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Saraburi121

Growing Chili Peppers in Central Thailand

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Cheers all,

 

Been trying to grow thai chili peppers here in Saraburi in Central Thailand. Over the last year tried a few different varieties of Thai chili seeds an all grow well but when the get close to picking (turning red) they seem like they rot and turn brown.  Have tried different levels of fertilizer, magnesiem and watering the same every evening.  Starts are in plowed soil that corn and cassava grows well.  I even tried putting in a concrete circle that folks usually grow limes in and put soil bought from another area and still the chilis turned half red then started to turn brown.  Missing a nutrient from the soil?  Used 5-10-10 fertilizer once rooted between plants.  Tried 15-15-15 and had nice green plants but still the same problem.  Maybe not enough water?  Water every evening, tried morning and evening to no avail   Maybe the wrong soil to grow chilis?  

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I'm no chilli expert, but do as the locals do - chuck the seeds out on any patch of land and then leave them be for a few months. When you go back, violà! You'll have chillies. 

I used to do it the way you are now and I had the exact same results. Since doing it the "Thai way" (i.e. a minimum of care), I've had much better results. 

 

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There are a variety of hybrid types that seem to do better than the traditional plants.  We buy established plants for about 10 baht each and they do very well.  Some of the peppers will rot on the plant before picking, but overall, I'd say 90% or better of the peppers are not affected.

 

Likewise, other hybrid seeds like corn and cucumbers do better than the cheaper traditional kind.  We're friends with a Thai farmer who swears by the corn and peppers, saying yield is much higher and he doesn't have to spray.  Naturally the seeds are more expensive.

 

 

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Sounds like blossom end rot, this generally occurs due to lack of calcium or using ammonia based fertilizer. 5-10-5 is what i use and havent had problem.

Are the leaves a bit whilted as well? If yes then your problem is lack of or uneven watering. Try putting woodshavings leaves or other covering around the stem to keep moisture in the soil even also you could use liquid calcium foliar spray this is fast absorbing and usually will save the chilli if not to far gone.

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Could also be Anthracnose. You can confirm this and spray with Bacillus subtilis. It's an organic fungicide and widely available.

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I don't know if you have a small garden or if you want to grow commercially a thing that always is a good recommendation is to do a proper soil test when things are not going the way you want it to go. 

Then it will be easier to know how to deal with the issues you have and why they occur. 

 

As stated above it could be Anthracnose or Blossom Root Rot, both of those issues are allowed to occur especially in heavy clay soil and over-watering that will allow diseases to thrive. Chili much like tomatoes prefer a well-drained soil rich in calcium and organic matter.

 

Normal for farmland soils in Thailand is around or less than 1% organic matter. The highest I tested last year (2019) was 4.5% but that is 1 out of 150 tests. and the only one over 2.96%. Corn and Cassava is not as picky growers and most varieties in Thailand are GMO varieties specially designed for local conditions. 

 

As a prevention for Antracnose and a complement for Bacillum Subtilis you could make sure you have Trichoderma Harzianum established in the soil by adding it to the soil a few times a year can also be applied as a antifungal foliarspray. I add that to my compost piles as well as with other beneficial fungi, as I prefer to have a fungus dominated over bacteria dominated compost which is beneficial for a living soil profile and will make your plants more resistant to issues like this long term. Other deficiencies that will make your plants more susceptible to problems like this is Zinc and Copper deficiencies or even an imbalance between the two can be an issue. Same thing goes for Iron and Manganese imbalance or deficiencies.

 

However its often Urea in commercial NPK fertilizers like 15-15-15 that will kill your beneficial microbes in the soil and let bad ones take over. Not all ammonium based fertilizers are alike. if you have a Neutral or alkaline soil you can even use Ammonium Sulfate which is not detrimental like urea is to the roots and soil biology, which also contains sulfur that normally is deficient in most farm here in Thailand anyway. But if you want a good natural nitrogen fertilizer instead, I would recommend feathermeal for slowrelease and bat guano or quail guano for fastrelease nitrogen. Bonemeal adds small amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium (non reactive), etc. chilis don't need a lot of potassium so greensand 10% could cover most of that need at the same time as it provides 60+ micronutrients for the soil. another option for someone DIY is fermenting or drying bananapeels (K up to 42%).

 

as for reactive calcium you have 4 major varieties that is common. Calcium Oxide (CaO), Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH)2), Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) and Calcium Sulfate (CaSO4 / Gypsum).

 

Calcium Oxide, contains the highest amount of calcium but will almost reach boiling point when hydrated and can burn your skin and the roots of the tree so never use it near established plant roots but use it post harvest or before planting. If I have had problems with certain pathogens or diseases or even adding it to a new compost-pile before activating it you can use it to kill off pathogens by hydrating it when mixed in. Calcium Hydroxide is Hydrated Calcium Oxide, and is higher in oxygen and has low amount of hydrogen as well which is clearly beneficial in soils over 7.3pH which will have 0% hydrogen in the soil. Calcium Carbonate has carbon and oxygen. All three of these will adjust the pH of the soil and all has a function when used properly. 

 

Calcium Sulfate is different from the others as it contains Sulfur...and is the only one of the four that wont adjust soil pH. as the calcium and sulfur is balancing each-other out. 

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Thanks all for advice, your info gives me some work to do.  It looks like Anthracnose from the pictures I looked at on the net.  Will spray them with Bacillus subtilis and see how that goes.  I have been using a small amount of 15-15-15 so that may add to the problem.  Maybe at the end of this year work some cow poop into the soil.  Soil is well drained and will look into doing a soil test if its not too expensive.  I just grow for fun and folks in the village plus I love chilis, any kind.  I have grown thai chilis in Japan, Singapore (apartment balcony) Hawaii and the US, seems like it takes some time to break the code on growing healthy chilis in each different areas.   Been looking on Lazada to find some hybrid seed to no avail, will keep looking.  Will post some pictures and update on the results.  Evalore, very informative post!  

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On 4/25/2020 at 3:34 AM, Saraburi121 said:

Thanks all for advice, your info gives me some work to do.  It looks like Anthracnose from the pictures I looked at on the net.  Will spray them with Bacillus subtilis and see how that goes.  I have been using a small amount of 15-15-15 so that may add to the problem.  Maybe at the end of this year work some cow poop into the soil.  Soil is well drained and will look into doing a soil test if its not too expensive.  I just grow for fun and folks in the village plus I love chilis, any kind.  I have grown thai chilis in Japan, Singapore (apartment balcony) Hawaii and the US, seems like it takes some time to break the code on growing healthy chilis in each different areas.   Been looking on Lazada to find some hybrid seed to no avail, will keep looking.  Will post some pictures and update on the results.  Evalore, very informative post!  

Looking for chili hybrid and F1, try Chia Thai or East West seeds. The latter one called sorn daeng in Thai. 

They have chili varieties bred and selected for Thai climate.

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On 4/25/2020 at 3:34 AM, Saraburi121 said:

Thanks all for advice, your info gives me some work to do.  It looks like Anthracnose from the pictures I looked at on the net.  Will spray them with Bacillus subtilis and see how that goes.  I have been using a small amount of 15-15-15 so that may add to the problem.  Maybe at the end of this year work some cow poop into the soil.  Soil is well drained and will look into doing a soil test if its not too expensive.  I just grow for fun and folks in the village plus I love chilis, any kind.  I have grown thai chilis in Japan, Singapore (apartment balcony) Hawaii and the US, seems like it takes some time to break the code on growing healthy chilis in each different areas.   Been looking on Lazada to find some hybrid seed to no avail, will keep looking.  Will post some pictures and update on the results.  Evalore, very informative post!  

if your soil is heavy clay even incorporating sand and / or rice husk, rice husk ash / besides the cow poop can be beneficial to improve drainage and texture of the soil without braking the bank.

 

For basic testing if your only interested in a basic NPK and pH labs like in Maejo university or any agricultural uni can do it. They start at about 500 baht and can go up to over 10.000. For a wide range test like what we do that includes also includes CEC, pH, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, sodium, boron, iron, manganese, zinc and copper etc that costs around 5000 and the analysis is done by a lab in the US with a full Rx. There is one lab in Thailand that can make tests like that but they are very expensive they charge a little over 23.000 for the same test. We use lab in the US as they have faster turnaround time and is more reliable if when considering the shipping time.

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12 minutes ago, Evolare said:

if your soil is heavy clay even incorporating sand and / or rice husk, rice husk ash / besides the cow poop can be beneficial to improve drainage and texture of the soil without braking the bank.

 

For basic testing if your only interested in a basic NPK and pH labs like in Maejo university or any agricultural uni can do it. They start at about 500 baht and can go up to over 10.000. For a wide range test like what we do that includes also includes CEC, pH, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, sodium, boron, iron, manganese, zinc and copper etc that costs around 5000 and the analysis is done by a lab in the US with a full Rx. There is one lab in Thailand that can make tests like that but they are very expensive they charge a little over 23.000 for the same test. We use lab in the US as they have faster turnaround time and is more reliable if when considering the shipping time.

Famerjo had some soil tested very comprehensive, tested all the minerals  and trace elements,(his soil had a lot of Aluminum for some reason).

All done in Thailand cost I think was 6000 baht . 

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On 4/26/2020 at 8:55 PM, kickstart said:

Famerjo had some soil tested very comprehensive, tested all the minerals  and trace elements,(his soil had a lot of Aluminum for some reason).

All done in Thailand cost I think was 6000 baht . 

We charge 5000 baht for a wide spectrum analysis including an Rx and shipping to the US (cost for EMS ~2000thb) or 3500 if an Rx is not wanted. 

  

Anyway Aluminium in general doesn't have a impact on the soil health overall if you look on ppm range in soils the lowest I have tested to date is 367 ppm and the highest being 2030 ppm and the second highest being 1181 ppm. with an average at 649 ppm from a total of 281 soil tests to date. 

 

With one exception if the soil is a acidic low pH soils and you have a high concentration of aluminium then it can cause toxicity and damage roots in the soil. I have only one case, a orange orchard that had problems with Aluminium toxicity. Agronomists and some other "experts" where blaming the issue on HLB, but after doing plant tissue testing HLB was not detected in any of the samples. But our soiltest revealed that the pH was 4.2 which is low even for citrus trees and 2030 ppm of aluminium. which wilted the roots and killed almost half the orchard. after the soil balance had been restored through amendments with the proper nutrients and the soil pH had increased to a 5.6-5.8 range. the impact that aluminium solubilization had on the trees had ended.

 

However the owner of the orchard culled the remaining trees and planted another variety in the end as the damage to the roots where too extensive and it would take years for the trees to recover. 

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On 4/26/2020 at 7:18 PM, CLW said:

Looking for chili hybrid and F1, try Chia Thai or East West seeds. The latter one called sorn daeng in Thai. 

They have chili varieties bred and selected for Thai climate.

Thanks!  Found the F1 chili seeds on Lazada from East West seeds, ordered a few varieties and some cucumber seeds as well.  

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On 4/26/2020 at 8:35 PM, Evolare said:

if your soil is heavy clay even incorporating sand and / or rice husk, rice husk ash / besides the cow poop can be beneficial to improve drainage and texture of the soil without braking the bank.

 

For basic testing if your only interested in a basic NPK and pH labs like in Maejo university or any agricultural uni can do it. They start at about 500 baht and can go up to over 10.000. For a wide range test like what we do that includes also includes CEC, pH, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, sodium, boron, iron, manganese, zinc and copper etc that costs around 5000 and the analysis is done by a lab in the US with a full Rx. There is one lab in Thailand that can make tests like that but they are very expensive they charge a little over 23.000 for the same test. We use lab in the US as they have faster turnaround time and is more reliable if when considering the shipping time.

Will look into one of the agricultural unis for a basic test.  That is probably all I would need since I do this as a hobby.  We grew corn last year and plowed the stocks under, maybe plant a cover crop once we harvest our cassava.  Plan is to stake out an area of the field and prepare the soil for chili peppers. Again thanks for the excellent information!  

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Just received my bacillus subtilis in the mail.  Directions say use 100 grams to 20 liters of water.  I only have a 2 liter spray bottle so 2.5 grams.  Says every 7 days.  Does that sound like an appropriate mix/schedule for chili’s?  Also reading if there is a waiting period after use til harvesting.  Attached is a picture of the brand I bought.

AEBF23D4-06FD-4C5B-9863-62A9AB50407C.jpeg.eb5ba954bfd472c86103bfd2792cc4a7.jpeg  

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Bacillus subtilis is used to make Natto (fermented soybeans). Thua nao (ถั่วเน่า) in Thai.  Should be OK unless they added something else.

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