Languishing Pepper Plants
The accompanying photos show some sad-looking pepper plants adjacent to some good-looking pepper plants, all planted recently by my wife. We're puzzled why some of the plants are so droopy, when located proximate to healthy-looking plants, as my wife is scrupulous in weeding and attentive to watering and fertilization. We use our own "home-grown" compost, consisting of shredded leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable waste from the kitchen. Questions we have are: Is the compost sufficiently aged? Are we not rotating planting sites sufficiently? Is there some villain, perhaps fusarium, loose in our plot? We're perplexed and would welcome your insight into the problem and suggestions for its correction. Pining for our peppers in Olney, MD, we live in hope. Thanks for any information you can supply
Are all the peppers the same variety? Different cultivars have different growth forms -- some with smaller or more downward facing leaves. That said, in your second photo it looks like three of the plants are wilted. This could be from too much or too little water, but it also could be an indicator that there is a problem with the roots or damage to the stems (preventing uptake of water). Another possibility could be Southern blight. The symptoms of this are brown streaking on the stem and white mycelium near the stem base by the soil. If you see anything abnormal about the stems, you could send us some close-up photos and we can take a look. We do not think there is any problem with using the compost you've made.
Keep the plants well watered when it's very hot and dry. If you do not see them recover, pull up a symptomatic plant and check the roots. See if there are any signs of chewing (i.e., from voles) or other root damage/rot.