I am attempting to grow the best pepper plants I can indoors (grow box) so I started with jalapeno peppers. They grow relatively small 2-3 feet and require 2-3 gallon container for growing. While this is fine for an outdoor garden, though indoors I can only sacrifice 1 gallon container. This summer I grew several jalapeno plants which spent half of their life in the grow box and spent our warm summer outdoors. All of the plants produced but there was definitely a clear winner which had incredible early yields even with its small growing quarters.
I used several immature peppers (green) for salsa this year but allowed several peppers to mature (red) which I will be saving the seeds for planting this winter and next summer for future plants. By hand selecting the best parent plants should be good old natural selection at work.
The process to collect pepper seeds is pretty simple though I must first provide this warning:
WARNING: Peppers are hot, especially the veins. When handling peppers use caution and wash your hands well with dish soap. Under no conditions do not rub your eyes or pick rub your nose before washing your hands or you will be regretting it for a couple hours. Using gloves is also recommended.
That being said slice the peppers lengthwise with a sharp knife.
Use a fork or spoon to gently dislodge the seeds into a small bowl.
If you are lucky enough to have hot sunny weather still (week of rain here) lay they out in the sun for a couple days and store them in a cool dry place until you are ready to plant them. If you are sun challenged like me set them on a windowsill for a few days.
As I have said before saving you own seeds is very easy and free and as an added bonus you can personally pick the best plant to be the donors of seeds for your future plantings. In my case I also have the benefit of a plants that is genetically grown to following my sporadic watering and care patterns.
One of the good things about a cold summer is still getting harvests of summer vegetables now into October. Got another cucumber for summer fall pickles and some tomatoes I have ripening inside which this weekend I used to make some low carb pizzas.
One thing I was especially excited about was my jalapenos finally getting ready to be picked which I will dry and make jalapeno pepper powder which is an excellent addition to eggs in the morning and burgers in the evening providing the taste and kick of jalapenos without the texture and moisture.
I have also picked some green peppers which I will be drying out for my own variation of not so sweet paprika.
Nearly August and I decided it is finally time to bring the peppers out from the garage, though in some ways they are doing so well in the heated grow box with a killer 120 watt Extreme Flower LED lighting not sure if I should chance it but looking at the upcoming forecast this might be as good as it gets.
So far my peppers in the Topsy Turvy strawberry planter appears to be a success. Even with the cold wet summer we have been having plants have survived and even has at least one baby cayenne pepper growing on it.
Though they are just now starting to see their first rays of sunshine have a good looking Rossi Italian Pepper growing here.
Here I have a couple of banana peppers I can pick anytime.
I am also excited to see these jalapeno peppers provided I ran out of jalapeno pepper powder a few months ago and have been missing it in my omelets in the mornings.
Finally I have my cayenne plants which was a survivor from last year, I pulled it into the garage to let some of the last few peppers ripen up as the temperatures got cool and forgot about it. After a few months I assumed it was dead until I saw some new growth on the plant and quickly put it under the LEDs where it fully recovered and started flowering and producing fruit. Currently drying some of the pods and also saving some of the extra mature ones to save for seeds might have a hearty specimen here.
I made a little discovery last year and that is that peppers really don’t need a lot of room to grow, require soil a little warmer than it normally gets around here, and do not mind getting a little dry between watering. This seems like great characteristics to grow peppers in vertical containers. With this in mind at the end of last year I picked up a couple of Topsy Turvey Strawberry Planters at over 50% off when the season was well over. Topsy Turvey does make hanging pepper plant containers but I chose the strawberry planters instead for two main reasons; first they normally sell for a few dollars cheaper. Second, they are much larger and make better use of more vertical space and I can plant at least 18 pepper plants in each one.
For my mix I started with your typical soil mix and then amended it with perlite at a ratio of 3 parts potting soil and 1 part perlite. I also added a cup of bone meal to since it much easier to add now then in a couple months when they really will need it.
As you can see from this shot there is plenty of room for these peppers to spread out and should have enough root space for some decent yields
I then filled up the hanging container until it was filled up to the bottom most hole.
Next I carefully placed my pepper plants into the wholes than reached in from the inside and provided just a little bit of pressure to pack the soil enough to keep the plant secure in place. I repeated this process for the 11 other pepper plants I had ready to plant.
Finally my assistant and I poured in about a liter of water (soil was already a bit wet putting it in) and admired our work. With some strange bit of crazy luck we actually started having some great weather after we planted these and hung them up. So you can thank me Pacific Northwest…
As you can also see from the picture above I still have 6 more holes to add some more pepper plants which I have plenty in my grow box which I am allowing to mature a little longer. I will plan on providing updates on this post as highlights with this experiment develop.
After a cold summer weather we finally have had a good month of good weather with what appears to be at least another week of sunshine coming. This has been great for the peppers in the strawberry planter.
In this planter I have 18 pepper plants, even with the cold spring/summer they all survived and are now thriving on the top part of the plant I have hot peppers (cayenne) and on the lower half I have sweet peppers. All that was required on maintenance was watering every few days where I also rotated about a quarter turn to get even sunlight on all of the plants.
As these pepper on the plants ripen more I plan on making some cayenne pepper and some paprika (possible some smoked paprika as well) from the sweet peppers. Overall I have been very impressed with the results of this little experiment and plant to grow more peppers using this method next year.
One problem with growing plants indoors is you don’t always get the benefits of beneficial insects, but as you can see above it doesn’t always have to be that way. At least one little lady bug snuck into the grow box and seems to have found some snacks on a basil plant.
If anyone is curious I also have one of my jalapeno pepper plants in the grow box with hopes of getting a few more ripe red jalapeno peppers before things get too cold.
With stores making way for Halloween and Christmas decorations, now is the perfect time to find some great closeout deals at your local grocery store or garden center. I had meant to imitate the Topsy Turvy planters above, but at 60-70% off I was not even cheap enough to pass up on these deals for the Topsy Turvy Strawberry Planter (picked up two at $1.99 each) and the Topsy Turvy Hot Pepper Planter (picked up one for $4.99)
Given my desire to grow even more peppers next year the pepper planter will work great to try out a few new plants.
And no, there was nothing wrong with camera on the picture above that’s what the boxes actually look like. I combination of too much sun and then getting heavily rained on over the past couple weeks led to an even bigger discount. Hoping to fill these with the strawberry runners that are trying to escape their garden bed.
So head down to your local garden center and check out those items you have thought about but never pulled the trigger, you just might find a deal you are glad you did not miss out one.
If you found any good deals, I would love to hear about it in the comments…