the rationale for, mainly bc I can't do it anyway so haven't paid enough attention! Link is here http://www.johnnyseeds.com/growers-l...ansplants.html.
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Old March 7, 2018   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumbomaha View Post
Several of your suggestions, rhines81, are an improvement over my initial thoughts. I'll be using coir as a seed starting medium, and I'll just add some ferts to grow a bit longer before their pot up. Another change is that I have 4 inch pots ready , I actually replaced all my 2 traditional inch pots with a more squat 2 inch pot for herbs. Several posts point to a more robust transplant with the larger size.

The kelp treatment was discussed in a thread I started about a month ago. The author of a "Starting From Seed" used this technique, although it was quickly shown as ineffective by some here.

I'll play be ear the cold treatment time in a few weeks.

I used to start peppers before tax season started in January and they were too tall and possibly stunted at plant out. Now retired from that occupation, I have the luxury of working at my pace. If you started peppers, pakley, I better get a move on. I moved here 23 years ago from NY/NJ area, just weeks after my son was born. The winter is colder, but spring arrives around the same time and spring temperatures are similar. My daughter used to play outside year round, and it was definitely a challenge staying indoors when raising my son.

I overwintered a few hot peppers but they were outdoor grown. Rhines81, are you planning to top your indoor only houseplant japaleno plants in winter?

- Lisa
Hi, Lisa.
Do you know offhand where that help thread you mentioned here is?
Thanks!
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Old March 7, 2018   #24
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Hmm, offhand I don't remember which forum I started the thread on using kelp. It is mentioned often here for various applications. Some use it as a spray to enhance production/ cure plant diseases/ general health. Now that you mention it, I think I will do a kelp spray when it is warm enough to take the plants out for a bit.

I started several pepper seeds by soaking in a weak kelp for a few hours. Unfortunately it was one of the many trays that I have dropped and recovered the mixed up babies over the years. If you go that route, please share your results!

- Lisa
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Old March 7, 2018   #25
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That pepper could win a beauty contest, Rob. Mine are NEVER that full and bushy. What magic formula are you pumping thru that injector.

I probably won't top this year. Everything is growing at a snail's pace. None of the peppers are more than an inch and look skinny. I've repotted half of them in Black Gold All Purpose and the other half in the brown bag Happy Frog. Both mixes have the bat guanno, worm castings, etc. They did better last year in Wonder Soil.

Ah well, this gives me motivation to keep trying in my old age.)

- Lisa
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Old March 7, 2018   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PotGarden View Post
... The problem with peppers for a lot of people is they take a long time to ripen, so you have to weigh the risk of setting back ripening overall with the extra yield you'll get from pruning...
Yep, if I took off the first 2 sets of flowers, I'd be taking off all the flowers that could ripen in time.

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Old March 7, 2018   #27
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The kelp thread is in the Starting From Seed Forum and is titled Is Kelp the Magic Pill for Everything. I'm sorry that I don't know how to do a hot link for you potgarden.

-Lisa
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Old March 7, 2018   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumbomaha View Post
The kelp thread is in the Starting From Seed Forum and is titled Is Kelp the Magic Pill for Everything. I'm sorry that I don't know how to do a hot link for you potgarden.

-Lisa
Thanks!!!
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Old March 8, 2018   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumbomaha View Post
That pepper could win a beauty contest, Rob. Mine are NEVER that full and bushy. What magic formula are you pumping thru that injector.

I probably won't top this year. Everything is growing at a snail's pace. None of the peppers are more than an inch and look skinny. I've repotted half of them in Black Gold All Purpose and the other half in the brown bag Happy Frog. Both mixes have the bat guanno, worm castings, etc. They did better last year in Wonder Soil.

Ah well, this gives me motivation to keep trying in my old age.)

- Lisa
Thanks Lisa!
That plant is in a dutch bucket hydro system, I'm using Calcium Nitrate, Epsom salt and Masterblend. The pump is set to run 3 times a day for 15 minutes. I use the same fertilizer to water all of my plants starting after I transplant them into individual pots or 6 packs.

Your plants should grow good with those nutrients in the soil and I would water with a little MG. You have time before planting so they should grow.

I hope you top at least one plant as an experiment, you'll be surprised. Top the plant before it has flowers developing when it's about 8" tall.

Good Luck this year!!
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