Here we will share some tips and tricks that we've learned through experience and knowledge and sometimes a little luck.

 

USING FLOWER BOXES

1) This is the planter box style you will need. We generally use a 36" box, however we mix in some 30" boxes like this one and have a 48" or two.

These are often called flower boxes. The planters should have three drainage holes; one on the left and right side, and one in the middle. We begin filling the planter almost to the top with a soil mixture as described below. Since we use over 500 lbs of dirt each season, we double it at least. 

If you click on the picture, you'll see a secret. Yep, we even use these for germinating seeds. Nurseries and garden centers just throw these out and they make great germination pods.

We usually use the following ratio of soil types

3-40 lb. bags of top soil

2-40 lb. bags of potting soil

1-40 lb. bag of mushroom compost

IMPORTANT TIPS  

Be careful how many flower boxes you puzzle together. Their weight adds up quickly on decks or railings. A 36" planter box can weigh in excess of 25 lbs. and tree planters can weigh over 75 lbs.  If you're placing them on a surface that may be stained such as wood, we recommended purchasing drip trays and/or an artificial grass mat to help absorb any spill off. 

Most planter boxes come with straps that help the flower box maintain it's shape as the dirt settles, we suggest you use them, but don't use them as handles. You can also use nylon clothes line tied around the middle if the planter boxes don't come with them. Don't use cotton kite string, it will break in a few weeks.

USING TREE PLANTERS

As an alternative to the horizontal flower boxes, you can also use large tree planters. We have 2-20",  2-24" and one 30" diameter planters that get filled with peppers and tomatoes. In one of them we grow Sweet 1000 Tomatoes. The tomato planter generally has about15 plants which will produce well over 1000 marble-sized tomatoes. We usually have about 10-30 pepper plants in the other planters depending on the pepper type and the planter size. 

We've found it best to put small pepper yielding plants in the tree planters. If you want to put medium sized peppers, I'd say 10 maximum. For large bell types, no more than 3 and that's a waste or space. A single bell pepper will do nicely in a 1 gallon container, but better in a three gallon one.  Below is an example of one of our planters. Notice how we group the plants into clusters of five. The picture to the right is the same planter 6 weeks later and it was still producing. At the time of the picture, that particular tree planter of Tepíns had already produced over 800 peppers.

PLANTING IN FLOWER BOXES

The number planted depends on the type of pepper you are growing. Below are some examples of a few peppers generally planted in our garden. As a general rule, the larger the pepper you grow, the more space it needs to grow properly. Being in containers, most of the plants don't really achieve their full potential but that is OK. Remember we are growing a small space garden and not a farm. The idea of  compacting the plants together is needed for two reasons; The first reason is to maximize the number of plants, and the second is to control their growth. If you have a very small space then this is the key. Flower boxes fit together very nicely in a small space. Our garden is only 6' x 13' and we incorporate an average of 200 plants for just over 4 plants per square foot. Here is a picture of  9 Super Chili plants in a 36" planter. These seedlings are about 11 weeks old and were grown over-winter inside. 

Bell/Very Large peppers as such as Large Finger Hot and Bell's (All varieties) don't do as well in the shallow horizontal flower boxes as they do in larger containers with 12" of depth minimum. One plant in a 1 gallon container will do quite well though.

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Cluster of Robustini's

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A Bucket of Bell Peppers

Larger pepper varieties such as the larger Red Chili, Anaheim and Hot Yellow, shouldn't have more than 8, preferably 6, in a 36" flower box. 

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Hungarian Yellow

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Garden Salsa

Medium sized peppers such as Jalapeno, Habanero and Serrano, can go up to10 in a single flower box, but have found that 8 is a better number. Notice the close proximity of the plants.

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Here is a nice shot of 4 different kinds of Habanero plants in order of the hottest down.

Caribbean (red savina), Chocolate (brown),  Scotch Bonnet (not yet ripe lower right), and Orange Habanero (Orange)

 

Small sized peppers such as Chili, Pods and Cayenne can be as high as 10, but 8 is a better number. Small peppers tend to be bushier and more squat than the larger varieties so make sure they're not in the shade of taller plants. we've found that these love the bigger tree planters and you can put a crap load in them.

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A Horde of ripe Tabasco Peppers

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A cluster of our own hybrid. FC-WH08

GERMINATION TIPS

Here's our greenhouse for the seeds where it all starts. We use 2-4' dual fixture fluorescent lights above the seeds for the garden. We've find that cool white spectrum bulbs do fine, but use 40 watt 6500K daylight bulbs instead they're a bit more expensive but are better for indoor growing. There's no need for heating pads for us to warm the soil since as it so happens the hot water pipes for our radiator heating run right underneath and keep the soil at a nice 80 degrees Fahrenheit which is nice for germination. Here's our Germination Tip Page if you need a little help. We will be adding pictures on the tip page shortly so check back soon.

 

Webmaster and Designer Jeff Byrd
Copyright © 2009 [Jeff Byrd and JB Holdings] All rights reserved.
Revised: June 07, 2009