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First time growing peppers - need advice!

Hey guys!

First post for me. My wife and I decided to try our hand at peppers in containers for the first time this year. Got started a bit late in the season, and we had a brutal summer of heat here in Phoenix. So, it's been a bit rough on the plants. Out of 10 serrano and 10 jalapeno seedlings we had going, we're down to 2 jalapenos, and 4 serranos. Have 1 strong jalapeno and 1 strong serrano. Both have finally started to grow flowers, and our jalapeno has 2 little peppers coming in.

I just went out to check on them, and I noticed some odd discoloration on a few of the leaves of our strong jalapeno. Currently seems to be local to just that one, but I haven't seen anything like it before, so I'm a bit concerned. We fertilize every 2 weeks with fish/seaweed emulsion. The only other thing that's different recently, is I did spray them the other day with an epsom salt mixture now that they're starting to flower. I'm wondering if the leaf issue is do to the epsom salt mix? Maybe it was too concentrated or I applied too much, not sure. If not epsom salt issues, then I'm back to tracking down the culprit. Done a lot of research about varying disease and pests with peppers, but I haven't seen any pictures that look quite likes this. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: First time growing peppers - need advice!

Squiggly lines are sure indication those are leaf miner maggots — they burrow between top and bottom layers of the leaf, making them impervious to sprays, etc. Best to cut off affected leaves and securely destroy. If the squiggles are on outer edge or end, you can just trim off the affected portion of the leaf without cutting off entire leaf.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:52 pm
Location: Woodbury NJ Zone 6B

Re: First time growing peppers - need advice!

If you have a lot of leaf miner flies in the area, probably your best way to prevent them in the future is to cover the plants. I have a similar problem with pepper maggot flies here - since they lay the eggs on the skin of the peppers, and the maggots bore into the fruits, so, like the leaf miners, insecticides do not help. Fortunately, the pepper maggot flies die off at the end of July, here, so I uncover the plants the rest of the season. However, they probably need to be left covered all season for the leaf miner.

You can use an ultra-light Agribon, or tulle, as the cover. The tulle would probably be best in your area, being the lightest. I have made small hoop houses for the covers, and in recent years, I have covered Earthboxes, using a PVC rack, for the cover. Here's one covered, and sealed around the bottom, and later in the season, with it removed.
ImageBig Jim and Jalafuegos, a little over 15 inches, 6-25 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

ImagePepper plants growing through the tops of the covers 7-28 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: First time growing peppers - need advice!

The white spots are probably western flower thrips. You will see their damage, but you won't see them.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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