Red Wicket Market Farm is a small farm 25 minutes from downtown Columbus, Ohio, near Slate Run Metropark. Breeding Black Copper and Blue Copper Marans to the Standard of Perfection.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Repotting Pepper Plants

We have some signs of spring! The daffodils are peeking through the mulch, and the first crocus of 2014 bloomed yesterday. Today, however, it's below freezing and the laundry I hung on the line has frozen solid. Sigh.

I did manage to get some gardening in this week, however. I mixed up a big batch of my homemade soilless potting mix and repotted the peppers that were getting a bit too large for their pots.

Repotting veggies from cell packs to 20 ounce drink cups works not only for these peppers (that I thought would grow very slowly, but shot up instead) but also for veggies that you buy on sale at your local greenhouse too early to put into the garden. If you can't get a plant into the ground right away, give it a larger pot and some bright light and it can wait a bit before you plant it.

Very simply, first poke some holes into the bottom of a 20 ounce plastic drink cup. Pack the bottom with moistened potting mix, then grab your cell pack of plants. Gently push from the bottom of the pack, and you should be able to slide one plant out.

Place the plant in on top of the potting mix you've packed into the bottom of the drink cup, then pack potting mix in around the edges of the plant. Always make sure that the plant ends up the same depth in the soil that it started; if it's planted too high it might dry out to much and if it's planted too deeply the stem may rot. Tomatoes are the exception to this rule; repot them very deep with only the top two leaves showing above the soil.

Water your seedlings from the top right after you repot them. Even if you usually water from the bottom, you need to water from the top this once to settle the soil around the roots of the plant and make sure there are no huge air pockets.

That's it! Repotting 12 pepper plants took me about 15 minutes. Now they're good to grow until (cross your fingers) it gets warm enough for them to go live outside in the cold frame.

Until next week!