The leaves are quite curled and compared to my other peppers, the leaves are a bit yellow as well. I’ve read online that it could be due calcium deficiency but at the moment I’m not entirely sure. I’ve put bits of eggshell in the soil as the label said to use a calcium based fertilizer or eggshells but that hasn’t done anything, at least as of yet. Would calcium nitrate work? The soil is moist, so I don’t think it’s over watering nor is it too dry. I’m quite new to this as well + I’ve heard that ghost chillies are difficult to grow. Thanks. (https://i.stack.imgur.com/t0lqM.jpg)

Image of soil-(https://i.stack.imgur.com/FFEEz.jpg)

  • Those wood chips should already have lots of calcium, whether or not it's available. I'm guessing you just need more nitrogen (because wood chips are going to use your nitrogen to decompose), and more water. How often are you watering? The soil looks very dry, but appearances aren't always accurate. Nitrogen and calcium are supposed to be in balance, I've read. So, that may be why you seem to have calcium deficiency. I recommend avoiding soil with wood chips, though. It's just a lot easier. What are your nightly low temperatures? If it's too cold, that may cause issues like this. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx May 25 '18 at 20:38
  • Shule - Linda Chalker-Scott strongly disagrees with you about woodchips and nitrogen depletion. revolutionarygardens.com/…. I've been using chips for at least two decades and can happily report that none of my plants have ever had a nitrogen deficiency. That being said, I do not use them in my vegetable garden (mainly because they're too messy to work around). There, I use cocoa bean hulls. – Jurp May 25 '18 at 23:06
  • @Jurp "I can say definitively that if wood chips are used as a topdressing and not worked into the soil they will not tie up nitrogen." Sounds to me like she doesn't disagree with me. I guess I needed to clarify that I wasn't talking about mulch or a top dressing, but mixed throughout the soil, or as the soil. If you've tried planting tomatoes in or near ground that recently had a stump ground you'll probably notice a greater need for nitrogen, yellowing, stunting and all. I did, anyway. It's possible that the chips in the questioner's soil are composted enough, but you never know. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx May 26 '18 at 0:22
  • However, this begs the question: Is that a mulch or not? I mean, is it like that all the way through? If it's just a mulch, it probably doesn't matter. @Shrrade. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx May 26 '18 at 0:26
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    @Shule i’m watering every other day - every 2 days, depends on the heat. the soil about half an inch to inch under the dry part is quite moist just to add some information about that. It’s not a mulch, it’s an all purpose gardening soil I purchased from my local grocery store. And the wood chips are all the way through yes. My nightly low temps can get to 12C but usually they’re around 15c, during the day it can get to around 30, averaging 25. I’ve put coffee grounds around the plant In the soil as I’ve heard that it can help with nitrogen deficiency. – Shrrade May 26 '18 at 2:51

I think your pepper is getting too much calcium, to be honest. Calcium and nitrogen are supposed to be in balance, I believe. Too much calcium and too little nitrogen could actually give the appearance of calcium deficiency. I know I've had plenty of blossom end rot on tomatoes that had loads of calcium, and hardly any nitrogen. Adding extra nitrogen may be helpful to curb the symptoms, and to help in the composting of the wood chips (if they're not fully composted), but I think the safer solution here is to repot it in a mixture without so many wood chips throughout the soil. Wood chips on top as mulch are probably fine.

I'm not really sure how much nitrogen to recommend adding, but probably more than usual. Not only should calcium be in balance, but if your wood chips aren't composted enough, the bacteria need nitrogen to aid in their decomposition; so, that could increase your requirements.

Doing a foliar spray with nitrogen might be particularly helpful, since it shouldn't be lost to the bacteria that way. I wouldn't add more than is usual for a foliar spray (just if you put it in the soil).

Since you mentioned calcium nitrate, be warned that it's toxic, though. So, don't get any on yourself. Don't inhale it. Don't get it in your eyes. It can kill microbes, too. It even seemed to deter aphids when I fertilized peppers with it once. However, I don't think adding more calcium to the soil is what you should do. Calcium nitrate as a foliar spray might be good, but it's hard to say. I'd use other nitrogen unless you like to experiment.

Now, keep in mind, I could be wrong. So, be careful. Maybe the soil had plenty of nitrogen already added. These are just my guesses based on the evidence.

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