Garden vs Container

morugamanMarch 22, 2014

Hey guys I was just wondering what I should do for this years hot pepper growing. I have a decent sized garden in my backyard that I was thinking about transplanting my seedlings into. My goal is to make them as productive as I can meaning I want high yields. My question is do you think peppers do a lot better in ground or in containers? I've heard a lot of good things about container gardening and I was wondering if I should maybe just put them all in containers in the garden or do half and half?

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In zone 4, the ground may not be warm enough for the time you would need for the plants to get very large. You could build raised beds in the garden that might help or build mounds and cover with black plastic/tarp garden material. Just my opinion, maybe someone in zone 4 will chime in who has experience with planting in ground. I am a big fan of growing in pots even though I am in zone 7. Keep us updated on what you choose to do, and how the plants do.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:00PM
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Did you receive your Scotch Bonnet seeds ?....You need to learn about that SASE........

I grow my peppers in buckets of 511..........doug

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:13PM
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Sounds good Hab! I'll figure it out soon. Abnorm- sorry I totally did that wrong and was not thinking clear that day sorry about that. I feel really stupid.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 12:00AM
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I can't really speak to the zone you're in, but in my experience, I get orders of magnitude better production from ground long as storms don't shred the plants. Pots down here get dry QUICK, and have to be watered every day for mature plants. I guess it's time for a test at your place this season, then you can tell for sure.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:20AM
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I would do pots. You could try some in the ground but try a Naga that takes 90 days instead of 120 . It would be ashamed to loose a plant load of green peppers to a frost with no way to bring them inside for the night. People pull things off all the time that supposedly cant be done Worth a try. A 90 day Naga might do fine if plant out. Be prepared to cover it at night when your first frost comes. Here in NJ I get a few peppers in Aug. but not until Sep. & I get massive amounts of ripe peppers. Im sure that's well past your first frost.
Give your garden a try . If anything else it will be a learning experience and if you have the rest in pots you can still get a good harvest. Good Luck

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 8:10AM
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I have planted all of my peppers in containers. The jalapenos I grew last couple of years have great flavor but not hot someone told me to use sand. You mean like sand from the beach? I used miracle gro and peat moss mixed.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 8:35AM
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Great info guys. I will for sure take the advice and do both. Then I can see for myself the advantages and disadvantages. I'm assuming zone 4 has one of the shortest grow seasons so I'm going to have to try to do my best at getting everything done early. Has anyone had luck with those plastic tarp cover things that help from frost? I seen them at Menards and was curious if they help at all?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:06AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Another consideration is the quality of the dirt at your place. It's a lot easier to fill a container than to amend a whole garden full of mediocre dirt.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 4:16PM
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Very true Dennis. I was told minnesota and Iowa have some of the richest soil in the states so I'm guess it's not too bad?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:48PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have to believe that container is better, b/c I don't have garden space and I will have to use pots. :)

But seriously, garden is better. It needs less work and plants would like it there better.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 7:41PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Yeah, all else being equal I'd go in-ground. But Zone 4? That's tough with peppers. You won't even start seeing your crop until it's time to go home.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 8:53PM
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I think it greatly depends on the variety you are growing AND pot size.
Manzano's do crappy in less than a 20-30 gal.(true gallons-not a #? pot).
I've seen Jalapenos on the other hand do great in #15 pots(7 1.2gal.).

Depending on your idea of what is too much work,pots need more attention if you live in a dryer/warmer climate.

With pots you can Totally control nutes etc.
People like the 5-1-1 mixes because they are like hydroponics.All nutes are controlled etc.

If I could,I'd personally grow in raised beds if I had to tend the garden by hand.
If I had access to implements of mass soil movement (a small tractor with tillers etc.)I'd go with in the ground.
Do the till everything under after harvest,add poop etc. before winter set in...Remember what you add this fall probably won't get broken down until next spring.
I see a 1 yr. time lag.
After the 2nd year you should be set up,IF you keep feeding the soil...
If winter allowed,I'd grow alfalfa or a similar crop during winter to till under (a few times weeks apart)in early spring.
LONG before I could put my peppers out.
Just till stuff in as many times before planting as you can.

Looks like your zone won't grow a lot of peppers even if you start them early...
Looks like you might be stuck with Annuums and Frutescens.
I'd guess you'd have to start Chinense indoors and have them budding when the weather is warm enough to put them out.Otherwise you'd have green pods freezing in the fall...
Pubescens and Baccatums would never ripen.
Even here in Ca. I wait 6wks. or more for them to ripen...
Feb./March Manzano pods sometimes don't ripen until mid/late July.
Baccatums are sometimes worse.

I'd say in general,pots are easier than starting out building up your soil for both raised beds and in ground grows.
BUT in ground or raised beds can be great if the soil is built up.
I see a lot of people thinking that they added all kinds of crap to their soil,BUT the first year sucked(raised and in ground).
They don't allow for the stuff they added to the soil to break down.
I think that is why all the teas and foliar feeding is so popular these days.
I think that the run off is feeding the soil in general.
I doubt the leaves are doing much with the nutes,BUT the plant LOVES the run off,SO does the soil(bacteria or whatever),the good stuff in the soil.
Ever seen a Foliar feed article where the soil was covered so they could 100% say that the leaves sucked up enough nutes to do anything?
Where the soil recieved 0 run off?

In your zone,IF you have the room indoors,I'd start Annuums and Frutescens a couple months early,double that time for everything else and hope for an early spring and late winter.

I've grown in elevations from 2000ft to 8500ft altitude.
Mostly in pots because I rent and couldn't have a garden otherwise.

I also don't know where your grow is,Bug problems OR bug and critter problems.

A rabbit with the munchies can clear out a gardens worth of plants fast.They tend to not like jumping onto pots(#15),though a few do.
BUT mice LOVE sprouts.
So do birds.
When they just trim plants,that is sometimes OK(what doesn't kill them,makes them branch out).

Boils down to us giving you info to check out,then decide what might work for your grow.

Good luck with your grow.
There is no stupid question,BUT a lot of people who should have asked it (the Question)before they screwed up big time. LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: Zone 4 looks like it sucks

This post was edited by smokemaster_2007 on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 9:01

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:24PM
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I'm in zone 5 and have miserable results with pepper plants that go in the ground, but have had good to excellent results with 5 gallon (4.? actually) pots parked on my concrete driveway.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 12:00AM
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Smokemaster- that's a lot of information! I appreciate the help. It sure is a bummer to know that I have such a short season but I'll try to do what I can with it. I'll most likely do lots of pots and a raised bed. I started most of my seeds awhile ago so I'll pray I can grow them to maturity in time.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 1:31AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Most peppers are edible event not mature. This is more true about sweet and mild peppers. The hot peppers will also have more than enough heat , regardless of the color. Those that starting to change color at the end of season, you can uproot them and hang upside down in garage or somewhere. Most of them will get full color.

Or, if they are in container, you can bring the smaller ones inside and let them ripen up their fruits normally.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 2:31AM
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Seysonn- If I were to bring them inside to mature without uprooting, do I still want to water it and provide enough light still? Or do I just let it go and die off?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 3:39PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have no experience on that issue. But I know that uprooting works. Maybe not 100% of the green fruits will turn red but most will if they were close to maturity. I have seen a lot of store bough green peppers like SERRANO turn red on the kitchen counter, if left there for a week or so.

About Container ...
If you have a short season try planting peppers in pots, slightly down sized. Just experiment it. You might not get a ton of peppers but you will get some. That is better than getting none.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 5:33AM
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hot pepper will doing well on container.
things that u must consider is :
- hot pepper needs a lot of lights even if they've just germinated, and full sunlight when they're strong enough.
- hot pepper doesn't like wet feed, they love moist soil but damp soil will invite a lot of deseases.
- hot pepper grow best at hot climate, they will not produce a lot of fruit when the temperature is too cold. (they grow best at 16-20 C at the night and 26-40 C at the noon).

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 6:14AM
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You were talking about building a greenhouse. If you grow your plants in pots outside, take the summer to build build it and just move them in come bad weather you might find you do as well as someone in zone 7 or 8. Using supplemental light to increase light hrs it might be possible to harvest peppers right up to Xmas. Just dont overfill it and you might do real good. From what I understand it harder to get fruit set indoors but any on the plant before you bring it in should ripen just fine. I really dont see peppers being as hot hanging a plant up and letting them ripen that way. If you dig up a plant in the ground Im sure you can get it to live but its liable to drop all its fruit .

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 7:15AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Yeah, bringing in a potted plant with fruit will let the fruit ripen just fine. They're not even picky about environment, putting up with much less light and temps down to 50F or so. (Just be sure you don't start over-watering since the need for H2O will be substantially decreased.)

I brought in about 16 plants last year and got no unusual fruit drop. Harvested through January.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 1:57PM
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IF you have the room,I've seen a LOT of growers pull their plants up the first day before a frost.
They hang them in their garages or wherever,roots up to let the pods mature a week or more.
Some say wrap the roots with paper towel or rags soaked in a weak fert. solution.
They say that the ferts. keep the plant alive AND the stressed also makes for hotter pods.

I never did it,don't know from experience.

Either way it seems it might make a difference in getting 10 ripe pods or 50 from a plant.

Depending on variety,green pods CAN be useless(tasteless or green like bells).

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 8:34PM
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