Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Potting Up Chilies

This is the first time I've potted up any of my soil blocks and it went rather well. My chili peppers that I showed off on Monday really needed potting up. Not only are their leaves touching now, but with soil blocks you can see their roots and when you start to see some good root sticking out, it means they need potting up.

These chilies were seeded on 3/16 and germinated on 3/21. So it took about a month after planting for them to need potting up. My biggest issue was what to pot them up into. I have lots of little plastic pots, 3" and 4". I could use either, but with the soil blocks I'm free of plastic pots floating around the garden. I'd like to keep to that. So I made paper pots instead.

I took some old Wall Street Journals and cut them into 4" strips. I loop them into a circle and press potting soil into the bottom. My newspaper pots don't have bottoms. The bottoms hold together for the same reason soil blocks hold together. I use little color coded paper clips to hold the top. Before I plant them out, I'll remove the clips to be reused again. As I was making them I noticed that financial crises look so much more benign when wrapped around a pepper seedling. You don't like what AIG is doing. Cut it up and plant something into it. It is very therapeutic.

After the pot is half filled with compacted potting soil. I added in a pepper block. Then I carefully filled in around the edges, tamping it all down. And a while later it is finished. Ta Da!

That 'while later' was on the order of an hour. Why does it take so long to transplant 15 plants? I'm always shocked if I look at the clock when I do things. I suppose if I did a lot of transplanting I'd get quicker at it. I'd also buy a 4" soil blocker so I could just press it out and plop them in. Now I'm fitting a square block into a round newspaper pot. We have all been taught that square blocks don't go into round holes. I guess I've just never learned this lesson. The square edges kept trying to fall apart as I tamped in the soil. I had to be really careful about it, but it worked.

I'm almost caught up in my posts. I have one more left from yesterday to write. I suppose I could just say it in a one liner, but where is the fun in that?


  1. Daphne, good job, now that is a great way of using the WSJ to make little pots for your plants. I think I am going to have to investigate making paper pots for next season.
    Have a great day

  2. Ha, this is priceless, Daphne! Great technique. And I confess that for years I've chosen very specific newspaper stories to line my birds' cages with. There's just something so satisfying about envisioning the birds' inevitable deposits all over a news item, politician, or what have you that you find offensive. Revenge really is, uh, tweet...

  3. Your peppers look very happy and healthy! I was thinking along the same lines when I was tearing strips of paper for more pots. There was a particulary odious ad for a dating service for cheating spouses that I thought was perfect for filling with dirt.

  4. Those soil block seem to really work. As a test, I planted radishes, mainly because they grow quickly. Inside of two weeks, the roots had grown out of the soil blocks into the tray. Next I'm going to compare the soil blocks with egg shells to see which I like better.

    Your peppers look nice and healthy.

  5. Daphne, your peppers look very good - unlike mine, that have yellow leaves. Shame on me....

  6. Lovely healthy looking peppers Daphne
    and great paper pots too!

  7. Those are some huge paper pots, Great idea. It really is a pain storing all those plastic pots.

  8. Your peppers look great! I may have to try that if I run out of toilet paper tubes.

  9. Aren't those just the most darling things! I've laughed to myself while lining sod with newspapers to make layer beds, as I cover the bad news up with hay and clippings. It is so very therapuetic, as you say, and puts life in perspective.

  10. AIG news has, up to now, been used to line the rabbit's pooper box. You've given me another good idea how to use it!

  11. I can't think of a better way of using the WSJ too! Great idea, Daphne I love the way you think- very inspiring!

  12. You know, I think it might be time to pot up my chiles too. I love that you can just use old newspaper and have a cheap, biodegradable container for your starts.

    I know I've said this before, but thank you SO MUCH for your blog, I've become a better gardener from what I've learned here.

  13. Keewee, I keep thinking I should be composting it too, but instead I recycle. Maybe some year I'll feed it to the worms.

    our friend Ben, Gee I never would have guessed you as a punny guy, but I'm glad to learn differently. I'm always indignant when people say the pun wasn't intended, since it always should be.

    Michelle, a dating service for cheating spouses? What will they think of next.

    Cheryl, you plant in eggshells. Very intriguing.

    engineeredgarden, I think it is easier to not over water when they are in the blocks. They dry out so much faster.

    Karen, thanks.

    Dan, I think they are only about 2 1/2" wide, but I like to make them deep. I think the deep roots are very important. I just wish they made blocks that way too.

    debg, one thing nicer about the newspaper pots, you can make them any size.

    Kim, I can't do anything about the news, but I can transform it into something much nicer. At least it makes me feel better about it for a while.

    Annie's Granny, ha another good use for it.

    Tessa, thanks

    Jennifer, now I'm blushing. You're very welcome.