Lucky First Pepper

sckitchen_gardener_8(8b)April 13, 2011

I usually hang out in the kitchen garden area, or lurk. I wanted to share a photo from 2008, when I grew some Jalapeno peppers in containers on my front porch.

At the time, I did not think much about it, I thought everyone could grow peppers like this, since I had used some old potting mix with some perlite and a bunch of gritty rocks. It was just what I had laying around, and I was too cheap to buy anything. It was recycled petunia pots from the year before. While the mix was not technically Al's 5-1-1, it was well draining and gritty.

AFter growing such nice plants with ease, I then concluded I could grow even bigger peppers in the ground in my garden area in my background. I have been trying for two years. Only two peppers achieved any size at all, and the yields were very unpredictable.

This year, I am running some experiments on my front porch. I like some heat, so I have an Anaheim and Jalapeno, but I also have some plain jane green bells and a sweet banana. Most of the container mixes are near approximations of the 5-1-1, but with more soil. I have plenty of Orchid bark in the mix, an perlite, but not a true 5-1-1. In one container, I grabbed up a bunch of old rocks and gritty "stuff" from previous containers, plus grabbed some aged pine bark from underneath my blueberry bushes.

I noticed in reading through some of the conversations here, not everybody has success with the 5-1-1, but most do. Since I am in 8b, and the pots are not very large, I have a concern about heat buildup. So my thinking is to try to increase the ability of the container to withstand and dissipate heat better. I am convinced a light airy mix is what a pepper plant likes, but I am not sure it is the best strategy for trying to overcome the heat challenges in the dead of summer. My other strategy is the containers are also in the shade some of the day. I'll post some photos on my progress/results.

Oh, one other thing. I was also surprised when I recycled the pots against next year switching back to petunias and Jalapeno volunteers would appear. The pots had sat out in the open all winter. We get sub freezing temps many days.

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Hi, I am also using the 5-1-1 in some containers, here in 9b it is very hot and dry and generally people do not
try to grow in containers. Let me know how things go once it heats up, I added a bit more Turface to my mix,
and I used 1/3 part of local soil to add a slight bit of water retention, to offset the extra drainage of the Turface.

I am banking on watering 2-3 times a day and partial shade as the way to go, rather than more water retention.
If your garden is far away you might want to setup automatic watering, because one goof and your plants will fry.

I am also considering painting my terracotta white. Things like this will matter in 100 degree weeks.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:39PM
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esox07 (4b)

I was going to suggest what Phildeez aluded to and that is to paint your pots white or yellow and maybe even wrap some tin foil around them to reflect the sun. The plant it self will probably do a pretty good job of shading the top of the soil. The soil will retain a lot of the evening cool if you can keep the solar heating down during the daylight hours.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 12:41AM
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