John McDonald

Blogging about politics, life, and the web

Some bug really likes these cubanelle peppers…

June 4th, 2010

So far, the hot sun and the damp soil has been a great mix for the various peppers planted around the house. The green bell peppers were our first set of seeds this year and they’re absolutely thriving. But I guess at some point we decided that three pepper plants wouldn’t be enough, so I got started on some sweet yellow cubanelles and some red hot cayennes.

Some fresh cubanelle peppers that didn't get eaten by bugs, ready for shipment or sale

What we hope to grow if the bugs don't get to them first...

(btw, I’m still terrible with the camera so I’m getting my cubanelle pictures from Wikipedia)

Now, the bell and cubanelle peppers are located in a pretty close proximity – I’m not too worried about cross-pollination because they have similar tastes to begin with. The cayennes on the other hand, have a distinct and spicy flavor so they’re currently separated from the main garden square.

Yet for some reason, there’s some set of bugs that is intent on gobbling up the cubanelles. They don’t mess with the other peppers, but for the last few nights they’ve been going from one cubanelle plant to the next, gobbling up the leaves and leaving nothing but a frayed stem. One of the slow-poke seedlings had its two baby leaves then the next day it had one.  The day after, the second one was gone but the stem was still trying to stand up.  The next night, the second slowest seedling lost about half of its biggest leaf, and this morning that leaf was completely gone and a few nibbles were showing up on the next leaf.  There’s a little hope that this will just play itself out, because they’ve only eaten the two plants that were lagging behind developmentally, anyway.  I’m hoping that the plants with at least a half dozen mature leaves are able to regenerate quickly enough that they simply outgrow the pests.  So far, so good… but if the faster ones start to fall we’re going to have some issues here.

Unfortunately, they’re not leaving behind any kind of evidence either. From the time I’ve spent in the garden, I haven’t seen the culprit myself and there’s no visible sign of eggs, a slug trail, or even critter footprints. There was an abundance of mosquitoes hanging out in the corner of the garden that was losing cubanelles, but there’s no sign of standing water or the shady spots that they usually hang out in. And I’m pretty sure that mosquitoes don’t eat leaves, because every time I’m there they only seem interested in my blood.

We started with about a dozen of these seedlings so there are still nine or ten left. There are also another dozen cayenne peppers that seem to be doing just fine.

It might just be time to relocated the lemon grass and pitcher plants, but they’ve been doing pretty well at keeping the deck and open-aired porch relatively free of the biting and stinging types of pests.

I’m keeping an eye out for potential solutions, but I haven’t been able to find any similar stories on Google yet.  Meanwhile, everything else that we’re growing has done surprisingly well!  I’ll be sure to get some pictures up, even if I have to get my better half to take them.  I don’t think she wants me trying to take pictures and deleting the memory instead… again.


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