From what I understand, jalepenos like it hot. They grow best with lots of sun, something the PNW doesn't always have. Here's how I solved the heat problem - so far. No idea what challenges I will need to meet in the future since I'm such a newbie.

I bought some eggs at Costco in a plastic egg carton. I was taking out the recycling when I was struck with an idea. Would this egg carton solve a problem?

  • I punched some holes in the bottom of the egg compartments, and filled them with dirt.
  • I planted Jalapeno seeds in each.
  • Watered them, closed the lid, placed them in a sunny window.
  • Ignored them for a couple of weeks.

They stayed moist, without additional water, for the most part. Just the ones near the very edge in the sunniest part got dry a little and I added a little extra water. 

The plastic made a perfect mini-greenhouse and I didn't have to water them. All 29 seeds I planted sprouted. It seemed to take forever, but then we're in a world full of instant gratification. On the garden time line it was a about 10 days.

Easy to make - unless you complicate things.

If you call punching holes in the bottom "making" it into a planter. Of course I complicated it a bit by making a tool to make the perfect hole.

027I made a drill for making the holes out of an old Philips screwdriver. I just sharpened the point on my bench grinder to be very sharp. Twirl it in the bottom of a plastic container and it makes a perfect hole. Grind gently. The vanes become very sharp and make it easy to cut through plastic when you twirl the drill. Don't do this while the container is sitting on your leg. You will be very surprised if it punches through too easily.

Seems like an obvious way to recycle, but I didn't think of it until I was in the process of tossing the egg carton. Inspiration strikes at the oddest times.

It was easy to remove the plants too. Just dump them out and you have perfect little muffins ready to put into the ground. Lots easier than trying to get them out of the "six pack" you buy at the store. And water was conserved. A total win.

Here's what happened next.

Ok so they're in the ground, now what?

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They were really tiny when I decided to transplant them. They looked so cold and lonely. I worried about their tender little lives in that great big garden. I left them there for about a week and suffered much guilt about their happiness.

I also felt like a fool watering a giant bed when there were only a few small little plants every foot or so. Seemed to be very wasteful, and I believe it was. So I was drinking a glass of water, when I had another lightbulb burst in my  consciousness.

From communal living to private residence.

jalapeno pepper gardenKind of like moving out of the dorm (or the egg carton) into a your first apartment.  I decided to just put my glass on top of one.

There are lots of advantages to this and a real gardner could probably give you all of them. I can onliy think of two.

  • They don't dry out for one. The cup makes a great greenhouse.
  • You can water with a hose without smashing the plants down, which is how I destroyed some other plants (my ignorance is appalling). 

I went out and got some clear plastic cups. I gave them each their own greenhouse. I was feeling very proud.

 

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I left them like this for two weeks, but they didn't seem happy. They just weren't getting any bigger. So I thought maybe it was too hot. Sure the moisture stays in the cup, but I wouldn't like to actually live in a sauna 24 hours a day weeks on end.

I poked a hole in some of them, and left the others sealed. Amazingly enough the ones with the holes immediately got bigger. It happened almost overnight. Coincidence?

So the drill came in handy. Who knew?

Here's a picture of my Jalapeno Community.

It's not a gated community, but we do keep out rabbits and slugs. Politically correct does not apply here.

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Come back in a few months and see the update on their progress.

Oh oh. Trouble in in the community. An hour after I wrote this article and felt smugly self satisfied - disaster when I went to check on them. Read all about it.