I went a little crazy yesterday. I went out to the garden to get some pictures for today’s post, and while I did get a (unfocused) photo for today, I got so completely distracted by all the weeds! I mentioned last week that our garden was being overtaken by weeds. We did manage to go out and get some of the squares cleared, but we didn’t get to all of them before mosquitoes tried to eat us alive.
When I walked out there yesterday I was horrified when I saw our peas starting to cling to the weeds. Their little tendril hands were curling all around the weeds.
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 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.
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.
I couldn’t tell whether or not the peas were trying to strangle the weeds or give them little pea hugs.
Either way it wasn’t good. So I spent an hour out there pulling weeds with my bare hands.
(But I also let my bread rise twice as long as it should have for its second rise. Ooops.)
Anyways, what I did originally go out there for was to spray (aka feed) our pepper plants.
I came across this little technique the other day. You make a solution of Epsom salts and water and spray this on the flowers. The salts give the flower a boost of magnesium to help the flower set fruit (in this case, bell peppers).
(And, if you remember this for next year: when you plant your pepper plants, throw a handful of Epsom salts in the hole before you put in the plant to give it a magnesium boost that way.)
We’re giving it a try since our bell pepper plants gave us zero peppers last year, and the only one that started growing this year got eaten by a spice-loving bug. Luckily, we do have a lot of flowers, so here’s hoping the spray works!
Here’s the recipe:
Pepper Plant Flower Power Spray
Recipe originally found from the Baltimore Sun.
1 teaspoon Epsom Salts
4 cups warm water (about one standard spray bottle full)
Put Epsom salts and warm water in 32 ounce spray bottle. Screw on the top and shake, shake, shake! Shake until the salts have dissolved. (You can do a little dance while you do this, it makes it more fun.) Spray solution onto pepper flowers. Ten days later spray the pepper plants again. Supposedly this will give you more peppers than you can handle.