Vegetables and Fruit forum→First Time Grower - Bell Peppers

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Chicago
bob58o
May 16, 2020 7:03 PM CST
This is the first time I've tried to grow any type of vegetable. I started these peppers from seed about 4 or 5 weeks ago. They seem to be doing very well. They've been inside under lights. I bring them outside for a few hours each day. The weather just got nice enough where the low at night is in the 50's. The peppers are getting too big for the cups and I'm getting ready to transplant into 3 gallon fabric pots and move outdoors. The plants are about 4-4.5" tall with about 5 nodes. They seem very bushy with very little stretch, so I haven't planned to top them. The plants are already budding and I started to pick off the buds. I do not know when to allow the plants to flower. I live in a Chicago Appartment and trying to start a balcony garden.

Any input would be helpful.

The earlier pictures are about 3 weeks old.

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[Last edited by bob58o - May 16, 2020 7:03 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2241251 (1)
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
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Intheswamp
May 16, 2020 8:18 PM CST
I see your in Chicage but you might want to put your location in your profile so it will show up in the upper right corner of your posts. It will help folks later on when they're giving advice or wanting to stalk you. Just kiddin'. Rolling on the floor laughing Welcome to the forum. Lots of good gardeners that happen to be very good people here. Oh, and no stalkers...that I know of. nodding

50's at night I figure you're getting into the 70's or higher during the days...? I think they could handle being outside permanently depending on whether they've been hardened off well. How many days have you been bringing them outside? I'd start leaving them out longer and longer over the next few days and then move them out permanently. Provided you're not expecting any more freezes or frosts.

I never trim pepper plants. I just let'em do what they want to do and they usually do a good job. I do recommend that you go ahead and prepare supports for the plants. A loaded bell pepper plant can easily get blown over when planted in the ground or either have a limb to break from the wind buffeting a heavy limb. Do you have some railing or something you might could tie them to for support? I use the tomato "ring cages"...the ones that are made of stiff wire, have three or four circles welded to three or four vertical legs. They don't do that well for large tomato plants but there great for pepper plants. But, I plant in the ground. You need to stabilize plant *and* pot. If you're not subject to much wind you may be "ok" with just a stake or something inside the pot. But, do think about what you will do to support the plants once they're loaded.

Which cultivar did you plant? I'm growing King Arthur hybrids.

Looks like you've done a good job starting them from seed and they're looking healthy. Yeah, their wanting get outside and start making you some peppers!! What size are your styrofoam cups? Do you have holds in the bottom of the cups? What type of light are you using? Just curious...I use styrofoam cups and Sterlite containers for starting seeds in, too. I usually will use the containers with the cups in them and drape a sheet of thin plastic (I normally use something thin like a dry-cleaning bag or a piece of one of the .50 cent "emergency ponchos". A piece of most any kind of thin plastic (Walmart bags, old dry cleaning bags, covers off of packs of toilet tissue, etc) draped over the top loosely makes a nice germination box. Thumbs up

Do you have holes in the bottom of your cups?

Bottom line, a few days of longer outside acclimation and with no freeze/frost in the future I'd say move'em outside.

Best wishes!
Ed
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Chicago
bob58o
May 16, 2020 8:51 PM CST
Yep up in the 70's during the day and 50's at night. No more frosts expected, but hey - it is Chicago.

They are 16oz cups. I've got about 10 pencil sized holes in each cup. I don't remember what variety I planted. What ever the Dollar store had that day.

I've been bringing them outside for for up to 6 hours of sun (8am - 2 pm) and then putting them back under the led light. I'm using a $45 eBay light. 125 watts. They haven't been getting much darkness at all.

Going to be planting in an organic super soil made of fox farms ocean forest, happy frog, worm castings, blood meal, bone meal, bat guano (high phos), soft rock phosphate, azomite, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, cottonseed meal, humid acid, garden lime, epsom salt, Perlite, .... Soil will have been cooking (composting) for a month before use.

I planned on using the railing on the balcony as a support trellis.

So should I let the flowers develop naturally? Or should I pinch off the buds/flowers when the plants are still this small? I know you said you don't prune them, but I'm not sure if they normally start to bud at this size. Is pruning topping the plant or pinching the buds? Or both?
[Last edited by bob58o - May 16, 2020 8:56 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2241366 (3)
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
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Intheswamp
May 16, 2020 9:04 PM CST
Well, I'm no genius on whether to pinch the buds or not. Personally, I'd let them grow. Just the knee-jerk thing that I would do if they were mine.

You might loosen the plug in one of the cups (let it be a bit dry so the plug will stay together). Slide the plug out of the cup a little bit and see if the roots are getting root-bound....roots circling the cup. If there isn't a whole lot of roots showing they could grow a while longer in the cup if they needed to.

Plants need a dark cycle. I usually run 16-hours of light and 8-hours of darkness.

Is your growing medium still actively composting? That sounds like quiet a mix you have!

Are you growing any different vegetables?
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Chicago
bob58o
May 16, 2020 10:42 PM CST
I made a small batch of "super"soil. It's my first try with it. The recipe calls for letting the soil "cook" for 4-6 weeks after mixing and watering before use. It's not for seedlings. It's too hot. It say to transplant established plants and only give water. People said they got temps of 120 degrees when cooking. My small batch never really got hot. It heated up a bit But never over 90. I'm not trying to kill off any seeds or anything. I just want the organic material to breakdown so nutrients become available. It has been about 4 weeks Since mixing my soil. Turned it a few times.

Here's the roots of one.
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Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
Image
Intheswamp
May 17, 2020 6:47 AM CST
The pepper roots tell me it wants a bigger pot. Thumbs up

I don't know what to tell you about the super soil. Keep us posted on how it works. You might want to get one pepper and plant it in a pot of good, regular potting soil for sort of a "control" to measure the super soil against. Just a thought.
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
May 17, 2020 5:16 PM CST
Those look fantastic Thumbs up Thumbs up
I might pimch off flowers as you plant in the fabric pot, but then let them go for it. I think they're 'doing what comes naturally.'
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
Image
Intheswamp
May 29, 2020 3:29 PM CST
Bob, what's the status of your bell peppers?
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Jun 1, 2020 1:50 PM CST
Those pepper seedlings look great. You are doing a fabulous job!!
Chicago
bob58o
Jul 3, 2020 9:39 AM CST
Plants not doing great. The peppers were doing much better in the tent. The balcony only gets light from like 6:30 til noon. I pinched the flowers for a bit, but then just decided to let em go and do their thing. 3 didn't really put on much size and only have a few peppers and a few flowers. 1 plant grew a bit and that plant has the most peppers, but the peppers are starting out yellow on the plant. I'm not sure what variety of bell peppers I have. I'm almost sure it was a mixed variety pack. 1 plant has green/eggplant colored peppers. The other three have yellow peppers. I was under the impression that all baby peppers should start out green like leaves, then change color as they mature.

Are there varieties of bell peppers that begin their baby pepper lives yellow? Or what might be causing it??
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[Last edited by bob58o - Jul 3, 2020 9:52 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2293351 (10)
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
Newyorkrita
Jul 3, 2020 9:49 AM CST
No, not all peppers start out green like the leaves. In fact the yellow smaller peppers look quite good to me. The other could simply be a purple bell.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
Jul 3, 2020 10:26 AM CST
Don't know how your weather had been in Chicago, but here where it's been hot, the peppers are really growing faster.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)

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