Re: Container Gardening - Jalapeno Plant
The reason your pepper plant didn't do well last year was probably due to a lack of nutrients, water, light, or a combination of those things, the size of the pot will have no effect on the growth of the plant, other than if it's too small and the plant becomes root bound.
The root ball on a Jalapeno is approximately 6" in diameter, so you'll want a pot that is at least twice that size so that there's plenty of room for nutrient rich soil. In addition to daily watering, you'll want to give it a drink of manure or compost tea once a week or every other week to keep the soil nutrient levels high and feed the plant as it grows. Peppers like full sun, except when extremely young and tender, in which case a temporary shade during mid day sun/heat would be advised.
Interestingly, peppers seem to like being grouped together. Last year, for the first time, we planted ours in groups of three, spaced about 6" apart, in a circular fashion. These plants were nearly double in size of previous efforts where a single plant was placed in the hole. Of course, in your case with container gardening, you'll need a much larger pot to house three peppers. Remember, the root ball of each plant will be approximately 6" in diameter and at full maturity, you can expect the plants to be 18" to 24" in diameter and up to 36" tall. We also use tomato cages around ours to keep them upright as they get larger and loaded with fruit.
Watering note: If your soil doesn't retain moisture well, then you'll have to increase your watering cycles - meaning water more times per day. Conversely, if your soil has low perkability - retains high levels of moisture - then water less. You want to keep the soil moist, but not water logged. In high temperatures all plants do well with a cool drink during the heat of the day.
Manure or Compost tea: In a 5 gallon bucket, fill the bucket to about the 1/4 full level, then top off with clean water. Let sit 8 to 12 hours, then pour off the resulting liquid to feed/water your plants. This will give the plants regular vital nutrients and organism that promote healthy, happy, high producing plants and soil. The remnants of the manure/compost can be put into the compost pile, spread on the lawn, or worked into the flowerbeds.
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