Author Topic: Bell peppers  (Read 155 times)

Lauren

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Bell peppers
« on: 2020-10-13, 04:53:16 PM »
I have a very hard time growing bell peppers. I've tried to grow them for many years, but the last five years looks something like this:

Year 1) Seedlings lived, but nothing survived
Year 2) Seedlings, one plant survived, no fruit (end of the season it was just starting to bloom)
Year 3) Seedlings, five plants survived, one fruited. Viable seeds!
Year 4) Seedlings, six plants survived, four fruited. One turned red early.
Year 5) Seedlings, six plants survived, six fruited. I just harvested the seeds.

So there's essentially a three year adaptation once I actually get viable seeds. This is pretty normal. My question would be, should I keep the old seeds? The seeds I planted last spring are all descended from that one seed, one plant. The old seeds come from two different seed packets and half a dozen different kinds/batches of bell peppers from the grocery store.

I know they're not adapted, but I can't see throwing out all the possible genetic variation.

For information, I grow my seedlings in bad light (windowsill), cold germination, I use plain garden soil and I do not pamper the plants. So it's not much of a surprise that I get such poor results.

Should I keep and continue to try growing the old seeds?

Garrett Schantz

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Re: Bell peppers
« Reply #1 on: 2020-10-13, 06:56:03 PM »
You could try crossing some of them as tests. The offspring might be better adapted that way. If you don't have much space or don't grow many pepper plants it shouldn't matter too much. Peppers are pretty hardy plants, wide diversity of genes aren't necessarily needed. If some of the old seed varieties have any interesting disease resistant traits or ripen earlier, larger fruit, taste - you could try them out. I usually just plant more seed if it's older, thin out weaker plants. Some store varieties are imported so some of those could possibly longer season types. If the cold window is harming the germination, you could try moving them somewhere warmer and then moving them to the window once they begin to germinate, they don't require light for germination just warm soil temperatures. Cold weather could change the germination time, which might mean that you end up putting out plants that are two weeks younger than they could have been otherwise. They will probably grow slowly in the cold as well but germination would probably be the largest setback.

Lauren

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Re: Bell peppers
« Reply #2 on: 2020-10-13, 08:10:23 PM »
Last spring I got about thirty seedlings, and six survived to bear fruit. I am working with a harsh environment deliberately. I understand that makes it harder on the plants, but I only want the strongest to survive and seed.

Out of all the seeds and purchased plants over the last ten years, one success led to what I have today. I have had hundreds of seedlings, dozens survived to be planted, and only three years ago I got ONE to maturity. Maybe I should try more "conventional" seed starting techniques, but that would mean non-adapted plants that probably wouldn't survive...so I'm torn. Keep planting and hope I get another "parent" line? Plant using the normal techniques and hope something in the 2nd generation can adapt? Hope they can survive my soil after they are transplanted?

I don't know. I'm trying to decide if I should continue planting the old seeds and hope something takes, or just go with what I have and not worry about diversity.

Adrian

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Re: Bell peppers
« Reply #3 on: 2020-10-14, 02:37:48 PM »
The bell pepper can resisted at -5C.
The last year, i have sow one plant of pepper in august in a planter and he was survived at the winter in  greenhouse and at the spring, i have put the pepper in fullground and he was more beautiful that the pepper sow in march.
For a good resistivity i have stopped the watering after the firsts freezs.
https://alanbishop.proboards.com/thread/9489/wintering-tomato-pepper
« Last Edit: 2020-10-14, 02:42:08 PM by Adrian »

Woody Gardener

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Re: Bell peppers
« Reply #4 on: 2020-10-14, 07:23:41 PM »
FWIW
My garden has rocky clay soil with very little organic matter. I'm a lazy gardener and don't 'baby' my plants; I call it tough-love gardening. Many hot pepper varieties grow productively in my garden but sweet pepper results are mostly like yours. For years I grew Anaheim peppers as my 'sweet pepper'. Then I found Doe Hill Pepper,
https://store.experimentalfarmnetwork.org/products/doe-hill-pepper
It grow well in my garden though it's more productive in my neighbors raised bed garden. Great taste and lots of lutein.

Lauren

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Re: Bell peppers
« Reply #5 on: 2020-10-14, 08:32:06 PM »
Many hot pepper varieties grow productively in my garden but sweet pepper results are mostly like yours.
Yes, indeed. Habaneros, jalapenos, whatever. If they're hot they take off and try to take over. :) But I think bell peppers have been cultivated in the perfect soil, perfect light, perfect water, artificial nutrients, for so long that they've forgotten how to survive without. I'll take a look at that pepper variety. Peppers aren't a priority, I've been focusing on sweet potatoes and onions, but definitely something I want to work on and having another "variety" can only help.

Garrett Schantz

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Re: Bell peppers
« Reply #6 on: 2020-10-15, 05:21:16 AM »
Bell peppers seem to need a good bit of care in colder climates mostly. They usually don't really start producing a good amount until after the plant is pretty tall and bushy. Yields will be lower if you tried growing them in your climate. Store varieties are probably imported in from areas with longer growing seasons, so seeds from store bought plants would require selecting for bushy plants, fruit small enough to ripen etc. If you attempt to grow regular sized bell peppers in your climate, expect to always have low yields or bland peppers. I attempted screening out for these things before as well. Large sized peppers in a small amount of time usually means they don't have time to produce sugars. Bushier plants will snap easier with larger fruits as well. Some of the more common hot peppers have almost no hints of fruitiness / sweetness which means they can produce more peppers with no issue, their purpose is usually just to add heat. Peppers are from South America, bell peppers just probably don't have adaptations for high winds which break branches, higher elevations will probably strain them, when peppers made their way over to other continents there was probably some selection going on - but acclimation can probably only help to a certain point. Bell peppers need more water due to fruit size as well. King of the North and Mira peppers have performed well for me. I would recommend trying out short season varieties, there are some from Poland/Holland that are well performing. For reference i have heavy clay soil as well. I usually just buy astandard cheap potting mix for my bell peppers and direct sow them from their 4 pack cells. I grow shorter varieties so it works fine. I usually add some nutrients for the sweeter bell peppers because they are already heavy feeders to begin with, which can't be helped without sacrificing taste. Which is also why I grow some heavier producing small bland ones for other uses.

Adrian

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Re: Bell peppers
« Reply #7 on: 2020-10-15, 12:38:42 PM »
For the precocity, i am try the spitz peppers.
« Last Edit: 2020-10-15, 12:41:41 PM by Adrian »

S.Simonsen

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Re: Bell peppers
« Reply #8 on: 2020-10-15, 02:50:53 PM »
I find bell peppers (sweet capsicums) are among the most weakly rooted plants in the world. I wonder what the story is with their breeding, as I suspect it involved rapid inbreeding depression. I don't even bother growing them anymore.
There are a range of very low heat "chillis" that can fill the role well. I grow ancho peppers since the flesh has very little heat (but you can leave the seeds and core in if you want medium heat). The walls are thick since they are mostly used for drying. I find they pickle nicely as well. One trick I have found with them and other capsicums is a top dressing of wood ash or better biochar. Apparently Capsicum are very tolerant of high pH, and the soluble minerals seem to cause a massive flush in fruiting. Fruit produced during this flush have very strong walls and suffer much less rot and damage than normal.

Lauren

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Re: Bell peppers
« Reply #9 on: 2020-10-15, 07:51:02 PM »
Unfortunately I'm the only one in the family with tolerance for any level of heat. My parents were gifted a bottle of "mild" salsa at one point. I added two gallons of tomatoes before they were OK with the heat level. :)

I'll figure it out. Thanks.

S.Simonsen

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Re: Bell peppers
« Reply #10 on: 2020-10-15, 08:10:57 PM »
You would almost be better off starting with thick walled low heat chillis and seeing if you could breed for zero heat yourself, while retaining vigor under less than ideal conditions.