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Friday, 7 January 2011

Grow your own Chilli Plants: Pest Control

Pests and Problems:

Even the best and most experienced gardeners among us suffer from pests affecting our plants and crops. When giving grow your own a go here are some useful notes from articles I have read adding in my own personal experiences from the past few years to protect your red hot chillis.

Slugs and Snails can be of the biggest outdoor problems for the Chilli grower, usual signs of a slug or snail attack are the usual slime trails, the young branches near the base of the plant have been stripped away overnight or often the centre of the leaves have been munched away. These prefer dark damp places to live so keep your plants free from any fallen leaves and manually remove any slugs or snails you find. Alternative methods to deter slug and snails include that I have found useful include copper tape or rings, or sprinkling egg shells or sometimes used coffee grounds round the base of the plant.
Greenfly/Whitefly: When the plants produce lush new growth they become vulnerable to these aphids that spread viruses quickly and lead to the determent & health of the plant. These can infest you chillies at any time of the season when you least expect it. The organic method is best to just hand pick them off or spray your chillies with a very weak soap solution. If you want to get technical you can introduce natural predators like lady birds and hover flies, attract these to your garden by planting marigolds and other bright flowers around your chillies. If you are growing in a greenhouse you could go as far as purchasing a parasitic wasp (Encarsia Formosa) from a specialist over the Internet. I try to go for the organic methods but do occasionally use a simple pesticide spray suitable for vegetables available form any garden centre. Before you spray the best poison you can find on them though think about the fact you hope to eat the chillies. You can buy pesticides for cropping / growing food you want to eat that makes it safe. Gardeners word magazine suggests that if you have a complete infestation to snip off the worst bits and put them on your bird table for the birds to eat.

Thrips produces a silver white discolouration with tiny black dots on the upper leaf surface. The leaves become distorted and flower and fruit production is affected. It likes hot, dry conditions so water regularly and regulate the temperature with shading and ventilation. Having my plants on the decking last year gave them afternoon sun, shelter from wind and plenty of ventilation. I do have a south facing garden though so the plants get a lot of nice warm sun. just experiment in your garden once your plants and strong and see which are the best positions for them. i was hesitant at first as the British weather is not the best climate to grow chillis but I was then pleasantly surprised when some plants thrived.


Botrytis may also pose a problem especially at the base of the plant and the fruit. It begins as a brownish spot that develops into a grey mould. It is particularly prevalent when it is cold & damp. Good ventilation will help stop this occurring, removing all dead or injured plant material before it becomes infected. Remove all infected material by cutting back into healthy stock and burning or binning the infected stem. Do not compost diseased plant material. Isolate infected plants to prevent the disease spreading don't be tempted like I did once to keep them going to get just one more chilli!

Phytophthora Blight and Southern Blight (fungal infections) develop on the stem and the disease spreads to the rest of the plant leading to its collapse and wilting occurs. Splashing water can dislodge spores and so spread the disease may affect plants particularly if grown outside during a typical British damp wet summer. Southern Blight is characterised by the presence of a white, cotton-like growth on the surface of the stem accompanied by tan or brown spherical bodies. Fungal diseases spread rapidly and it is best to burn infected plants straight away at the first signs of infection. In moist weather a white fungal growth also develops on the underside of leaves. From experience if your plants looks very unhappy just get rid of it to avoid damage to the rest of your precious season of plants.

Mould and Rot If you are growing in pots, do not over crowd the chillies, keep them well ventilated, and water regularly but not too much. Symptoms can include mould on the leaves, soft fruit, and fungus around the stems. The usual causes of this is over watering or under watering. I sometimes use a Propagator and they have vents on the top to let air out. Once I did not leave these open and the environment got very wet and I lost most of my plants from mold at the base of the stem. Learn from my experience and failures keep that ventilation there.

Maddie
Pets not an obvious one but one of our cute moggies 'Maddie' is very partial to munching pepper teptin, twilight and jalapeno plants. For some reason she appears to avoid other plants types One year in the morning I awoke to find that an entire crop of twilight chillis has been mysteriously munched!! Look out for further cat mischief throughout the 2011 growing season. :)
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22 comments:

  1. How extraordinary - a whole blog about chillies. I notice you started in November. There is so much interesting detail even in this one post, I'm wondering how long you can keep it up!

    Re. cats - chilli sauce is the only thing which will keep cats off my plants or stop them from pooing in the gravel paths. My husband and I have an ongoing dispute. I reckon the sweet sort works best because it lasts longer on the ground. He reckons the hot is beter . . . because it is hotter!

    Good luck with the blog.

    Esther

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  2. Your cheerful pictures of peppers in the slideshow in your sidebar reminds me that I have thought of including one on my blog from time to time - but can't work out how. I've looked again at my Picassa pages and still can't fathom it. Would you be prepared to advise? I'd be really grateful.

    Lucy
    http://looseandleafy.blogspot.com/

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  3. Hi Lucy, I started off simple and added the 'slideshow gadget' found a key word that brough up the images i wanted and then just inserted it. I think you can also set it up to go through your own photos too if you wanted, i will eventually be setting this up on my site with photos from this year.

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  4. Thanks for your note about the slide show. I've been wanting to put a slide show of my own photos and that's where I have got stuck. I was thinking your slide show is of your own photos. I'll look around some of the other blogs too and see if I can find one operating like that. (I investigated a non-picassa one once but was worried about what happened to the copyright of the pictures I would upload to it.)

    Lucy

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  5. A very interesting and informative post on the pests that can affect the chili/ pepper plants. I must admit I did not know that blight was a problem for these plants. As for cats I have been trying to find an expalnation as to why some of my plants had been eaten and not others, well maybe I have found the answer as my next door neighbours cat finds the inside of my greenhouse a nice warm place to lie in wait for the pigeons.

    I hope you don't mind but I have added this site to my tublr account so that others make enjoy your wonderful blog.

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  6. Very good advices, I will be sure to keep an eye on my chilies when I get them this summer.

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  7. I am a woman who likes her chillies, so am very pleased to have found your blog space.

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  8. What an exciting experience!/Hilarious! Delightful! True!/wonderful stuff! thank you!


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  10. Pest control plays a crucial role in farming for without it, plants will die or not bear fruit.

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  11. I love chillies, especially the little hot ones. But the problem is they are so vulnerable to pest like bugs and snails. There are many organic and chemical insecticides in the market, but be sure to buy the ones that can kill the eggs. That will greatly reduce their number.

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  12. Love chillies, lots of meals can't be delicious without them:-)

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  20. تختلف انواع الحشرات وعليه تختلف طرق مكافحتها لذلك وفرنا كل السبل لمكافحة الحشرات والقضاء عليها فوفرنا بمدينة الرياض
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