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The Family Plot – July 1, 2017


– Hi, thanks for joining
us for the Family Plot: Gardening in The Mid-South. I’m Chris Cooper. Peppers are a Summer
garden favorite. Today we’re going to
learn all about them. Also, there’s lots of
advice floating around about how to plant. Some is true, a lot is not. Today we’re separating
fact from fiction. That’s just ahead
on The Family Plot: Gardening in the Mid-South. – (Female narrator)
Production funding for The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South, is provided by the
WKNO Production Fund, the WKNO Endowment Fund, and by viewers like you. Thank you. [cheerful guitar music] – Welcome to The Family
Plot, I’m Chris Cooper. Joining me today is Tom Mashour. Mr. Tom is an Extension Master
Gardener in Tipton County. And Carol Reese is here. Miss Carol is an ornamental
horticulturist specialist with UT Extension. Thanks for joining us. – Thank you.
– Glad to be here. – Alright, Mr. Tom, we’re
gonna talk about peppers. – Love ’em. – I know you love to
talk about peppers. – Oh, I do. – So, where do
you want to start? – Well, let’s talk
about varieties. – (Chris)
Okay, let’s do that. – One catalog has 80 different
varieties of peppers. And that’s not all inclusive. There’s a lot more peppers
than just that one catalog. – (Chris)
Okay. – Anywhere from bell peppers
to ornamental peppers that grows these little,
tiny, little purple peppers. But ornamental peppers,
all peppers are edible. – Okay. – Peppers are rated
on the Scoville scale, which rates them
by their pungency, is that the right word? A bell pepper, no score at all. You get into your jalapenos, and on the Scoville scale
they’re around 20,000. You get into the habaneros, they’re anywhere from
250,000 to 450,000. – (Chris)
Ouch! – You get to the ghost pepper and it’s 1 to 1.1 million. And then you have
to understand that there’s a pepper
that’s even hotter. And what makes them
hot is the… capsaicin? – (Chris)
Capsaicin. – Capsaicin, thank
you, that’s in it. And pure cap…,
one more time. – Capsaicin?
– Thank you. Is about 15 million. And a lot of these heat pads, that’s what they have
in them to make them hot so you get that heat from them. I personally do not like
really hot, hot peppers. – I don’t either. – One of the cute
things is right here. This is called a Fooled
You jalapeno pepper. It looks, grows, it takes just like a jalapeno, but it’s just as hot
as a bell pepper. So, you get all the
flavor but no pain. And peppers are members
of the nightshade family, which also includes
tomatoes, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes. – (Carol)
Eggplant. – And eggplant, thank you. And the unique
thing about them is when they group
them together a lot is due to the flower, and all of the male and female
parts are in each blossom. So, they’re considered
wind pollinated. Allows just a little breeze
to shake them up a little bit. That’s all they need. Matter of fact, in greenhouses when they grow
hothouse tomatoes, peppers, and stuff like that, all they really do
is every morning walk through with
like bamboo sticks and just bang them, bang,
bang, bang, bang, bang, as they walk down them, which is enough shaking
to cause pollination. – (Chris)
Oh, interesting. – Which also creates a problem. One of the problems is, like I did at my house by
mistake and I knew better, I mean I really did
but I screwed up, and I planted some
sweet banana peppers next to my jalapeno peppers. Guess what I ended up with. I ended up with banana peppers that were actually hotter
than the jalapenos. So, I’ll have to give those
away with a cautionary note. Starting peppers though
are relatively easy. One of the problems is, again, they don’t grow anywhere near
as fast as tomato plants do and they take
longer to germinate. So, I usually start my peppers, I start everything indoors
or in the greenhouse, but I start them
approximately a month before I even think about
starting my tomatoes. And the tomatoes, from
the time I start the seeds to the time they’re
ready to go in the garden is less than six weeks. Peppers, probably
about two months before I put them in the garden, before they’re able to
handle the weather like that. And I also plant them in pairs. I’ll plant two of them
about that far apart, and then a space of 18 inches, then I plant two more, and then I plant two more
and two more in pairs. And the reason for that is
the foliage of one plant helps protect the peppers
of the adjacent plant. When the sun rises in the east, and then it reverses
on the west side, and it’ll help
prevent one problem. I’ve still got a little
bit of damage from it, but this right here
is sun scalding, and that’s because
the pepper got exposed directly to the sun. This one here got damaged because it was
touching the ground, and the little critters that
live in the ground got to it. And of course this is
what you’re looking for. – (Chris)
Oh yeah, that looks good. – Exactly, and by the way– – Well, tell me this, are those still edible? – Yes they are actually. What you would
do, or I would do, is I would cut out
the bad part of it, in this case the sun scalding, and then cut it up in pieces, same thing with
this one, cut it up, and then put them in one
of those self sealing bags, squeeze the air out of
it and zip it closed, and by reducing the
amount of air in there they just seem to last longer. They need, like most vegetables, at least six hours of daylight. You need to stake them with
bamboo sticks or something, because when it gets heavy, it hopefully will get
heavy with peppers, the plants are kind of brittle. If you get three or four peppers
on a stem, it’ll break off. – And I’ve see people use cages. – (Tom)
You can. – For their peppers. – Those little–
– For that purpose. – Cone shaped cages
that are ridiculously, ridiculous for use on tomatoes, but they work good for peppers because they do support. As far as I know, that’s
about the only use for them. Watering, they like
moderate watering. Just like most vegetables,
they like a damp soil, not soggy, but damp. And by having it
damp, constantly damp, you prevent a lot of problems with like blossom end
rot, a few other things. They like to the source water. When you water,
you want to water with a drip line on the way out. A balanced fertilizer,
a 10-10, 10-10-10, 13-13-13, 15-15-15, which again is good
for most vegetables but not all vegetables. – So, when is a good
time to pick them? – Actually that’s a good point. When they start turning
red they get sweeter, just like especially
on bell peppers. And by the way, on the scalding, some bell peppers are
about the only pepper that is affected
by sun scalding. But, there’s a fine point when the tomatoes are solid
red and they get mushy. So, if you want a good,
sweet tomato or pepper, like in bell peppers, then when it starts turning red but before it goes
completely red, still got a little
bit of green in it, it’s still gonna
be firm and sweet. So, that’s the best
time to pick it. And also, the fewer, like almost a lot of your
fruit type vegetables, the fewer the fruit
the bigger the fruit. So peppers, well,
people complain saying, “I just keep getting
small peppers.” Well, you probably got about
100 peppers on that plant. So, I usually tell
people kind of limit to three or four
peppers per plant, and then when you harvest one when it’s at the right
size for your needs, then let another one grow, and you’ll be very
successful with that. And also, you don’t have to have a garden for growing peppers. They look fantastic
in flower beds. – And probably even containers. – Yeah, yeah, they’re
very versatile as far as that goes. And as I said, one
of the few fruits something to grow in your
flower bed that’s edible. – Alright Mr. Tom, we appreciate that
information about peppers. – Okay, I hope that’s helpful. – Thank you very much. There are a number
of gardening events going on in the next
couple of weeks. Here’s just a few that
might interest you. [upbeat gentle guitar music] Alright Miss Carol, I can’t
wait to hear this, okay? Planting mis-information, okay? Where you wanna
start with that? I can’t wait. – Well, I can be
pretty vicious sometimes. I was checking out
something recently and the girl behind the counter tried to sell me
soil amendments. – (Chris) Uh-oh.
– with my plants, they were some old
Hollywood junipers, and I was like,
“Don’t believe in them!” I believe in improving soil, but from the top down
like mother nature does. If you dig a hole, they want you to dig a hole and mix the soil
amendments in the hole and then plant in there, and actually what you’re doing is creating a bucket of vastly
different textured soil, which is gonna fill up
with water in wet times, because the tight soil
acts like a bucket, and it’s gonna dry out
faster during dry times. Plus, the roots don’t
really want to leave that little pampered area. They’re like, “Ooh, I
don’t wanna go over there.” – (Chris)
“This is nice.” – “I’ll stay right here,” which means they blow over easy, and again, can be a
challenge to keep it watered. So, I just break
up the native soil as little as possible
to get it in there. And also if I do need to
improve my soil, and my house, you know I just built
a house in 2011, a lot of bulldozer work. So, I really don’t have a
lot of good, native soil. So, I’m not saying never
till in soil amendments, but if you do do the whole area so that it can continue, because tree roots especially they want to go out
sideways really far, so the more you can help
them do that that’s good. They like for you to add
hormones and root stimulators. No scientific research has shown that that gives any benefit. It’s just another product that they’re trying to
sell you over the counter. – (Chris)
Interesting. – Don’t put any
fertilizer in that hole. – (Chris)
I heard that one too, okay. – Don’t fertilize that
plant for the first year. Woody plants, now annuals
and vegetables sure you do, that’s a different thing, and till in all the
stuff you want to there for that quick response. But, for trees and shrubs I don’t recommend fertilizer
for the first year, because you have a
challenged plant anyway. It’s going through some shock. It’s having to get
real integrated into that new setting, and fertilizers are salty and they draw water
from the roots. So, you really don’t want to be pushing the envelope with that and kind of giving them a
little bit more challenge. People wanna do that when
a plant is sick, too. They like to
throw some fertilizer. – (Chris)
Don’t fertilize them. – Tried fertilizing it
and it hadn’t responded. Well, you don’t want a
whole bunch of rich food when you’re sick either. (Chris laughs) Don’t do that to the plant. Just nurse it during
drought-y times. Try not to stress it. See if it can recover
from whatever is going on. – Okay, let me ask
you this though. Let me back you up for a second. So, when do you recommend
tilling, tilling? – Yes, if I’m gonna do a
vegetable garden maybe. Now, you can go
the lasagna route and just layer things on top, but if I really want to improve
the soil for the annuals and I really need to plant
for seasonal display. I’m gonna change that
garden out twice a year from cool to warm season. I want that quick response. I don’t have all day
to wait for that plant, so I’m probably gonna till in and get some good amendments
and some quick fertilizer boost and get that quick
turnover for me there. – Good, okay, good, okay. – And also like in my soil, I’m down to the B horizon. So, I’m gonna do the whole area. I don’t have any
soil structure left because of all the
bulldozer work. So, I’m not preserving
anything by not tilling, because when we don’t till we’re trying to
preserve soil structure that was originally there, and right now I don’t have any. – (Chris)
Good stuff, okay. – I do strip tilling. Just till one little strip
exactly where I put the seeds. – Yeah, well a vegetable
garden I think that’s cool. That’s fine. Maybe not on my permanent
vegetables, I mean perennial. I’m gonna do some
perennial vegetables around my new garden plot, and I’m probably
not gonna till that every year by any means. Anyway, another is
container plants are always better
than being big. Of course, it turns out
that container plants have their own set of problems, which is root girdling which
I was not a big believer in. Now I’m convinced. And now with these
days of looking online and finding lots of good images, you can find the
coolest pictures of what circling roots can do. They actually wrap
around a lot of times especially when they’re
planted too deep, and they will girdle
that trunk so severely that it’s just like you put a piece of steel twine
or a wire around it. It also makes them snap
at that point, too. So you got to be sure if you are planting
container plants to get those roots teased out or saw through them
with a serrated saw, or B & B material, which if it’s been properly
grown is actually not, All those roots are going
to be going out in the soil like they’re supposed to. – Let’s go back again. So, B & B stands for? – Ball and burlap. You dig up a root ball. You wrap it in burlap. Another myth was you could leave it on
there because it’ll rot. – I was just about
to ask you that. So what about that one? – You do not. You take it off. If it rotted that
fast would you use it? (Chris laughs) – Right. – And also they don’t even
use real burlap these days. They have some kind
of synthetic product that looks like burlap. You want those roots to get
as in touch with that soil as fast as they can. Take off the cage, take off
the burlap, take off the wire. Do whatever you can to actually get naked roots
in touch with the soil where it’s gonna be growing, and water in well,
water in deeply. – Okay, water in
well, water in deeply. – Yes, even if you have
rain, if you have irrigation, that first soaking
you need to really get that root ball
settled in and soaked. – Okay. – We used to hear
B & B material could only be planted in the
winter when it’s dormant. But truth is if it’s
been well handled, root pruned, wrapped
in a good ball of burlap, there’s a lot of
good intact roots in that plant right there. You can certainly
plant them year round as long as you’re
willing to water, which is the same thing you had to do with
container plants anyway. So, that is another myth. They also used to tell you be sure you don’t let
that root ball come apart. Keep that soil. Now they discovered if you
knock all that soil off and plant it and
get it into contact with the soil where
it’s gonna be growing, it’ll actually grow a lot faster than the one that is kept
in the original root ball. So, somebody finally
does research. If we got time for more, the idea that raw wood chips are always a bad idea for
mulching established plants. It is a bad idea if
you’re tilling it in, and little baby plants it’s
gonna rob the nitrogen, and it could
certainly deprive them of the nutrition
they need for growth. But, if you’re just
using raw wood chips to put on the top of the ground around well established plants, it does not steal the nitrogen. – Does not, does not. – Does not. It’s a perfectly good source, and a good way to recycle things and help them from hauling
those kinds of things off to the landfill. – Okay. – Talk about fertilizer, people have misconceptions
about fertilizer being good for plants and
what types of fertilizer. Number one, most of our
soils have plenty of P and K, so usually you don’t have
to add a lot of that. You really don’t have to
fertilize a woody plant at all. You really don’t. We’ve got plenty of
nutrition in the soil. The plants out in the
woods have done fine without anybody
helping them out. We like to. We like to get rich growth and
push them along a little bit. People assume manure
is always a good idea. It’s a good organic source. It breaks down slow. Some plants don’t like manure. We discovered that the hard way because we thought, well,
grew up on a dairy farm and when we switched over
to being a blueberry orchard we put manure on everything. Blueberries don’t like manure. It’s too alkaline. And most of our ornamentals
like an acid soil, hollies, camellias, azaleas. – (Tom)
Gardenias. – Yes, they do not like
that alkaline soil. So, don’t make that assumption
manure is always a good idea. – Does manure contain
a lot of salt? – I don’t know if
it’s salt, it’s alkaline. You know, different. I wouldn’t think it would
be a high salt thing at all. Companion plants, you hear
that business all the time. – (Chris)
You get it all the time. – Companion plants, companion
plants, compost tea. (Chris laughs) I read somewhere say, “Why would you think a
diluted product from compost would be better
than actual compost?” Makes no sense, does it? They say it cures all ills. You can use it for curing these
diseases and that disease. True, a healthier plant might be able to
resist some disease. I really like
people to research. There’s some good
books out there the truth about home
remedies that you can read, which ones actually
work, because some do, but a lot of the myth
about companion plants was plants that
repel mosquitoes. I watch them land, I watched a mosquito land
right on that citronella leaf. (Chris laughs) I’m like, “Really?” – Didn’t do a thing to it, huh? – No, but people swear by it, because they didn’t have
mosquitoes that summer. Well, there was
some other reason you didn’t have
mosquitoes that summer. It had nothing to do with
your citronella plant. – You know, that’s one you see
on the Internet all the time, recommended plants
to repel mosquitoes. How about that. – Somebody said put a
little mint in your house and the mice will scamper away. I’m like, “Really?” So yeah, we have to be
careful about these things. If it sounds too good to be
true, it’s probably not– – It probably is. Carol, that’s some good stuff. I’d been waiting for that. That’s some really good stuff. Thank you very much, alright. [upbeat gentle guitar music] Let’s take a look at
our bean plants here. As you can see, a lot of the older leaves
are yellow, are yellowing, and to me that’s usually an indication of
nitrogen deficiency. It starts in your
older leaves first. Then it moves up the plant
to your younger leaves. So, what we need to do is
add more nitrogen to it. Beans are legumes,
and even though they actually do fix
nitrogen from the atmosphere and pull it down into the roots, they can still be
deficient in nitrogen. So therefore, you need to add
a nitrogen fertilizer to it to green those leaves up, especially for your new growth. Just put it right outside the
drip line of your bean plants. Make sure you get
that watered in. Once you get that watered in you will start to
see your newer growth become a lot greener. It’s not gonna do anything for the ones that are
already deficient, but again, your newer growth will be nice, pretty, and green. [upbeat gentle guitar music] Alright, here’s our Q&A session. Mr. Tom, you jump in
there and help us out being a master gardener
and all, alright? – Okay. – So, here’s our
first viewer email. “What causes a plum tree
to flower every year but not give any fruit?” And this is from Peter. So Miss Carol, I
remember you sent us out a publication about
this once before about fruit plants that
needed pollinators. So, what say you about this? – It’s a lonely plum. (Chris laughs) It’s lonely. – (Chris)
It’s lonely? – You know, they’re
perfect flowers. Everything in the
Rosaceae family does have male and female
on the same flower, but it needs a
separate individual. It doesn’t want to
pollinate itself. That’s not a good idea. That’s like inbreeding. So, it needs a cross pollinator. So, I don’t know
what kind they have. – Right, yeah, that’s right. It just says a plum
tree, so right. – Some have been bred
to be self fertile, but it sounds like
their’s is not, and most people don’t
know what they have unless they just got some. So, I’d say just go get a couple
other, two different types, then you kind of ensure
that you have a pollinator and plant those near for the
insects to ferry the pollen. – It would help if
they knew the variety, because if you know the variety some as you said
are self pollinators and some do require companions. – (Carol)
Yes. – So it’s a lonely plum. Alright, yeah, because
I remember that. You sent it out
to all the agents about what fruit trees
require pollinators and such. So, that’s always
good information. Alright Peter, so I
hope that helps you out. Here’s our next viewer email. “The last several days my
zucchini has been blooming, “but I’ve noticed only
one or two female flowers. “This morning I counted
and there were 20 flowers, “but none of them were female. “Is there a reason for this? “Is there anything I can do to encourage more female
flower blossoms on my zucchini?” And this is from Mr. Mike
in Ringgold, Georgia. Thank you, Mr. Mike. So, here’s the question. “Is there anything I can do to encourage more female
flower blossoms on my zucchini?” – Well, the thing is
this is kind of normal in the beginning of the season. Just like my plants
in the morning when they first
started blossoming, they were all females,
no boys around. And then as time progresses, and I got calls about that, and not just for zucchinis, but just yellow squash
and stuff like that, and then a little bit later
the boys start showing up. – Mine is usually
the other way around. I have males– – Yeah, the males happen first. – Well they used to, but one season I’ll have
the males in the morning, and then later on I would
have females in the afternoon, by that time the
boys are closed, the boy blossoms are closed up, and then sometimes
it’s reversed. It just depends, like you said. You have your boys. But this year, I had
all girls this morning, this morning, in the morning. And then later on
the boys showed up, and then they
finally got together. – I wondered if the first
plant, first tend to be males because it doesn’t take
as much energy maybe. – See, that’s what I thought. I thought it had to
do with the energy. – Yeah, female flowers
they have to have an ovary, and they’re gonna make babies. It’s gonna take
more from the plant. – (Chris)
And they’re larger blooms though, as well. So, that’s why I thought
they required more energy. – (Carol)
That’s true. – Because you need the boys because the boys
are gonna provide a lot of the pollen, and so they probably don’t
require as much energy as the female blossoms,
which are bigger, ovary. So, that’s what I thought. – That’s what I think, the plant needs to be bigger to start producing the female. – I’ve been getting the girls, but one of the things you can do if you want to encourage them– – Is mulch with pink. (Chris laughs)
I’m sorry, go ahead. – Just get one of those
little cheap artist brushes, or even a Q-tip, and when the boys are open just go ahead and grab some
of the pollen off of it, and then when the girls
show up later then– – I’m too lazy. I’m just gonna wait a week. (Chris laughs) – Nature will take its course. – It will happen. – So be patient. – Be patient, Mr.
Mike, is the word, and thank you for that
question, alright? Here’s our next viewer email. “Some of my squash plants “are big and have
dark green leaves, “and others are smaller
with light green leaves. How can I help
the smaller ones?” This is Lyla. So Mr. Tom, what do you think? – Well my garden is like
a micro environment. I had one area right from one end of
my garden to the other that things just did not
like to grow in there. Both sides of it everything
was fine, just that one spot. So, I ended up fertilizing
it a little bit better, and put some soil
amendments in that area and then now you couldn’t
tell it was there. But I think I would probably
give it a little bit more work on those weaker ones, give them a little
bit better fertilizer. – Could be drainage
is a little bad? – See, that’s where I was going. I thought maybe drainage
might be an issue. First thing that
came to my mind. – Good drainage
might be a good one. – Drainage, because
they were larger leaves. Now you have the
light green leaves. So, I thought maybe
drainage could be an issue. – And like Carol
mentioned before, I think we all know that
plants like air too, the roots. And again, it could be just the soil in that particular
spot could be different. – Could be Miss Lyla,
so there you have it. Alright, so Mr. Tom, Miss
Carol, we’re out of time. Fun as always.
– Real fun. – Remember, we love
to hear from you. Send us an email or letter. The email address is
[email protected], and the mailing
address is Family Plot 7151 Cherry Farms Road, Cordova, Tennessee 38016. Or, you could go online
to FamilyPlotGarden.com. That’s all we have
time for today. Need some gardening advice? Head on over to
FamilyPlotGarden.com. We have hundreds of videos on all sorts of gardening topics to help you and your plants
be successful this year. Thanks for watching. I’m Chris Cooper. Be sure to join us next
week for The Family Plot: Gardening in the Mid South. Be safe. [upbeat gentle guitar music]

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