Thursday, July 9, 2015

There's A Pox On My Peppers

I mentioned a while back that some of my green pepper plants were looking very stressed . . . and one was just about dead.  Because I noticed what looked to be an invasion of ants in the corner of the raised bed nearest the worst looking plant, I wondered if the little buggers were doing damage to the green pepper plants in some way.

I liberally sprinkled the area where the ants seemed to be coming and going with both cayenne pepper and cinnamon which are supposed to be natural ant deterrents.  Papa Pea also dusted all the plants with a mixture of diatomaceous earth and Surround (kaolin) which are both natural bug inhibitors.  Now I'm noticing only a few ants, but the pepper plants continue to succumb.


Although some plants still look okay . . . 


. . . and have tiny pea-size peppers forming on the, most are not looking good at all.


They start out looking a little "off" . . . 


. . . and get worse . . .


. . . until it's all over. 

The only thing I can think of that might be causing the problem is that something bad is left in the soil of this particular raised bed.  Last year it held broccoli which was attacked by downy mildew.  My bad for not remembering this and letting the bed lie dormant (or planting a cover crop on it) this year.  The peppers don't show signs of downy mildew though as far as I can tell.  I know for sure that next season this bed will be a designated composting area in the hopes we can burn out anything that might still be in the soil.

The other thing I need to do is pull up one of the affected plants to see if I can notice anything unusual on the root system.

Let it be a challenge, eh?  Oooof.

* * * * * * * *

To end this post on a good note . . . 


My good ol' geriatric strawberry bed has been giving us luscious berries for a few days now.  Each year, I have to splurge and make one of these wicked good Strawberry Shortcakes.  There's a piece for any of you who can make it over tonight for dessert! 

21 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

save me a bit I am on my way, :-)

Sue said...

Oh dear---I won't be able to make it in time. But thanks for asking!!

Hope you figure out the pepper problem. Every plant has "it's year". This is obviously not the year for peppers! Eeesh.

Sparkless said...

Maybe the ants damaged the root system on a few of them?
That strawberry shortcake looks yummy!

Kristina said...

Sorry about the pepper plants. I'm not even the least bit motivated to check mine today (after our flood). That strawberry dish looks wonderful!

Lisa said...

I'd love to be right over!!! Wishful thinking. *sigh* We seem to have 'on' years and 'off' years for green peppers here. After a few 'off' years.... this year seems to be an 'on'. :) Hope yours, the ones you have left, rebound.

Mama Pea said...

Dawn - Daughter stopped in last night on her way home from work and "helped" us obliterate about half of the Strawberry Shortcake!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - That is so true! There always seems to be one variety of garden plant that "takes it on the nose" each year. Guess we need to accept that and not fight it so much! Hugs.

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - You may be right. And I may never know exactly what happened! :o/

Florida Farm Girl said...

Oh, my goodness!! It'll take me a bit, but I'll be right over for some of that shortcake!~!! That's enough to make a girl drool all over. I feel for you and your peppers. My tomatoes are all just falling off the bushes just as they get ready to start turning or soon thereafter. Looks like something is just helping them along at that stage and I have no idea what is going on. I think I'll just skip that little project next year and hie myself down the hill to the farmers' market. The tomatoes were just a nod to my farm girl upbringing anyway. Take care.

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - The amount of rain and now flooding you're getting is a little unreal . . . and has to be so depressing. Hang in there, friend.

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - The way one after another of the pepper plants seem to be slowly giving up the ghost, I don't hold much hope for them. But it's not the end of the world, for sure. I grow them mainly for our Stuffed Green Peppers and I just may have to purchase the peppers this year.

Mama Pea said...

Florida Farm Girl - I agree it's most upsetting when you can't figure out what is the cause of a garden problem. At least you're in a climate where you CAN grow tomatoes . . . we're just too cool up here. If you have a good farmer's market, sometimes that's the best solution!

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Do you think the raise bed was deep enough for the pepper roots? Sometime when there's not enough depth, the pepper plant will react the same way.

I'm sorry to hear about your peppers. The last time we planted peppers in the raised bed, we had the depth close to 24 inches and harvested many peppers. The year prior, our pepper plants were planted in a bed that wasn't as deep and they shriveled up and died off.

Oh those strawberries look beautiful, and your cake looks delicious.......just from looking at your cake picture I've put on 5 pounds.........

Lisa said...

Dang it I should have drove over last night!
Maybe next year!

Karren said...

That's the most beautiful strawberry cake I EVER saw! Oh, boy, would I love to share that with you. Guess I'll just have to have some black raspberry crepes instead.

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - The depth shouldn't be the problem. I rotate crops in each bed every year and I know in the 18 years we've been gardening in the beds, I've grown peppers successfully in that particular bed before. But it's definitely something to keep in mind for peppers!

That Strawberry Shortcake is so much fun to eat because the cake is a real shortbread (without much sugar in it) so you don't get the too-sweet, yucky, full feeling from eating it as you do from some other cakes. So, okay, *I* may have gained 5 pounds from eating it, but it just didn't feel like it!! ;o}

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Yep, blew your chance on that one! ;o]

Mama Pea said...

Karren - Why, thank you! Don't tell anybody, but part of the shortbread stuck to the bottom of the pan when I tried to turn it out and I had to do a creative patch job!

Black raspberry crepes? Be still my heart!

Lynda said...

My peppers look great, but my strawberries are awful...wanna' trade??

Mama Pea said...

Lynda - Could we work out a 50/50 exchange? ;o}

Bateman Homestead said...

I have no clue what is up with pepper plants this year, but it's really weird. I have started two flats of seeds, and so has my friend Bud....all were flops. One flat was last year's saved seeds, one brand new from the store. It's odd beyond explanation. So far the few that I have managed to get going, are only about 6" tall, and they have been in the ground for over a month. Something is amiss.