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Author Topic: Wilting Peppers  (Read 5986 times)
chris fla
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Posts: 6


« on: April 01, 2009, 08:28:47 PM »

We are newbies from Sarasota and happily planted four of the complete organic kits from the online store.  The EB's were prepared per the online videos and directions, the box in question has a strip of fertilizer down the middle with 5 bell pepper plants along the sides.  EB1. Full of herbs, EB2. Tomatoes EB3. Strawberries, and EB4. Peppers (6)(red, yellow, and green bell).  We keep our EB's on our Covered porch which has a high ceiling and gets a lot of southern and western sun - although we also move them EB'sout into the yard on nice sunny days.  So far everything has grown noticeably - my wife an I are very excited, although in the last couple of days the two peppers located at the tube end of the Pepper EB are wilted badly.  These are plants 8" to 10" high and one is all but flat while the other is upright but all the leaves wilted (green) but lifeless looking.  I've searched on the forum, any suggestions or help would be much appreciated.  We followed the videos, and used EB soils, dolomite, fertilizer etc.
Thanks in advance - Chris
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cushman350
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2009, 09:36:25 PM »

First, lift the cover on the problem end and feel of the mix around the wilted plant. Is it dry? Is it the same dampness as boxes that are doing good? Sometimes wicking fails for some reason and needs restarted.
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mjb8743
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Posts: 6868


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2009, 12:12:37 AM »

Hi and welcome

I agree with Cushman... it does sound like a wicking problem. A box that has been wicking properly should have a dark brown color - somewhere between dry coffee grounds on the dark side to damp/wet earth/ground on the light side.  And when you grab a handful, it definitely feels damp like a wrung wash cloth uniformly across the whole surface.  Drier or a lighter color and not a uniform color (aside from the surface fungus/salts/etc.) are signs of faulty wicking.

Here is a check you can make - carefully lift the plastic mulch cover and check the surface moisture of the mix on all your EBs.  They should be identical, but I suspect that the box with the wilting may be dryer than the good Boxes.  If it is drier, get a 2 qt. pitcher filled with warm water (baby formula warm) and SLOWLY, and carefully pour along the full length of the planting area, then the middle but keeping away from the fertilizer strip.

Mickie
« Last Edit: April 02, 2009, 11:55:37 PM by mjb8743 » Logged

111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
PianoGuyDon
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Posts: 39

Deltona, FL - Zone 9


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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2009, 01:18:47 PM »

I have 6 pepper plants in an earthbox.  5 of them are doing well and 1 is what I would have called "wilting" so it may be the same thing as you're experiencing.  After reading this thread, I did check and there is definitely moisture like Mickie said to check.  Anyway, I'm not sure whether to be worried or not.  Here's a picture of it.  You can see one of the other pepper plants behind this scrawny wilted thing.  I live in Central Florida and these peppers are about 30 days old.

Ok obviously posting a picture this way doesn't work.  So I'll put the link instead.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/photo.php?pid=2408408&id=538314096
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chris fla
Newbie
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Posts: 6


« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2009, 02:58:44 PM »

Yeah, the strangest thing.  Although upon looking below the cover - I did have some variation in the coloring, so I tried the wicking solution / fix. I keep you all posted.  Thanks for the quick response.
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chris fla
Newbie
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Posts: 6


« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2009, 02:23:14 PM »

So I am the original poster, and I tried the suggestion related to restarting the wicking by using baby's bottle warm water slowly poured...  followed directions carefully.   We are now roughly three days later,  the first wilted plant is completely dead (expected) but now additional plants that were very healthy with peppers have started wilting.  Of five plants good sized starting to produce I now have only two that are not wilting badly in some cases.  Any help would be much appreciated.  My other EB's appear to be well.  If I need to change out plants or if its recommended to do more to the EB any direction or links again would be appreciated.
Thanks Chris
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Florida EBers
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Posts: 103


Zones 9/10 - Sarasota, Fl


« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2009, 03:22:52 PM »

Hi Chris - we're Sarasota folks too...Welcome!  We have 6 peppers in one box and all all are doing well....now.  We bought small pepper plants at Home Depot and transplanted them.  Being a newbie, I thought I was getting a deal when one of the pots had 3 plants and another had 2.  We pulled their poor little roots apart and planted each.  At first they looked very peaked, to say the least.  After reading this forum I found out that was the worse thing we could have done to the pepper seedlings and that peppers need gentle handling.  I also had them in the full sun all day.  We moved them so that as the sun moves through the trees, they get sun and then shade for a while then sun again.  That seemed to really help.  In two week they have grown to 12" tall (started at 4" or so).  So if your potting mix is wicking properly, maybe only take them into the sun early or later in the day or even just leave them on your porch. Fortunately ours are all doing well now - I hope the rest of your keep growing.  You can always get some seeds and start a new plant for the one you lost. 
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mjb8743
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Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2009, 10:34:31 PM »

If the box is wicking properly, and the other boxes were set up the same way and are doing fine, that leaves two other possibilities I can think of:

*  The plants were diseased or mishandled causing terminal distress.

*  The fertilizer got disturbed or was placed too close to the plants, burning the roots.

Mickie
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
chris fla
Newbie
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Posts: 6


« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2009, 12:37:52 AM »

The peppers were in 4" peat containers and a good 8 to 10" tall to start - looked great and I handled them with care.  They were even spending part of the day on the covered veranda.  So I hear my Srq friends-good luck.  I removed the peat container prior to planting, but in-hindsight I had some help with setting up this box and the fert. strip could have gotten a little out of control.. as well as the planting.  Back to today - at this point looks like I am going to loose the peppers.  Any recommendations?  Remove cover, remove fertilizer, plants or would you just start over from step one with fresh soil? Thanks so much for you advice - Chris
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mjb8743
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Posts: 6868


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2009, 12:56:42 AM »

Chris- It seems that the plants are doomed anyway... so get rid of them. If there's a possibility that the fertilizer got mixed into the soil, then you should remove the top 3rd of it and add fresh mix. pack the area over the wicking corners and water from the top to get the wicking going again. Put in a new fertilizer strip and replant, being very careful. In this case bigger is not better. Try to get smaller plants that have a 2-3" maximum pot.

Mickie
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
luvgardening2
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Posts: 489

Southern California, Zone 8


« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2009, 01:02:16 AM »

Chris, When I first started, I had a problem similar to yours.   I have my Earthboxes on a concrete patio and I roll them around.  After I finished preparing the box and rolled it to where I wanted, later the pepper plants died on one side.  I think the fertilizer since it is down the middle is so close that it fell and killed the plants.  What I do now is I cover my fertilizer strip w/ moist potting mix.  I also put my earthboxes in place before I put the fertilizer strip on so there is not any movement.  I have not had any problems since.  

No need to remove all the potting mix.  I would just take the fertilizer strip off and try again.  

Good Luck!

Nancy
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bobk
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Posts: 1319


West, Central FL - Zone 9b


« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2009, 10:57:40 AM »

Chris, since you stated that the organic kits were used, I seriously doubt that the fertilizer has caused a problem or burned the roots so there is no need to throw away good potting mix.  It doesn't sound like it's a wicking problem since you tried to correct that and nothing improved.  Since the plants were in a peat pot the whole thing could of been planted.  Of course a disease problem can't be ruled out either.  Where did you buy them?  If you start over with some new plants, getting smaller plants at this point in the season is bad advice.  Also, posting pictures can help people diagnose your problems.  White or black side up on the cover?  If you re-plant use the white side up.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 11:39:30 AM by bobk » Logged

Sowing outside the box but still in the box.
gardendoc
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Ocean Springs, MS Zone 9a


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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2009, 11:30:13 AM »

The peppers were in 4" peat containers ...  I removed the peat container prior to planting
Chris, I am betting that removing the pepper plants from the peat pots caused a lot of damage to the root system that was not visually evident.  The beauty of using transplant in peat pots is all you have to do is plant the peat pot.  These are unlike a plastic container where the roots will circle.  In peat pots the roots will readily grow through and in most cases are air pruned which in turn causes more root branching in the peat pot (this is a good thing).  Don't toss your mix and fertilizer setup.  I would go buy some transplants and plant peat pot and all. 
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A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. Gerald Ford

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mom2shaggy
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Posts: 153

Minersville Pa. Zone 6


« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2009, 11:54:01 AM »

Gardendoc, I had a problem with peat pots once. I bought herbs that were planted in round ones and put the entire container into potting mix in a planter (not EB) and I lost them, they to became wilted. I dug them out and found that the mix inside the peat container was dry. I suspected that the peat pot didn't let enough water in through the sides since the pots were rather thick walled, watering from the top surface wasn't enough. I guess you don't make any cuts into the sides of your peat pots prior to planting?       
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My name is Linda and my addiction is EarthBox
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gardendoc
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Ocean Springs, MS Zone 9a


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« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2009, 12:30:37 PM »

m2s, the peat pots will not restrict water movement if the moisture content is consistent.  Consistency is the key.  Once the peat pot dries a bit it is hard to re-wet, just like peat moss.  Most of us have purchased peat moss and tried to water and the water rolls right off.  When peat gets dry it becomes hydrophobic, same with the peat pot. Best advice is not to let them dry down. 
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A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. Gerald Ford

Be the fountain, not the drain
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