Sunday, October 11, 2009

Transplanting Peppers To Overwinter in Containers

Today was a busy day; I made some shelves for my sun room and for a guy with virtually no carpentry skills I kind of did alright. I really want to utilize my sun room this winter to overwinter my pepper plants, tomatoes and eggplant. So today I jumped off that cliff and decided to pull the Harbanero plants out of the raised beds and transplant them into containers. My main concern was damaging the root system. I understand this is always the risk for transplanting, but it is either now or never; so I gently pulled the Plants out until they separated from the earth. I was cringing every time I felt a pull and then a tear. But when it was all said and done I was able to gather the majority of the root. With the plants out I prepped two containers by layering the bottom of the containers with heaping amounts of compost, then with another layer of soil I layed the plants in the container and finally filled the container with more soil until the plants were able to be supported by the soil and some stakes. Im crossing my fingers on this one. As expected I see some drooping of the leaves, there are still several peppers attached to the plant, whether this was a good idea or not only time will tell. After the plant was set I watered them and placed them on my porch. Over the next few weeks I will be looking for signs of a perky plant and hopefully signs of new growth.


Sue said...

I wish I had done something like this. It would give me the head start I need in the spring. I read someones blog that had the same pepper plants for NINE years. Amazing!

ATW said...

Sue- This pepper plant produces like 50 at any given time. I really want to keep her around, this morning when I noticed that all of her leaves were perked up with anticipation of the rain. I think it's off to a good start.

Kenneth Moore said...

Dude, the shelves look awesome!

I have been considering your question about the sunroom... I think just making certain that there aren't drafts from the windows or doors would be the best idea. I don't know how cold it gets there in the winter (probably nothing like here in DC!), but as long as the area where the plants are doesn't go too far below 50 degrees for days on end, I think all of your plants should be fine. A lot of plants can take much lower temperatures, but such things as peppers and tomatoes are a bit more picky with temperature, so I'd be more careful of them. I think also that a lot of the plants will go into a more dormant state, although that will vary, so you'll want to keep a careful eye on the watering schedule (don't wanna overwater--that invites insects and fungus, and the plant isn't growing as actively, so it might be less able to fend them off). Buy a long moisture probe to check before watering. Get a thermometer to keep track of the temperature, too. Humidity shouldn't be too big a deal. The only other consideration is sun... But, by definition, you'd think the sunroom would get a good amount. :-D Does it face south? That's best. From the picture, it seems a bit shady--is there any direct sunlight throughout the day? Peppers and tomatoes will definitely survive suboptimal light conditions--they'll get leggy, however. I don't know if you'll want to cut them back when you replant them or not, but there's plenty of time to find that out! If you think there's not enough sunlight getting into the room (5 or so hours per day should be enough to keep the plants going), get some fluorescent bulbs for the room and leave them on for most of the day. You'll want them fairly close to the plants, so a floor lamp, flood light, or shoplights hung under the shelves would work. (Watch out for insects--standard houseplant pests can become problematic, and more if the sunroom isn't well-sealed.)

One last suggestion--take a few cuttings from your habanero plant and root them in a glass of water as back-up, just in case the big plant goes downhill. Either way, you'll still have a leg up in the spring. If the big one survives for your own garden, neighbours/friends will probably appreciate one of the rooted cuttings so early in the season, too!

ATW said...

Kenneth- Thanks so much for the wealth of info. I have been thinking about the draft factor from my door leading outside. everything else is fine. The sunroom is facing south and there are alot of trees in that corner. However, when the leaves start to fall the sun will penetrate straight through into the sun room. For now it's split with direct and indirect sunlight throughout the day. Great info on the bugs and watering and I will do some more reading on pruning before I start hacking away. Im definately not the guy you want to see at the barber. The thermometer is a must have I will definately have to go pick one up. Thanks again for the information.