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Grow your Hot Peppers in containers, a Garden, Raised Bed?

Myrtle Beach, , SC(Zone 9a)

I'm a big fan of container gardening.
I'm thrilled to see the popularity of it increasing.
5 gallon containers are perfect for Peppers and Tomatoes.
I've found you can often get them free from flower shops, nurseries, discounters (like WalMart adn Lowes), etc.
Obvious advantages are you can totally control the soil environment, no fertilizer leaching, watering directly to the root zone, etc. My favorite part is that you can move your containers. Thunderstorm or hail storm coning? Just move it? A extra hot summer with drought conditions? Just move it. Of course, a layer of mulch helps in this heat. I love that versatility. Here's a friend and customer Marc Turners container gardening operation in the first pic with a tonof containers. Then assorted pics from others.
What is YOUR favorite method of gardening?
Fiery Regards,
Pepper Joe

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Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I ONLY grow my peppers in pots. I just like the control, as you say- easy to move.
Today I am planting Jamaican Hot Chocolates in a seed tray then I will transfer to pots. I am having a very hard time getting pots! DG'ers offered me some but are so far away from me.
I am about ready to use a few raised beds that are close to the house. I find my pepper plants are high maintenance. The white fly drives me crazy and I had ONE snail take out an entire Long red chili plant before I found it. Actually I didn't find it until it died from snail bait.
Pepper Joe- do you have a secret weapon for white flies?
BTW, the pic is not my pepper- it's on Ebay.
I didn't know it but researched online that the Cuban cachucha pepper is an aji dulce. That's my tastiest pepper and the island people here can't get enough of them. I keep the cachuchas in clay pots- they seem to do the best there.
Have a peppery day!~~~Carol

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North Hills, CA

You might have more responses here:

Lots of good info on container gardening there.
Especially the posts by Tapla.

You might try clicking on the different Communities and checking them out.

For Peppers,in general , growing in the climate here , I find that true 5 gal. buckets get too hot in our 100 degree temps during the summer.
Though Chinense do better than others in hotter soil temps.

#15 pots(7 1/2 gal.) are the minimum size I use, but in general,depending on if you are growing Chinense,Baccatum or Annuum ,Frutescense or wilds.

Different pepper varieties and strains can handle different temps. root/soil wise.

For instance Pubescens are generally said to not grow in full sun in 100 degree heat.
I have no problem with them if I use true 15-20 gal, pots with a full southern exposure.

I think pot size and average temp. is very important to container gardens.
Pot size has a lot to do with root temps in my opinion.

Some peppers like lots of root space,others prefer to be root bound.

For instance,my Habanero De Arbol that was 10+ years old,hated being re potted.
Loved being root bound in a 20 gal. pot.

It was an easy 8ft tall by 8ft. wide when the mites killed it.That was after I trimmed several feet off it.
It's mother was 12-15 feet wide and tall.
Said to be 20+ years old.

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I am short on pots, tho prefer the ability to move them but hope to plant 2 raised beds today of various peppers. Being from the south and having caribbean family also, peppers are a daily part of my diet. My sissy hubby tho hates that I want to put them in everything I cook so it looks like I will be making a lot of pepper sauces and relishes (to go with my tropical fruit jams and butters). I think I finally pushed him to far with the hot stuff but I just love it!!! :-)

Westbrook, CT(Zone 6a)

I have been growing peppers in pots and earthboxes for several years with satisfactory results. The pots are leftover from plant purchases and are 9 to 11 inches in diameter and height. I'm estimating 2.5 to 4 gallons. To forestall daily watering, I set the pots in an ordinary 11x21 inch plant tray filled with water. That lasts 2-3 days even when it doesn't rain. (Some nurseries give used pots away.)

Helena, MT

I too am a huge fan of container gardening of cayenne peppers in a sunken raised bed. My containers are inexpensive 2.5 gallon black plastic pots which were purchased in bulk several years ago. I use a slightly modified version of tapla's formula adding some Osmocote to the mix. I trim the individual plants in each container to make them bushier and keep them from growing too tall. The six (4' x8') beds range from three to four feet in depth and will hold 32 pots each. Using several old window panes as night time covers I can place these plants out about mid-May and remove the covers after mid-June. By mid-August the window pane covers need to be returned for evening covers. I water these pots with a wand and line the bottoms of these sunken raised beds with wood chip fines to assist in moisture control. Each pot has a wick to help removed purged water, but it I choose I can soak the layer of wood chips if I plan to be gone for a few days. My garden is set up with 20 risers and another to the raised beds. Using a timer, bottom watering using a flood irrigation method can be accomplished.

This method works well for growing cayenne peppers in our short season, however I do have one problem with other hot peppers. Habinero and Maui peppers are just now setting on buds and won't produce fruits before the hard freezes come. Moving a few plants indoors to my plant stand is possible, but withing a couple of weeks I have aphids on these plants.

I have four small hot pepper plants in the garden as well which I would like to transplant into pots and move indoors. Since these plants are small I presume they will transplant.

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I feel bad for you guys in climates where growing a plant sounds like a science project. My peppers are like weeds- the more I leave them alone the better they do. I am planting some raised beds this week with various peppers. Normally here in the Glades, we get some serious rains and flooding. For the past few years it has been very dry but I know as soon as I plant peppers on the ground- it'll flood. My friend raises birds and throws her pepper-seed laden old bird seed out the back door and her yard is literally a pepper garden. I plan to go over this week and get some free plants. Gas tho is a consideration- I have no $ and very little gas. :-(

Helena, MT

You hit it on the head cyberageous, hot pepper planting in the Rockies is a real art, but your comment about throwing out seed and digging up some volunteer plants struck a note. I watched an early 1900's black and white film on the net about French intensive gardening and thought about trying this with some saved Stupice tomato seeds. Never gave hot pepper seeds a thought at the time, but I could do both. The method requires an initial layer of fresh manure in the raised bed and then a layer on top of that with aged compost. The seeds are carefully raked over the surface early in the spring and after the plants have germinated and three or four inches tall they can be transplanted. The beds are covered to maintain the heat generated by the fresh manure in the bottoms of the beds, but by the time the seedlings have reached their optimum height for transplanting or potting up they are already hardened off. Thanks cyberageous for turning on that light bulb. I will give that a try with my cayenne peppers next spring.

Watering the seeds before the seedlings sprout and until they get some strength in their stems requires a hand pump mister. Mine is about a half gallon in size and perfect for the job. I plan on using luke warm water for the job. Another watering trick is to bottom water using pieces of 2-inch PVC in the corners of the raised bed. I notched the bottoms of these vertical pieces of PVC and covered the bottom opening with some nylon hose held on with a rubber band. I have a riser next to the raised beds which also allows me to add warm water with a hose to the fresh manure layer. The third thing I have done is to add an equal amount of wood chip fines to the fresh manure layer. This combined layer of wood chip fines and fresh horse manure is roughly six inches deep, as is the upper layer of composted cow manure. This has worked well with early lettuce plantings and some broccoli and cabbage transplants, so I'm anxious to give it a try with tomato and pepper seeds. So how's this for a science project!

San Marcos, TX(Zone 8b)

All of my peppers are in one type of container or another, mostly Earthboxes. Trying to keep them alive in the open ground through our summers is way too much effort and water intensive. I've got most of them on a drip irrigation system so all that's required is to turn on the water spigot for the required length of time in the morning. 2 to 2-1/2 gallons of water per day will keep 5 or 6 plants happy.You couldn't get away with that if they were in the ground. Most of the time that I spend in the garden now is spent picking peppers.

Helena, MT

My 60 ft soaker hoses are not as efficient as the drip feed hoses and although I have ball valves on each soaker hose, no two feed alike. I have gone through six different brands of hoses and found one which I feel most comfortable with. It comes in 500 ft rolls and I cut them to my specifications. The reason I like the soaker hoses over drip feeders is the placement of the peppers can be closer together, but even then the last ten or fifteen feet of each hose gets more water than the first three quarters of the hose, and I have to switch crops to something like sprawled cherry tomatoes and a pumpkin plant at the very end of the hose. Sounds tedious I know, but even drip feeders have their idiosyncrasies as well, but I typically use the adjustable drip feeders for caged tomatoes, cucumbers and squash transplants. I have tried using the smaller diameter 1/4 inch soaker hoses in raised beds with some success for plants like romaine lettuce, but they are a bit unwieldy to remove and replace each year. The only problem with hand watering 32 pots of peppers in a raised bed with a wand is you have to be there to do it. I just haven't come up with a good system to evenly bottom water this many pepper plants in a sunken raised bed on a timer. I am currently in WY headed for CO and won't return for another couple of days and although the timer works fine for the remaining soaker and drip feeder hoses, nothing I have tried yet seems to work for the potted hot pepper plants inside a sunken raised bed.

Chanute, KS(Zone 6a)

I grow most of my peppers in the ground every year. I do have a Bhut Jolokia that I purchased as a seedling in 2007. It didn't produce any peppers that year , so I carefully dug around it and dropped it into an Earthbox and put it inside for Winter. Every year when it warms up enough, I put it outside. It had produced hundreds of peppers, even some during the winter months when it is indoors. I also have a two year old Cleo's Dragon in a 5 gallon bucket. If I had more sunny windows , I'd have more. I like the idea of keeping a pepper plant alive for so long. The Bhut Jolokia has a woody stem , most of my friends don't know it's a pepper plant until I tell them.

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Helena, MT

GTG, would like to try an indoor Bhut Jolokiad plant. Chanute is a far better climate for outdoor gardening of hot peppers than we have here. but I am planning on planting some hot pepper seeds for indoors next week. I have one Maui pepper plant which I had growing in the garden up until a week ago. I planted the seed indoors on April 11th, then transplanted to the garden later in June. This plant is just now setting on fruits. With luck I can nurse it through indoors for another couple of months to harvest some fruits. I generally plant about seven of these each season and Iím lucky if I get one plant to this stage. Late spring frosts killed all except this plant. Next season I plan on using five gallon buckets as night covers.

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Camanche, IA(Zone 5a)

Hi all I will start my pepper and tomatoes next week and I wish I had extra 5 gal buckets, I work at Wal$Mart and my store does't give away any buckets at all. So I will be going to some resturants and check them out. I can't wait until I get my peppers started that I ordered from Pepper Joe.I'll check in later. Phil (from Iowa)

Helena, MT

I got 30 five gallon buckets from a painter who had just finished a large job. Paint was caked on inside the buckets and tough to clean. The ones I didn't get cleaned were left in an unheated detached shed over winter and the paint just popped off next spring like boiled egg shells. We had about half a dozen painters listed in the yellow pages and I called every one of them and only one was willing to give me the buckets, but it was worth the effort.Phil from Iowa.


Long Beach, CA

I will have to remember the painter bucket tip. I am sure there are some painters that wouldn't mind passing some my way. I have grown my peppers in 1 gallon pots up until now. I think I will put a few in 2 gallon pots and see how it goes!

Castile, NY(Zone 5b)

Zone 5a NY
I got some ghost pepper seeds this year and am going to try them to see how it goes.
I have about a dozen plants now from starting from seed but it took forever for them to germinate even with a heat mat.
Going to put into 2 gal pots to see how it goes.
Supposed to be the hotest thing going !!!!

Long Beach, CA

That's what they say!!

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