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So this is a kind of open-ended question, if it's too broad I'll try to be more specific, or remove the post.

  1. Do any of you have good resources for information on organically growing peppers?
  2. Do you have any pro tips that you've experienced yourselves?
  3. Do you have experiences growing in climates like Los Angeles?
  4. Why are some things to consider as Best Practice with regard to growing food plans, while keeping them healthy (i.e. organic).

Basically, I have a mild amount of experience growing plants, but mostly flowers and such - not edible plants. I did do a small amount of farming, but that was up in central Oregon, and all you basically have to do is plant the seed and water occasionally (and put a lot of effort to keep deer away).

Now, my wife and I are trying to grow some of our own peppers and herbs for cooking. Since we have an apartment, that means potted plants only ( 😢). It's very different than my other experience growing anything.

Anyway, all that said, our primary challenge now is dealing with pests and fungi/illnesses as they show up. Some isn't bad, but too much has resulted in 2-3 of my wife's plants dying. F we can put together a good enough collection of data, maybe we can make this into a wiki or something.

Thanks in advance for any contributions you all may have!!

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Growing plants in pots is a great solution. But if you did not use sterilized potting soil and used garden soil instead well, that would be your problem. Potted plants are totally dependent on what you give them. If you use soil out of the garden you easily can plop in a disease or insect that otherwise is controlled by the large body of garden soil. Big no no.

Plants in pots need potting soil (without added fertilizer or water holding sponges/gels) planted in pots with drainage holes at the bottom. No rock or gravel between the hole and the body of soil. Just soil. A bit of fertilizer...balanced fertilizer, never compost. Great light. Out doors on a covered patio is wonderful. If you are trying to get flowers, peppers and other reproductive growth you have to keep your nitrogen lower than the P and the K. Too much N and you will only get vegetative growth. For herbs like basil, tarragon, thyme...vegetative growth is fine. I would use my standby easy peasy safe to use extended release fertilizer recommendation; Osmocote 14-14-14 which will work fine for both reproductive and vegetative growth.

Here is the skinny with Organic from MY perspective. Knowing how to grow plants to the extent no mistakes will enhance insects or disease or any necessity to use PESTICIDES...that is growing organic. Fertilizer is not a pesticide. It is critical for plants. Without the proper chemicals available, plants are unable to do photosynthesis which is how they make THEIR OWN FOOD. Fertilizer, compost, fish sauce, grins...blood meal...non of this is FOOD for plants. In pots, you use potting soil. Potting soil does not require amending. Compost is to improve and feed the garden soil.

The biggest part to 'grow organic' is to make dang sure you do not purchase GMO seed. If there is a problem with insects or disease or getting started, you ask us professionals. Pesticides are band aids on problems never a solution. Organic to me and others means never using pesticides. Plants in pots need potting soil, great drainage, great light and fertilizer. All four are critical. Seed that is NON GMO will say NON GMO. Keep asking questions about how to grow your little garden on your balcony!

  • I agree with not using garden soil for potted plants, but I am confused by your advice to use Osmocote fertilizer which is not organic. There are a variety of options for natural and organic fertilizer, why do you recommend using something synthetic? Can you also explain the problem with compost? Is it too dense/takes to long to break down, that makes it unsuitable for growing indoors? – 1800-94-Jenny Aug 24 '17 at 14:24
  • Thanks stormy! An amendment to my question: would you classify it as "organic" to use the old soap & water vs aphids solution? The recipe that I found and used a couple times is 1 TSP to 1 US Gal. ( s a note, we have a soap that I believe is an organic soap and doesn't contain any colors or scents - which I presume is better since prolonged use could affect change of flavor...) – kyle_engineer Aug 24 '17 at 17:43
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    My opinion would be 'that's organic enough for me'...that dang word is over used and confusing. Doesn't it mean any material that came from living material but now includes all compounds that include carbon? Even the definition has gotten confusing, grins! – stormy Aug 24 '17 at 18:09
  • Not really! Organic refers to anything derived from a carbon based lifeform- however many mineral salts can fall into that trap as they can be produced from a lifeform such as guano but be chemically pure most things bought from proper suppliers will have an organic standard printed somewhere on their packaging. – olantigh Aug 26 '17 at 16:52
  • dictionary.com/browse/organic @olantigh Here's the definition of organic. It has been upgraded by including any compound that includes carbon. – stormy Aug 26 '17 at 17:56
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I would grow them like tomatoes, chose an organic sourced potting compost and mix with some home made compost- I like to put a dollop of manure in the lower half of the pot- think fairly big here- no smaller than 15 inch wide here and at least 12 inches deep or more- the bigger the pot the less you'll have to water it, feeds can come in a selection of types from shop bought to home made comfrey juice- use what ever is available, I like to use a seaweed liquid feed as it contains some of the micronutrients and avoids problems on the whole- I add a sprinkling of white wood ash when the fruit develops and let the sun do the rest. If you want to paranoid then chose organically grown seed, or a heritage variety to start off with and then take and use your own seed from there after- as long as your only growing one variety- bees have a knack of spreading pollen and genetic material all over the place- I would change variety every year and experiment with varieties and growing methods every year until you find one that works for you- hope it helps. I would also ask the local horticultural associations and neighbours for help too- do a search online might find a local source for the that organic material you might need later- (manures, compost etc)

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