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Jul 25, 2020 10:05 PM CST
Texas (Zone 9a)
Hello everyone! I'm completely new to growing anything in this Texas heat. Originally living in NJ in a temperate zone, I knew everything I needed to know about my peppers, herbs, and tomatoes. Now living in what my mother calls "the exact definition of the sun", I'm lost on how to keep my babies alive.

My husband and I just purchased the following plants this week:
(2) habanero peppers, (2)jalapeño peppers, better boy tomato, sugar rush tomato, heat master tomato, (2) sweet bail, african blue basil, garden sage, culinary sage, old fashioned english thyme, sicilian oregano, chocolate mint, green spinach, rosemary, coolapeño, succulents, (6) vfts, and ~10 scallions.

Living in an apartment on the second floor with a balcony isn't exactly my idea of a great place to garden, but I do try to make the best of it. So here are the questions at hand:
*How do I tell if they're over or under watered? (Having serious leaf curl on the jalapeños.)
*My balcony is in full sun almost all day long; what is the best solution for my babies to not fry in the scorching heat?
*How often, if at all, should they get plant food and fertilized?
*Currently living situations for the peppers are in window boxes, except for the coolapeño; should I avoid this and transplant to seperate planters?

Thanks in advance to those that can help!
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Jul 26, 2020 9:27 AM CST
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 2
I certainly don't have answers to all your questions. For me as a displaced northern gardener, I am still learning after 45 years. Whistling

My best guesses are:

I would try to provide shade during the hottest time of day.

I think in your zone your plants will continue to develop into fall/winter.

I will bet the leaf curling is more commonly seen in the heat of day. It is probably an attempt to retain moisture. One thing I will suggest is to wait till morning to see if your plants are wilted. That is the indicator that they need watering. Then soak containers thoroughly till water runs out the drains.

If your containers are large enough they will be fine.

The amount of fertilizer required depends on watering as it can be washed out of the containers.

You will learn by doing and we will encourage you. Also Welcome! you to Texas and to the Garden.
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
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Jul 26, 2020 11:13 AM CST
Texas (Zone 9a)
Thank you so much for your advice! I'm hoping I can keep these poor things happy and thriving!
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Jul 27, 2020 12:05 AM CST
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Container Gardener Region: Texas Winter Sowing Herbs Moon Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Heirlooms Vegetable Grower Bookworm
9a? Along the Gulf Coast? Sun all day- you face south for the plants? Might give them DEEP pots, Deep afternoon shade with a breeze. Leaf curl -look at your plants close for bugs. Houston gardeners have had to update their growing methods from 10 yrs ago-our conditions have changed so much. I personally don't like that oregano, I have Hill Top oregano from Madalene Hill Herbs (rights acquired by The Arborgate) and would consider Mexican Oregano... Don't water in the heat of day, right now best is evening watering so you don't steam the plants in the dirt- provide shade for the dirt in the pots sitting in the heat. Humidity, Sighing! I think being above ground level is actually healthier humidity wise to avoid the downy mildews here on things like sages, lavendar, sweet basils....
Pod, my jalapenos just turn limp when wilted, the leaf curl is on my goat horn pepper and it has produced zip for fruits. About to throw it in the burn pile.
So many roads to take, choices to make, and laughs to share!
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Jul 27, 2020 12:23 AM CST
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Container Gardener Region: Texas Winter Sowing Herbs Moon Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Heirlooms Vegetable Grower Bookworm
Hill Top oregano, lives all year outdoors.
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Rosemaries- Tuscan Blue and Prostate.
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African Blue basil. I have better luck growing Australian and African varieties of some plants here just NW of Houston an hour.
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My great grandson helped me strip the last of my second sets of tomatoes ( first seeds went in ground first of Feb, this a sucker stuck in ground about 3rd week of March) Super Sweet 100's cherries. Tween leaffootted bugs, heat and rain variables, I will be removing this vine now, fruits are stunted steamed and useless.
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Jalapeno in front, Coolapeno farthest in trough. Jalapeno is short, Coolapeno is 5' high. I might have still had a Tabasco beside the jalapeno ( volunteer Tabasco everywhere!)
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Ah! Leaf curl on a pepper. Usually caused by tiny bugs like leaf hoppers nibbling while leaves were forming. I have tried everything and gotten no results on this goat horn pepper.
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So many roads to take, choices to make, and laughs to share!
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Jul 27, 2020 11:33 AM CST
Texas (Zone 9a)
kittriana said:9a? Along the Gulf Coast? Sun all day- you face south for the plants? Might give them DEEP pots, Deep afternoon shade with a breeze. Leaf curl -look at your plants close for bugs. Houston gardeners have had to update their growing methods from 10 yrs ago-our conditions have changed so much. I personally don't like that oregano, I have Hill Top oregano from Madalene Hill Herbs (rights acquired by The Arborgate) and would consider Mexican Oregano... Don't water in the heat of day, right now best is evening watering so you don't steam the plants in the dirt- provide shade for the dirt in the pots sitting in the heat. Humidity, Sighing! I think being above ground level is actually healthier humidity wise to avoid the downy mildews here on things like sages, lavendar, sweet basils....
Pod, my jalapenos just turn limp when wilted, the leaf curl is on my goat horn pepper and it has produced zip for fruits. About to throw it in the burn pile.


I'm not really sure if it's 9a. I live in Houston. I've never really grown anything here (only moved here 2 years ago). Our balcony is in sun almost all day, but there is this one strip that's about a foot wide that is in constant light no matter what time of day. From the rain we've had the last few days everything seems to be pretty happy except for the jalapeños. They still have the curled leaf curse *sigh.
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Jul 27, 2020 3:30 PM CST
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 2
Did the rain bring more moderate temperatures? I know it has here. I am about two hours to the north of you both.

Kittriana are you doing any fall planting / gardening this year?
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
Last edited by pod Jul 27, 2020 3:31 PM Icon for preview
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Jul 27, 2020 4:08 PM CST
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Container Gardener Region: Texas Winter Sowing Herbs Moon Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Heirlooms Vegetable Grower Bookworm
Tomatoes do NOT set fruit above 90*, & the bugs are too big now. My 'FALL" garden was planted March when I stuck that cherry tomato in the bed. I have collected a sandwich bag full of Flat leaf Italian parsley seeds, & the fennel seeds I need to get stripped now they dried and bag them. I won't have tomato plants till next Feb. starting. The daylight lengths now are signaling to veggies that it is Fall coming on and they are putting out last gasps. Til my sun hours go back to 11 hours length, I will be working on getting herbs ready to set in maybe about end Sept. (lemon thyme, cilantro 'Confetti', rainbow chards, arugula, spinaches maybe- the Kookaburra did great for me this last winter. Want to get a dill growing that is taller than this fern leaf I have everywhere, and if I could find seeds for blue curled kale I MIGHT try it) I need a bed dedicated to asparagus...and a place to keep my iris alive. I would love to have an asparagus bed grown in keyhole shape, chuckl. Disaster last year with carrots, may not try them this Fall.
I am in 9a, but even south in Tomball is a different zone and warmer. Most storms ran east along the FM2920 the last 2 years, and Katy is warmer still! Eastern side of Houston/Humble has been getting drenched-but me close to Hempstead has a lot dryer days. Hanna took 3 days to give me 1 11/16" of rain- yes, there are things I am watering still, but I can see the August days in my snapdragons.
Guys we have a local farmer here near me that we visit , Neals Berry Farm on Binford Rd in Waller, Tx and he has fruits and veggies that I cannot grow for room and space. Website gives you days he is open, but I put up beets, froze tomatoes (my own) and delighted at the Celeste Figs this Spring -plus froze blackberries. There are several UPick farms around the area and I love them.
So many roads to take, choices to make, and laughs to share!
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Jul 27, 2020 4:34 PM CST
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Container Gardener Region: Texas Winter Sowing Herbs Moon Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Heirlooms Vegetable Grower Bookworm
A before pic of this year's beds May 24th.
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Most people have summer gardens, but we have winter gardens. This morning before I have finished taking down some more vines. If the sun were just up longer in winter. Glare
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So many roads to take, choices to make, and laughs to share!
Avatar for TexasBluebonnet
Jul 29, 2020 9:00 PM CST
DFW (Zone 8a)
With you getting so much sun all day, I suggest looking into a shade cloth. I bought one for my husband's greenhouse to go over the top and it made a big difference in the temperature inside it. The place I bought it from suggested 40%-60% for shade based on growing herbs and other edibles.
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