|I started Gypsy pepper seeds indoors seven weeks ago. The plants looked fantastic. I have just started hardening|
them off in a small greenhouse outside. About a week ago they started flowering and the bottom leaves have turned yellow. Two days ago I watered them with a mixture of two tablespoons of fish oil to a gallon of water. Tonight I happened to read on the seed packet that the plants should be fertilized lightly when first fruits form. Am I too late or too early?
|If your plants are still in containers--they haven't been planted in the garden yet--then I would remove those first flower clusters. Flowering and fruiting takes up lots of a plant's energy, and you want that energy directed toward root development when you transplant them to your garden. It will delay your harvest a little, but you should end up with much more vigorous and productive plants in the long run.|
Peppers like warm temperatures. The plant can become stressed if nightime temperatures drop below 60F--meaning that pepper blossoms may drop.
Generally, it's a good idea to begin feeding indoor-grown seedlings when they get their first "true" leaves. I like to use a dilute liquid fertilizer, mixed at half the recommended strength, about once a week. Fish emulsion is fine; I like to use a product consisting of fish emulsion and kelp for a wider range of nutrients. If you have not fertilized your seedlings at all up until now, that, plus the stresses of hardening off, could account for the yellowing leaves. I would begin a fertilizer program now (using the fish emulsion or a balanced, low-nitrogen ferilizer like 5-10-10), remove those flowers, and get the plants strengthened for the season ahead.
A little boost of fertilizer when flowers first form will help productivity. Just don't over-fertilize (follow label directions carefully) and don't use a high nitrogen fertilizer, or you may end up with all leaves and no fruit. Good luck!