Peppers Ripening Before Growing To Proper Size - Knowledgebase Question

Chandler, AZ
Question by racerchick
August 7, 2000
I have Anaheim Chilies and Big Jim Chilie planted in a raised garden. Soil is well mixed with dirt, potting soil, top soil and mulch. The plants are beautiful. The temperatures here have been consistantly 100-113 every day and drop to about 80-90 at night. I water with a drip system once a day-soil drains very well-for 30 minutes. It is on a timer. As chili plants will do, during the heat of the day the droop and at sunset the fluff back up. The peppers are coming on fine but only grow to about 3 inchs instead of 7 or so. I have grown them successfully in the mountains of Arizona at about 6500 feet. I use the same method, daily water and Miracle Grow once a month. I am stumped. The bloom are plentiful and the chilies are nice looking-just short and turn red instead of growing to full length. Any suggestions?

Answer from NGA
August 7, 2000


The fact that you are getting blooms and fruits in this heat shows that you are doing a good job! The incredible heat in the low desert during the summer can interfere with fruit production, and pollen isn't viable much over 90 degrees. You'd have somewhat cooler temperatures at 6500 feet, which would assist. My only question is, when did you plant the peppers? Mid-February (with frost protection) to mid-March is the best time to plant peppers and tomatoes in the low desert to get a crop before the heat hits. A good reference book that contains planting calendars for the low desert is called "Desert Gardening for Beginners: How to Grow Vegetables, Flowers and Herbs in an Arid Climate." ISBN 0-9651987-2-3.

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