Peppers in Pots

Aubergines and sweet peppers can be grown outdoors in a sunny, sheltered site – choose a south-facing position and put out when all danger of frost is past – you should have the makings of a ratatouille on your own doorstep!

Buy container-grown young plants in May or June for cropping in August and September. Potting up the small plants will take an hour or so.

Peppers in PotsPlants required
One each of the following: aubergine ‘Short Tom’; hot pepper ‘Hungarian Wax’; sweet pepper ‘Earliest Sweet Red’. If you can’t find these varieties, look for others labelled as suitable for growing outdoors in containers.

Equipment required
Three terracotta pots (use plastic or ceramic if you prefer).Soil-based potting compost.Broken crocks for drainage.Trowel.Bamboo canes for support if needed.Potassium-rich liquid fertiliser.

1 Line each of the three pots with broken crocks for drainage. Half-fill with compost, then check the level of the rootball in each pot by sitting the small plants, still in their original containers, into the pots. The rootball should sit about 4cm (1½in) below the rim of the pot. Adjust the level of the compost accordingly.

2 Plant the aubergine and peppers, one to a pot, firm in well, then top up with compost. Water thoroughly.

3 Place the plants in a warm, sunny, sheltered spot, away from strong winds and draughts. Water regularly, but don’t allow the compost to become sodden. Support with bamboo canes and soft string if the stems start to bend over.

4 When the fruits start to appear, water every week with a liquid potassium-rich fertiliser (such as that recommended for tomatoes).

5 Don’t allow the plants to produce too many fruits – they won’t develop to a good size. For plants grown in pots of the size shown here, four or five is the maximum. Once the plant has this number developing, pinch out any further flowers – this will encourage the remaining fruits to grow larger.

Tip Red peppers are not a separate variety – they are green peppers allowed to remain on the stem until they ripen to a deep red colour. For use in the kitchen, pick them green – the weather in the UK may not be warm enough for outdoor peppers to ripen to red.

Note Check the plant labels carefully when buying young aubergine and pepper plants – new varieties are always coming on the market, many of them bred especially for outdoor and container growing. Your rate of success will be much higher if you choose the right variety in the first place.

Aftercare No particular aftercare is required. You will need to buy new young plants every year.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas. Now available at DairyDiary.co.uk

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