The Q&A Archives: Peppers Drop Before Ripening

Question: My green peppers are doing beautifully! However, when I leave the green ones on to color up, the peppers get soft, then fall off before they fully ripen. It does not appear to be sun damage because they are shaded by the foliage.

Answer: There are several problems that can beset peppers as they ripen, especially in wet weather. One likely problem in this case is actually called ripe rot, which is caused by a fungus that does not become apparent until the peppers are in the ripening stage. You may not be able to avoid this problem if the weather continues to be rainy, but by harvesting the peppers before they reach full maturity, you can at least save some of your crop.

At the end of the growing season, pull and destroy the plants (burn or bury them deeply). Next year, plant your peppers in a different area of the garden, and heat-treat the seed before sowing to kill any spores that may be present. Using a thermometer, heat water to 125F (52C), and soak the seeds for 30 minutes.

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