Sweet red pepper update, questions and problems

As you can see, I left the peppers in their pods and they’ve been blossoming. Not abundantly but acceptably. I have some questions though. First, I can’t figure out how to pollinate them. The flowers are mostly facing down and start out pretty tightly formed. I’ve gently nudged each plant and have also tried puffing air at them. I tried (once) using a small paintbrush but the blossom came off so I decided that wasn’t the answer. Uh. What is?

The other questions have to do with the foliage. The leaves seemed to be a bit rusty looking. I still had the light bar at its lowest so I raised it up one length. The problem hasn’t gotten worse; I don’t know if it’s gotten better - don’t know how I’d tell. Then, just in the past few days, I’ve noticed spottiness on the leaves. I’m sure there’s an answer to that one and I suspect I won’t like it. But I do need to know and also need to know what to do about it.

That’s it. I’m hoping these are minor issues and that my pepper endeavor will be successful after all.

Thanks as usual for the help and for everyone, I send wishes for your safety and happiness.


It’s been a while on this post but these questions are good ones I feel lots of people encounter. Would love to see some ideas!