The Q&A Archives: Matches Under Pepper Plants

Question: I was told that if you plant pepper plants (Bell) that you should put a pack of matches next to the pepper plant in the soil. Is this true? Also I have planted peppers in buckets using all compost, no soil, along with a small amount of composted cow manure. Is this also correct?

Answer: In the "olden" days burying matches under the peppers was a method of adding certain minerals to the soil, I believe sulfer. Today, we have access to soil tests to see if we need to add particular amendments, and matches are manufactured differently. If you have doubts about your soil, the best thing to do is test it and find out for sure. Your County Extension (305-5742) can help with the tests and interpreting the results.

Container grown plants do require a rich soil mix and it should also be a moist yet well-draining mix. If your compost was completely "finished" you may find that the drainage is a bit slow, but if it still had many larger bits of organic matter in it then it will probably be fine. In general it is a good idea to use compost as a portion of the mix, using perhaps also some sand or perlite for drainage and some potting mix or garden soil for bulk and structure.

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