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Patio Pepper Pots


If you enjoy peppers, either mild or hot, you can grow them easily right on the patio

You may not have room for a full-blown garden, but it's easy to create a pepper patch on the patio. You'll need a sunny spot to get your peppers going, large pots, and a simple routine.

Hot peppers are not the only game in town, either. You can grow bell peppers and other sweet or semi-mild peppers as well. Many, such as the Jingle Bell variety, are hybridized to grow in small spaces, but the fruit is still the same size as you are used to seeing in stores. Another type of bell - Purple Beauty - ripens to a deep purple color and adds a nice contrast in foods.

For braver souls, peppers with a punch are extremely easy to propagate in a container. The standard choices include jalapenos and cayenne. Bird peppers, which are often called Thai peppers, are another popular option. Habaneros are the hottest of the hot; grow them only if you know what to expect.

Start your plants in at least a 3-gallon container; 5 gallons is even better. Use broken pottery instead of rocks to place over drainage holes. Good potting soil is essential. If possible, add a slow-release fertilizer before filling the planter. You can supplement that at appropriate times with other feedings.

Container plants always require extra watering due to their setting. Your finger should be the guide: if the top two inches of soil are dry, then it's time for a soaking. Keep adding water slowly until it filters out from the drainage holes. This will help leach unwanted salts from the soil.

The advantage of container gardening is that you can relocate the plants as the sun changes its path throughout the spring and summer months. Pepper plants need a minimum of six sunny hours each day. Put the plants on a rolling caddy to make the move easier.

Peppers will create an array of colors throughout their growing season - yellow, green, red, purple. Once they have ripened, you can pop them into just about any recipe. If you end up with an abundance of peppers, they will not go to waste, either. Just blister them, remove the skins, and freeze.


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