Tag Archives: container gardening

Planting Peppers In Containers

All my seedlings were ready to transplant at the same time. Tomatoes came first, then bell peppers in the garden, finally I’m planting peppers in the containers.

Containers are nice. They do have their drawbacks. First is placing them. Second is finding enough dirt, compost, manure etc. to fill them.

Planting in containers brings in another set of drawbacks. First is keeping them watered. Containers dry out quickly and must be watered often.

planting peppers in containers
The newspaper was about six layers thick. It can be thicker. Once the paper is wet a trowel slices through easily to slide in the pepper transplants. Since part of my soil mix was garden soil, there were weed seeds germinating. If only potting soil or other bagged soil is used, the newspaper would not be necessary.

Weeds are second for several reasons. Weeds compete for root space, leaf space and water. They usually win competing against garden vegetables.

Third comes heat. In the garden the sun heats the surface of the ground down a few inches. Containers are heated on top and on any part of the sides the sun contacts. In extreme heat conditions, the sides should be shaded.

I have a fourth problem: my cats. They don’t tend to dig in the containers. Instead they find the containers ideal places to sit for observations of the surrounding area. Containers are wonderful places for naps as well. Plants make nice cushions.

mulch around pepper plants in container
Hay bales shed. I use this as mulch. The pepper transplants are three to four inches tall and sheltered by the mulch. They have been outside for several weeks, but not in direct sun.

In the past I’ve watered extra, weeded extra and chased the cats or place strategic rocks. After reading “Lasagna Gardening” by Patricia Lanza, I’m trying something a bit new. First I dumped a watering can of water on the dirt newly cleaned of weeds (Yes, the weeds had already started colonizing the containers.). Next I laid down layers of newspaper and poured water on them. In the book the newspaper is wet when it’s put down. I find wet paper is very difficult to work with so I put it down dry and add water.

A trowel slices through wet newspaper easily to make a hole for the transplants. Last a layer of mulch hay went on top of the newspaper.

finished planting peppers in the container
The field or woven wire fencing does support the plants well along with holes large enough for harvesting. The wire discourages most of my cats from napping in the container. Sunny is smaller and finds he gets privacy.

The container was watered before planting peppers as transplants do better in moist soil. The newspaper and mulch should discourage weeds and help hold moisture in the container. The mulch also protects the newspaper and transplants from drying out or being pounded by rain.

A circle of woven wire serves two purposes as well. It discourages the cats. It keeps the pepper plants from falling over. I will be adding a stake to keep the wire in place.

Pepper Container Gardening

Planting two different varieties of peppers next to each other isn’t wise. They cross. This is why I went to pepper container gardening.

My favorite peppers were the colored bells. Unlike green peppers, they are not bitter. The different colors have slightly different tastes. And they are pretty.

Then a friend talked me into trying a Macedonian pepper. This is another sweet pepper (I don’t grow hot peppers.). It is a long horn shape turning from green to lime green to yellow green to rose red. It is delicious.

Two more Macedonian peppers have joined my line up. I still grow the colored bells as I like them too. I needed to have a place to grow the new pepper away from the garden where the bell peppers grow. Containers were the answer.

There are several considerations for pepper container gardening.

tubs for pepper container gardening
Cattle protein tubs are often thick, sturdy plastic. They have to be as a full one is very heavy. They come in smooth, ringed and ridged designs along with several colors. They are around 2 feet deep and 2 1/2 feet across. This one is setting on two cement blocks and has five holes in the bottom.

Location

Peppers like very warm and sunny places. Here in the Ozarks all day sun is not necessary, but half the day is minimum.

Choosing the location is vital for pepper container gardening as, once the containers are filled, moving them is difficult.

As I have three varieties of peppers to consider, I need three locations separate enough to discourage cross pollination. In front of the house, on the sunny side of the house and behind the house work for me. All get shade part of the day, but sun most of the day during the summer.

gravel for pepper container gardening
Although I raided the gravel bars along the creek, gravel can be obtained from cement companies. I used one 5 gallon bucket of gravel in a tub which resulted in about four inches for drainage. Larger pieces covered the holes and need some gravel placed over the pieces before dumping the rest in so the covering pieces aren’t pushed aside.

Containers

Since I grow four plants in each container, I need a big container. Bigger containers don’t heat up in the sun as much preventing the roots from cooking.

My containers are the empty plastic tubs sold filled with cow licks. My feed store buys them back empty from cattlemen and resells them to gardeners like me. The owner also uses a line of them to grow left over transplants for himself and customers who want a quick snack as they go into the store.

Drilling five or six half inch holes in the bottom provides drainage.

Setting Up

Drainage is important. Putting a couple of half size cement blocks or a few bricks under the container helps.

Next the pepper container needs gravel. A larger piece goes over each hole. Four to six inches of inch size gravel goes in on top. This will, in a few years, clog with dirt and need replacing.

Soil comes next. I mix mine. My mixture has one part creek sand, one part composted goat manure and two parts dirt in it. The amounts are not exact. Part of the mix is removed and replaced each year with more compost.

Leave three or four inches clear at the top to hold water in the container.

filled container ready to plant
My soil mix included half a five gallon bucket of sand, two buckets of dirt and one bucket of compost. The dirt was lighter so I needed less sand. I poured in half a bucket of dirt, added a thin layer of sand, half a bucket of compost and mixed. Repeat, I did have more compost, but the container was full. The mixture can be adjusted. This tub is now ready to plant. I plan on four pepper plants. It would work for one tomato plant or lots of greens or ?

Adding Pepper Plants

I space four plants around the container three or four inches from the edge. It’s a good idea to have a stout pole in the center to tie the plants to.

The Ozarks can be a windy place. I have used circles of fence wire, but this needs anchoring too.

Growing Considerations

Pepper container gardening is different from garden based pepper growing. I do mulch my containers to help control weeds, hold in moisture and keep the soil cooler. The containers need watering every other if not every day.

With a little planning pepper container gardening can yield enough peppers to spice up every meal and put plenty in the freezer.