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putting a container plant in the ground

Posted by judo_and_peppers Tampa FL (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 13, 13 at 22:54

I've got 2 brain strain 7pots in the same 5 gallon pot. it's about 4 ft tall. needless to say it's root bound as heck. now, but I can't afford a pot big enough to help the situation. plus when I repotted this thing last time I way overcompacted the soil. this is my first year growing. it was a noob mistake. yes, you read that right. it's both overcompacted AND rootbound, and I can't afford a bigger pot.

I am strongly considering just digging a (really deep) hole and putting it in the ground. any thoughts on this? I've got a bag of topsoil sitting around, so I can condition the soil around it a bit. and I can try to break up the root ball a bit.

I live in florida, so "winter" is sort of a misnomer here. my goal is to get as many pods out of it as possible, but it's dropping buds like crazy. is putting it in the ground a good idea? I mean it seems like it, but things that seemed like a good idea have hurt my yields a lot. so this time I'm asking BEFORE I make a drastic decision. so, any thoughts? it's about to be the weekend. now is the time to do it.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

IMO, you can . I would dig the hole wider too.
Do you know how to get it out of the bucket ?


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

I would certainly dig the hole wider and deeper. this is gonna be a huge hole.

I am 6'-5" so I have the perhaps overly optimistic option of just turning it upside down and pulling the bucket off. I might need a second set of hands. I'd like to reuse the bucket next year.

are there any big drawbacks or complications involved with putting a large container plant in the ground that might not be obvious to a noob?


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

Sure, you can use pair of extra hands. How to do it ?
One way would be to sacrifice the bucket by cutting it from top to bottom. But you can do another way. Water the pot next to the wall and keep giving it a good massage, to loosen it up. That is how we do with the nursery pots during the transplanting. But because your plant is too big you cannot struggle wit it too much. That is why sacrificing the bucket is simpler.


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

I'm gonna first try to not sacrifice the bucket. the goal is to break up the rootball a bit, so a bit of roughness is probably a good thing. I mean, the main stems are seriously like an inch thick, and really woody. I'm betting I could just pull it out by the stems if worst comes to worst. I'm a pretty resourceful dude.

I just want lots of tasty pods! is that too much to ask?


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

Being it's rootbound, when you move it you should loosen up the tight roots. Are you thinking of separating the two? You probably don't want to as it will set them back some.To score the roots, I usually use a knife and cut through top to bottom the outside roots in about 4 areas and maybe across the bottom in an "x". This can lead to a setback, so your patience and time will do great if you can tug and pull roots apart.This helps tremendously if the ball is thoroughly wet. Good luck, have fun getting dirty.


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

well, I did it. it went smoother than I expected, minus finding out that my proposed dig site happened to be the location of my condo's sewer line. so I had to move over about 8" and start again (note the awkwardly shaped hole). my soil is pretty sandy, but it seems to be layers of sand, then loamy sand, then more sand, then more loam. I put a full bag and a half of topsoil around it, but ran out as I got near the top, so the top layer is all sand. the ground was pretty well compacted, so I tried to loosen it up the best I could.

the in ground pic was taken this morning. I expected to see much worse transplant shock. it's got a handful of buds on it, but I'd be amazed if any of them set. I broke up the root ball pretty good. i scored it in 6 places on the top, and 4 lines on the bottom. as you can see in the pic, it's pretty rootbound, but not as bad as I expected it to be. that's probably because I expected it to be ridiculously terrible.

I hope this goes well. if it does, maybe next year I'll put a few in ground instead of in pots.


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

Good Job.

I think it will be quite a while before the plant gets over this and start growing and expanding its roots in the ground.


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

Next time, you may want to use some bagged soil that has organic matter in it. From what I've read, people that garden in sandy soil add tons of OM to their soil. It will help add some structure and porosity to an otherwise very fast draining soil. Not to mention the added nutrients.

Good luck.

Kevin


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

Agree. Even a mix of top and potting soil could be an improvement, to keep the filler fluffy so the root can work with ease. But with a plant that size there is probably no need to baby it too much.


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

interestingly enough, the plant appears to have set 2 pods. I expected far worse shock. I think part of it was that I planted it in a part of the yard that only gets morning sun. I think it was getting too much where it was. I may now have to consider putting others in the ground if this works out well.


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

Judo: you didn't just shove it in the hole like that, did you?

I hope you scored the root ball and beat the heal out of it. Otherwise, it will just keep wrapping roots around roots. If so, it's still early to excavate and break that root ball up.

Take a razor knife or sharp knife and score an X on the bottom. Then 4 vertical scores up the sides. Then take the whole ball and beat it on the ground to loosen up the soil and roots. Then use your hands and fingertips to scratch the hell out of the the roots. You want to really loosen up those roots.

Otherwise, plan on the plant not really improving and possibly stunting.

Kevin


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

I scored the heck out of it with my machete. 6 deep scores on the sides, 4 scores on the bottom. I also held it up by the stems and gave it a bit of a shake, and punched the sides of the root ball a few times. I was actually quite violent with it. that's why I'm so surprised the plant isn't really showing signs of shock. I beat the heck out of it. the pic I took was before the abuse. probably shoulda taken one after too, and did consider it, but I was worried the thing was gonna fall apart. before it could get in the hole (plus it was raining, and I wanted to finish).

I doubt I did everything "right" but I hope I did it close enough to right to get good results.


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

Good deal. Sounds like you did good. Watered heavily and then add a bit more soil to whatever settles and should be good to go.

Nah. A plant that established won't really SHOW shock except it will take a break to adjust and grab a foothold, slowing growth and production for a couple weeks... just like when it was a baby transplant. Those pods you noticed were probably well on their way to forming prior to the transplant.

Kevin

This post was edited by woohooman on Mon, Sep 16, 13 at 22:18


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

Nice work!
In a week or so, drench the area with some Fish Emulsion...

Josh


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

so it's been 2 weeks since I put it in the ground. and now I'm considering doing the same to my others. the one I put in the ground has set 10 pods and counting (which is more than I'd previously gotten off all 3 combined all season) whereas the other brain strain that's still in the pot 10 ft away has only set one in the same amount of time. that tells me it's working. the additional root space is having more of an effect than the poor soil is. and for some strange reason, the one in the ground also has fewer whiteflies on it, but that might just be coincidental. I'm looking forward to lots of tasty pods in a few weeks!


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

I think planting in ground, f you want to overwinter and keep for years, is the way to go. But for one season shot pot is fine. It does not mater if it becomes root bound at the end of season. And that is what I am going to do in 2014, POT all my pepper plants, even in slightly under sized pots.


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

see here's the thing. before my plants were all severely root bound, they produced extremely well, all normal sized pods. now the ones still in the pots still produce, but all but a few of the pods are undersized. there could be other factors at work, but all the pods on the one in the ground seem to be the correct size, while the other brain still in the pot has one pod on it, that seems to have stopped gaining size at about 1/3-1/2x normal size. you should see my baby bhuts, they're almost cute looking.

if you have a short season, the effect of too small of a pot may not be noticeable. but if you live in FL like me where frost is something you only see in pictures, and the plants have time to put out 3-4 flushes, it's an issue worth addressing.


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RE: putting a container plant in the ground

see here's the thing. before my plants were all severely root bound, they produced extremely well,
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I have this theory /understanding that when certain plants become root bound and are partially starving( call it deprivation), they figure it ,out somehow, that they have reached the end of their rope and therefore MUST accomplish their mission, that is to produce seeds and thus guarantee the survival of their gen. But, the quality of the fruit (as far as we, the humans are concerned) is not going to be as good. This can be a tool to get early fruiting where the growing season is short. IT IS BETTER TO GET SOME SMALL RIPE FRUITS RATHER THAN NOTHING. Root pruning has similar effect.


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