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August 25, 2009

The trouble with peppers

Garden VarietyWe here at Garden Variety have been hearing from vegetable gardeners that their pepper plants have been less than spectacular producers this season.

Pepper plants are beautiful little plants in the garden, compact, very healthy and with delicate white flowers. But they have to earn their keep, and some of them are not.

The reason, according to our friends at Weekend Gardener, is over-fertilization.

Pepper plants don't need a lot of food to prosper. Only about 1 teaspoon of 5-10-10 at planting time and another at the flowering stage. More than that, at the plant will produce more foliage than fruit.

According to Weekend Gardener, this is how to fix the problem: Spray the plant with Epsom salts (1 teaspoon dissolved in a spray bottle of warm water (about 4 cups).

That gives the pepper plant a boost of magnesium that is required at flowering time to produce fruit.

Spray them again 10 days later and in a few weeks, our expert friends report, you will have more peppers than you can eat.

Photo courtesy of Weekend Gardener

Posted by Susan Reimer at 7:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Vegetable gardening

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About Susan Reimer
Susan Reimer has spent 16 years writing about raising kids - among other topics - in her column for The Baltimore Sun. And every time son Joseph or daughter Jessie passed another milestone - driver's license, college, wedding or a move to a new military duty station - she has planted another garden. Now she will be writing about those gardens - and yours - here on Garden Variety.

Susan isn't an expert gardener, but she wasn't an expert mother, either. Both - the kids and the gardens - seem to be doing well in spite of her.

She lives in Annapolis with her husband, Gary Mihoces, who loves to cut his grass but has noticed that there seems to be less of it every time the kids pass another milestone.

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