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Avatar for GloriaGardening
May 14, 2020 9:09 PM CST
Arizona (Zone 9b)
Here is an example of a bell pepper I would harvest seeds from. Also an image of my new sweet pepper plant. How and when should I prune this plant? I'm wondering if anyone has had the experience of growing peppers or other vegetables from purchased produce. I have read some online articles on how to harvest seeds from peppers and have been entertaining the idea of trying this. I'm interested in whether anyone has grown a pepper plant that actually produced from purchased peppers or peppers from a friend's garden. Interesting conversation about the Epsom salts. Why would so much be needed? There are many fertilizing products available and I don't want to buy things I don't know much of anything about to grow plants in a container on my balcony. What are the best fertilizers to use for container pepper plants? Is there one reliable type?



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Last edited by GloriaGardening May 15, 2020 10:31 AM Icon for preview
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May 15, 2020 9:00 AM CST

There's a discussion right now about seeds from produce. Suffice to say, save your time and effort: what you buy in grocery stores are usually F1 or F2 hybrids and the big problem is seeds harvested from those plants won't be true to type, meaning you have better chances at the casino (Las Vegas is still closed but Macau re-opened two weeks ago).
Seeds from heirloom varieties are another matter completely but they need to be harvested from a ripe pepper, meaning the pepper has to be left on the plant until it's almost rotten to get viable seeds. Mind however that most bell pepper varieties are best grown on a two-year cycle since they will hit top productivity in their second year.

A word of caution about growing peppers in containers on a balcony: first, the roots need to be protected from excessive heat. This can be done by whitewashing the vase or, even better, putting a white cloth to shield the vase from intense sunlight. Second, bell peppers are prone to sunscald if sunlight is too intense and require some protection from it. This is generally achieved by promoting good plant growth.

As per fertilizer after many many years I have come to the conclusion the best fertilizer for potted plants is liquid one. A vase is a stressful enough environment (especially in the Summer heat) and disturbing the roots should be avoided at all costs. Since all liquid fertilizers pack a hefty nutritive punch I either use them at full dose once every 30-40 days or at half dose every 20-30 days.
The Saviour.
Avatar for GloriaGardening
May 15, 2020 9:49 AM CST
Arizona (Zone 9b)
That's good information and explains why very large sweet peppers would not be the best choice. The motivations are usually exceptionally good fruits. I have noticed that the pepper plants are heat sensitive and sometimes wither a little in filtered sunlight in the afternoon. I may try moving the plant's container so it's out of direct sunlight altogether or moving it up so it only gets early light. What about pruning pepper plants of this size? Do they need it?
Last edited by GloriaGardening May 15, 2020 10:17 AM Icon for preview
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May 15, 2020 10:14 AM CST

GloriaGardening said:I noticed that they are sometimes withering a little in the heat even though the sunlight is filtered. I may try moving the container out of direct sunlight altogether or moving it up so they only get early light. What about pruning pepper plants of this size? Do they need it?


Are the plants withering? If so it's because the roots are getting too hot. As said there are many ways to reduce soil temperature, from whitewashing the pot to putting it inside a larger pot filled with expanded clay aggregate and water. Don't be afraid to experiment: that's how we invented agriculture.
Be careful that root stress (caused by excessive heat) can lead to watering stress (caused by too frequent watering) which is probably the most common condition of potted vegetable plants. Peppers are like tomatoes: they don't like being watered too often.

Any pruning should be delayed until pepper plants are at least 11-12" tall and even then your only aim would be to promote even growth. I prune mine pepper plants only rarely.
At this stage be very careful with fertilizers: too much nitrogen will produce "spindly" and excessive "green growth" and hence harm the plant's productivity down the road.
The Saviour.
Avatar for GloriaGardening
May 15, 2020 10:29 AM CST
Arizona (Zone 9b)
I'll be more prepared next year and buy seeds.
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May 15, 2020 12:53 PM CST
Name: Doug
Texas (Zone 8b)
Epsom salt is a source of magnesium which, frankly, most soils simply don't need. As such, much of the fervor about it as a fertilizer is, well, mythology. Innocent powders you can buy in the supermarket are fodder for such mythology. Well, there must be SOMETHING good you can do with them! In fact, using a lot of epsom salt is a great way to make your soil toxic. It's a salt, and many plants suffer from excess salt in the soil. If you need to add magnesium to your soil (which you probably don't), epsom salt is a somewhat toxic way to do it.
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May 16, 2020 2:25 AM CST

DougL said:Epsom salt is a source of magnesium which, frankly, most soils simply don't need. As such, much of the fervor about it as a fertilizer is, well, mythology. Innocent powders you can buy in the supermarket are fodder for such mythology. Well, there must be SOMETHING good you can do with them! In fact, using a lot of epsom salt is a great way to make your soil toxic. It's a salt, and many plants suffer from excess salt in the soil. If you need to add magnesium to your soil (which you probably don't), epsom salt is a somewhat toxic way to do it.


Epsom salt was pretty popular in agriculture back in the 60's and 70's, before modern soil management techniques became widespread. As the use in the agri business declined it was progressively marketed to gardening enthusiasts as some sort of miracle sure. I see it still is.
90% of modern fertilizers include tiny amounts of magnesium, often in form of dolomitic lime, so magnesium deficiency is very very rare but in the poorest soils.
The Saviour.
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