[nafex] Re: Raspberries...melons

Kieran or Donna redherring at tnaccess.com
Thu May 31 11:57:01 EDT 2001

Tom wrote  "In my experience green peppers love sulfur and produce a good
crop when sulfur is added to the soil.
My guess is that green peppers like their soil a little acidic, and the
sulfur acidifies the soil.  Just my guess.
I usually just mix up a gallon of lime/sulfur spray (dormant concentration
level) and water in my pepper plants with it when planting.  Some people
just plane a couple of unlit, wooden matches under each plant (the old style
matches have sulfur in them). Can anyone confirm acid soil for green
peppers, or is it some other aspect to sulfur that induces bumper crops of
green peppers?"

    Our property came with wild blueberries on it, which can give you some
idea of the pH.  The first year we gardened there we had a "disease" in
peppers in which leaves developed brown spots and fell off, leaving only the
skeleton. (Corn grew 8" high and fired from the bottom up.  the co agent
agreed with me it looked like K deficiency, but thought it was from low pH
as local soils have plenty of K)   Naturally, yields were dismal. I decided
it was bacterial blight, and indeed, the plants responded to lime sulfur.
Only the second year did I realize it was calcium that was in short supply.
One friend saved her peppers from this condition by adding high Ca lime at
our advice.  So the notion that peppers need sulfur is new to me, but I have
heard 2 farmers in our area say they got the best grass they'd ever had
after adding 50 lbs to the acre of sulfur.  ( I'm sure their fields had had
plenty of lime, sulfur alone in our first year would probably done in the
    After we got our pH and organic matter up, we used to see manganese
deficiency during rainy spells (yellow stripes in the corn, similar to but
NOT THE SAME as magnesium deficiency) .  These 3 factors ( high moisture,
high pH and high organic matter) are a recipe for manganese deficiency, and
the only thing we could affect was the pH.  I threw sulfur around and the
corn greened up.
    I hope all this will give food for thought, and maybe some actual
experiments.  Naturally a CEC soil test is the best way to look for these
problems.  In fact, it was such a test plus that wonderful book, HANDS ON
AGRONOMY,  that clued me in on the manganese problem. ( I myself seem to be
genetically prone to manganese deficiency, so it's not a good idea to have
much of our food supply in the same boat)  I finally bought my own copy,
then loaned it to a farmer friend who whined and pleaded to keep it longer
than the 2 months he'd already had it.  I wonder if an excerpt published in
POMONA might inspire a few people to try the CEC soil tests?  The ones the
county does are useless.
     I also got a great book on weeds as soil indicators.   Ours all
indicated high Mg, low Ca the last few years.   Broomsedge  thrives in low
pH, low N, and low P conditions and should NEVER be seen in an orchard.

Donna  in TN zone 6, in severely leached upland clay soil


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