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.
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.
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.
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.