Growing peppers in containers is a great way to harvest homegrown produce even when you’re short on space. With the right tools, the proper plants, sunlight, fertilizer and water, you’ll be picking a peck of peppers before you know it. Learn eight easy steps to grow peppers in a pot this summer.

1. Select a Large Container
Peppers need room for their roots to spread, so choose a pot at least 12 inches in diameter. A young pepper plant may initially appear small in such a large vessel, but it will fill out the container when it’s full size.

Purchase a pot with holes in the bottom, or drill your own to ensure adequate drainage. Use a plastic or metal pot in favor of fast-drying terra cotta, especially because peppers require consistently moist soil.

2. Fill Your Container with Organic Potting Mix
Use a seed starting mix or potting mix for your peppers. They drain much more thoroughly than garden soil, which is key to preventing peppers from becoming waterlogged. Look for a natural, organic potting mix-they’re specially formulated for containers with nutrients already added. A good potting mix will hold moisture and provide the plant’s roots with aeration and important nutrients.

Pepper plants are susceptible to blossom end rot, a condition where the ends of the vegetable turn black due to a lack of calcium. Combat this by adding calcium granules to the soil at planting time and then again as often as the particular brand of calcium you purchase prescribes.

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