Friday, July 10, 2015

Pepper Sunscald

Ever have this happen to one of your peppers? You go out one day and there it is...a scar on your pretty pepper. Even peppers can get a sunburn. Too much sun and the flesh is damaged, leaving an indented, pale, tough spot. Sometimes the spots will crack and the pepper will go bad. Other times, the blemish just remains there while the pepper continues to grow. The pepper is still edible, just remove the scar and eat the rest. 

The healthier the plant, the less likely the peppers are to be scalded. If the plant has bushy leaves, the peppers will be shaded by the leaves, protecting them from the sun. Even the healthiest plants leave some fruit uncovered. In the center of this photo, you can see a vulnerable pepper next to the stick.
A closer look reveals minor sun damage. 

The skin is dimpled and pale. If left unprotected, this spot would become a deep scar.

The solution is to cover or shade the peppers. I used shade cloth and poles to provide some shade.
Simply use wire to tie the cloth to the posts.
The shade cloth does not block the sun completely and the plants will get enough sun during the morning to grow nicely. They just need protection during the heat of the day. I installed the shade cloth during the hottest hours of the day to make sure the cloth was at the right height and angle to give the plants shade during those hot afternoon hours.
They look happy under the shade cloth.
Here's another area where I'm growing some peppers. Improvisation is key.
In another spot, the peppers are shaded by cloth and some dead bamboo sticks I stuck in the ground to protect them from the side.
See the peppers under there? No sunscald to be found!

Here's to a bountiful and beautiful harvest!

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