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Author Topic: Why are my bell peppers so small?  (Read 8551 times)
rnjenren
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Ocala, Florida - Zone 9


« on: October 07, 2009, 12:06:41 PM »

OK, so it's been a nice growing season here in Florida and I am gearing up for "fall" planting. Looking back on my spring/summer garden I only have one question...

My bell pepper plants were robust producers of green and red peppers that got no bigger than about 2.5 inches in diameter. They were mighty tasty, but tiny. Any ideas why? They took longer to produce due to the fact they were shaded for a time by the tomatoes and cucumbers flanking them. Once I pulled them out into the glorious sunshine they responded nicely. They passed through bug season fairly well and are actually still producing lots of peppers (5 months after original planting). They are California Wonder.

Am I just expecting too much being used to the gigantic chemically grown storebought peppers, are these a particularly small pepper, or did I screw something up?
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Jen
alwayslearning
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SF Bay Area near SJ Zone 8b


« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2009, 05:12:46 PM »

What fertilizer did you use?
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rnjenren
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Ocala, Florida - Zone 9


« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2009, 05:54:55 PM »

Espoma organic 3 cups per box plus the dolomite 2 cups per box. No trouble with BER, just tiny peppers.
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Jen
gardendoc
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Ocean Springs, MS Zone 9a


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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2009, 07:48:55 PM »

I am thinking it was the shading situation.  It is amazing how powerful light is. 
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rnjenren
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Ocala, Florida - Zone 9


« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2009, 09:16:22 PM »

Doc - ya think so even though I pulled the EB out into full sun a few months ago? I woulda thought they'd recover, but maybe not.  Huh?

Bell Pepper growers please proudly speak up... are your peppers the same size as what you see in the grocery store?
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Jen
gardendoc
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Ocean Springs, MS Zone 9a


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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2009, 09:59:16 PM »

As you have described size is not everything.  In trials I have grown 1lb plus peppers organically, so don't you need go all chemical to grow bigg'uns.  The total number of fruit being produced will influence size.  Without knowing the complete environmental package I would say your peppers grew to the size they were meant to grow. 
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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
Donald1800
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Fontana, CA Zone 8


« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2009, 12:19:51 AM »

As I recall my posts last year concerning the Espoma fertilizers, you will probably need to apply 5-6 cups to get the equivalent strength of EB fertilizers.

Donald1800
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roysmom
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2009, 09:20:56 AM »

I also was going to say the organic fertilizer.   (though agree that shade is a big limiting factor)

Doc,  were these one pound peppers grown in containers or inground with organic fert. ?   If in containers what type fert.  did you use?  I am always looking to improve organic production.    Thanks.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 09:22:29 AM by roysmom » Logged

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gardendoc
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Ocean Springs, MS Zone 9a


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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2009, 11:06:14 AM »

We did the trials a couple of years ago in-ground.  There is definitely a difference in containers, my bells always seem to be smaller, hots tend to be just as prolofic. 
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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
rnjenren
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Ocala, Florida - Zone 9


« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2009, 02:11:56 PM »

We did the trials a couple of years ago in-ground.  There is definitely a difference in containers, my bells always seem to be smaller, hots tend to be just as prolofic. 
Very interesting. I still think the ease of growing them in my EB was worth it, not having to deal with weeds and watering problems especially. Might have to try non-organic fertilizer... maybe.

Donald - thanks for the info. I will look up those discussions on fertilizer.
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Jen
MaryB
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Zone 7, North Central AR


« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2009, 11:05:59 AM »

With cold temps arriving quickly, I picked all but the smallest peppers this morning. We've been picking peppers since mid-June and they have produced magnificently this year. The calcium nitrate gave the plants an extra boost which is why they are continuing to produce much later than last year.

I have one EB with 6 Quadrato d'Asti Rosso Peppers (6 c BioTone Start Plus and dolomite) and another EB with 6 Giant Marconis (8-3-5 and dolomite). I first started adding the calcium nitrate the beginning of July and fed them on on a weekly basis. Our peppers do better in the EarthBoxes than they've ever done in the ground.



* 2009_10100044 (Medium).JPG (73.52 KB, 800x600 - viewed 258 times.)

* 2009_10100047 (Medium).JPG (74.21 KB, 800x493 - viewed 249 times.)
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Greatgardens
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Mid-Indiana, Zone 5b


« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2009, 11:33:50 AM »


Having grown Eggplants in the EB, the fruit is significantly smaller if you follow the EB suggested planting quantities.  It is not uncommon for my eggplants to be half the size of that grown in the ground.  More root crowding = smaller fruit in my experience.  However, total production will likely be higher in the EB. 

Next season cut back on the number of plants and grow a pepper variety that is known by you to produce large(r) fruit.  Better Belle always does well for me, but there are many good, large pepper varieties. I'd try two or three plants instead of six, assuming you have the box space to experiment with.

-GG
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kathy
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The mountains of PA Zone 5, almost 4.


« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2009, 12:45:31 PM »

HMMM  Now I have to differ, my peppers are the best ever.....this year. Really large, but late producers.....the biggest and best I have ever grown. (I had 3 varieties). I grew eggplants the last two years, and did not see even the smallest reduction in size. Please note this was not with organic fertilizer this was with EarthBox's 7-7-7 fertilizer. Part of the "no noticieable" size difference might be the challenges of in ground growing here in NE PA....we are cold up here in the hills. So container growing has advantages. I am curious how many eggplant did you plant per box?
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Greatgardens
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Mid-Indiana, Zone 5b


« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2009, 08:57:34 AM »

I grow two eggplants per box with the recommended amounts of fertilizer and lime.  Varieties: Burpee Hybrid, Nadia, Neon, Lavender Touch, Dusky.  I get more, but smaller eggplants than planted in the ground, and the plants don't get as large as in the ground, either.  None of these are "mini" varieties recommended for container growing.  Burpee Hyb  and Dusky are the smallest plants; the others are significantly larger plants.

I don't see this type "shrinkage" in tomatoes, so perhaps the peppers follow more along that line, although 6 bell pepper plants per box still seems like a lot.

You grow 6 bell peppers per box? 

But still, if had an issue with size and were planting 6/box, I'd definitely try fewer plants as a test.

-GG

HMMM  Now I have to differ, my peppers are the best ever.....this year. Really large, but late producers.....the biggest and best I have ever grown. (I had 3 varieties). I grew eggplants the last two years, and did not see even the smallest reduction in size. Please note this was not with organic fertilizer this was with EarthBox's 7-7-7 fertilizer. Part of the "no noticieable" size difference might be the challenges of in ground growing here in NE PA....we are cold up here in the hills. So container growing has advantages. I am curious how many eggplant did you plant per box?
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alwayslearning
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SF Bay Area near SJ Zone 8b


« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2009, 11:18:32 AM »

Greatgardens: Organic or non-organic fert?   If organic, did you use 2c, 3c, or a different amount?
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