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Sweet peppers: advise me...

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  • Sweet peppers: advise me...

    Every year we try to grow sweet peppers, every year we get one moderate sized pepper from each plant. I'm looking for inspiration.

    The set up has some constraints. We're growing in an unheated greenhouse, in big pots (12" + ) and planters. However, it isn't the warmest up here and the neighbours huge tree limits sunshine (8:30 - 14:30 is the best of it). We can do chilies with no problems, and even aubergines can do OK, but peppers remain dismal.

    This year we're trying two new tactics -- we've planted three weeks later (last week of Jan) in the hope they are more vigorous without too much standing around in the dim light. They're now all up and going. Second, we're thinking of potting on more quickly. They seem to take a long time to get to the point where the roots are sticking out the bottom, but we've wondered whether they don't like any feeling of constraint.

    Aparting actually having a summer this year, any other top tips?
    Last edited by jacob; 11-02-2013, 10:36 AM.
    Garden Grower
    Twitter: @JacobMHowe

  • #2
    Hi Jacob, I was wondering what the average night time temperature in your greenhouse is during the summer? If you search for academic journals on fruit set of sweet peppers, you'll find that they are a lot fussier than tomatoes or even chilli peppers. If they are exposed to temperatures in the 10's - 15s, the pollen will develop too slowly for fruit set and the flowers will fall off. In addition, sweet peppers will abort setting fruit if night time temperature remain constantly cool. There's also studies on the effect of too much shade, excess nitrogen, etc on fruit set.

    I'm new to gardening (in containers) so apologies if you're already aware of these factors. I successfully grew a variety called 'Orange Bell' by following the published findings from various universities. When the temperature is 20+, I hand pollinate the peppers to ensure fruit set. Here's a succinct powerpoint from Cornell University: http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct...42080656,d.d2k

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    • #3
      2 hints.

      Pot on until they are in the largest pot you can manage and make sure they are fed regularly.

      Nip the first flower out as soon as you see it. It throws loads more out to compensate as it panics.

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      • #4
        Thanks both.

        I knew chilis and pepper were a bit sensitive to nighttime temperature, but hadn't heard that peppers were worse than chilis. It will regularly go under 15 degrees up here. I guess there's not much I can do about that, though further thoughts welcome!

        I'll try the flower pinching, though I think my issues are more to do with setting and general vigour than flowering...
        Garden Grower
        Twitter: @JacobMHowe

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        • #5
          I got good crops from gypsy last year and you remember the rubbish summer we had! It was recommended as a type that always does well, even in our climate up north. So maybe you need to play with varieties and find the right one? Try gypsy maybe?

          Sweet Pepper 'Gypsy' F1 Hybrid - Pepper (Sweet) & Chilli Seeds - Thompson & Morgan

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          • #6
            My Doux d'Espagne red pointy peppers set really well and we had quite a few nights down to 10C last 'summer'

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            • #7
              Other than varieties if you have space in the greenhouse you could always add something to act as a heat store. This can be things as simple as a stone floor or a waterbutt.

              These heat up during the day and then release the heat in the cooler night.

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              • #8
                Jacob, I've grown sweet chocolate brown and purple skinned peppers in Fort William. Both types produced a reasonable crop and ripened. So perhaps try these varieties or a type slightly more suited to our Northern climate.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jacob View Post
                  Thanks both.

                  I knew chilis and pepper were a bit sensitive to nighttime temperature, but hadn't heard that peppers were worse than chilis. It will regularly go under 15 degrees up here. I guess there's not much I can do about that, though further thoughts welcome!

                  I'll try the flower pinching, though I think my issues are more to do with setting and general vigour than flowering...
                  we had lots of below 15deg nights last year but a bumper crop,but a lot slower to ripen,a difference of about 4/5 weeks,but do pinch out as this works amazingly well,dont overwater either as they dont seem to like wet feet,i only water mine in the early mornings,then they have to wait 24hrs for their next drink...good luck this year..

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