Peppers and Eggplant in Containers
by National Gardening Association Editors
Peppers and eggplant are good container gardening choices because of their relatively compact size and growth habit.
To get going, buy some plants at your local garden store or start seeds indoors under lights. You'll also need containers to which you can add soil to a depth of at least 8 inches.
Hardening Them Off
When your plants are ready for transplanting into a larger pot, harden them off in their flats or small pots. This saves you the trouble of moving large, heavy pots in and out every day.
Once the transplants are hardened off, it's time to move them into their permanent containers. This container can be a large pot, a redwood tub or even a bushel basket. Whatever type of container you choose, make sure it will hold about five gallons of potting mix per plant and that it has drainage holes. Some people who garden in containers like to have casters underneath their pots to make moving them easier. It's also a good idea if you have to move your potted plants around during the day to follow the sun.
You'll need a good potting mix or sterilized garden soil, and a place to put your potted plant where it will get plenty of sunlight. Place your empty container outdoors where it's going to live and transplant right there. Fill the container with the potting mix or soil, packing the soil lightly. The soil line should be about an inch below the rim of the pot. When this is done, transplant just as you would outdoors.
Container Plant Care
Mother Nature takes care of outdoor container plants pretty much the same way she takes care of plants in the garden. But, because there's less soil available to the container plant than there is to the garden-grown plant, container plants tend to dry out a bit sooner. Check your containers to make sure the soil is kept moist but not wet, especially if your containers are under a porch or balcony roof.
You'll need to provide weekly applications of a liquid fertilizer. Fish emulsion, purchased from your garden store, or a solution of one teaspoon of 5-10-10 to a gallon of water are good options.
Although container plants aren't out in the garden, they're fair game for insects. Keep an eye out for signs of damage. If you find a pest, deal with it as you would with those in the garden. If you're container gardening on an apartment balcony, a patio, or similar place, you'll want to be extra careful using a chemical insecticide to make sure that none of the dust or solution gets on surrounding surfaces such as a barbecue grill or a child's toy. Some of the homemade remedies like a soapy water solution or a chile powder and water solution may be better options.
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