Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
August, 2007
Regional Report

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Peppers love hot weather and warm soil, so they may set later in the season.

Troubleshooting: Peppers and Eggplants

Peppers and eggplants are in the same family as tomatoes, consequently they suffer from some of the same diseases. My peppers set late in the season, once the weather and soil are very warm, and then we enjoy them through the winter. Here are some things that might be happening with your crops.

Problem: Leaves roll downwards, but there is no yellowing or stunting.
Solution: This just looks odd, but the fruit yield will not be affected.

Problem: Plants that grow very slowly and either don't set blooms or the blooms drop off are suffering from weather that is too cool.
Solution: Wait until warmer weather to plant, or provide hot caps to concentrate the warmth.

Problem: When mature plants are lush but no fruit sets, too much nitrogen is likely the problem.
Solution: Incorporate a balanced fertilizer when planting, and side-dress several times during the growing season with a low-nitrogen fertilizer.

Problem: Pepper blossoms or young fruit drop when plants have been stressed from lack of water, heat above 85 degrees, too many mature fruits not yet harvested, or magnesium deficiency.
Solution: Peppers are only moderately deep rooted and recover slowly from drought injury. Harvest fruits, and blossoms will begin setting again. A solution of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts to 1 quart of water sprayed onto leaves and blossoms several times through the bearing season will provide magnesium and aid fruit set.

Problem: Peppers may be eaten from the inside by pepper maggots.
Solution: Destroy the affected fruit. Spray adult flies (yellow with brown bands on wings) with rotenone before they lay eggs in the peppers.

Problem: Eggplant fruits have brownish spots of rot that are especially severe during wet weather.
Solution: Plant resistant varieties. Rotate so that they are not grown on same soil more frequently than once every four years.

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