I thought last week that my building had come to an end. As I thought about planting out the sunny bed in the next few weeks, I decided that I had one last, inexpensive project to do. Last year, the tomatoes and eggplant grew huge and tall – which is all I could ask for. But the pepper plants got shaded out pretty quickly, and while they did produce enough hot peppers for our immediate need, they weren’t bountiful enough to dry and use throughout the year.

I need to plant the peppers away from the taller eggplant and tomatoes, but I’m out of space in my sunny beds. So I built some new planters to house the peppers so I can ensure they’ll get plenty of sun. These planters are really inexpensive! I used the same basic plan as the raised beds, potato box and fig planter, except I used untreated pine rather than cedar. I bought three 2″x8″x8′ boards and one 2″x2″X8′ for a total of $27. I cut the 2″x2″ into 7″ lenghts, and each 2″x8″ into two 1′ and two 3′ lenghts. Using screws I already had on hand from the potato box, this made three 1’x3′ planter boxes, each one is perfect for a row of about four pepper plants each.

Pepper boxesOne reason I chose to use pine rather than cedar is that I wanted to break up some of the monotony of cedar boxes in the back yard. I primed and painted the boxes to add some year-round color to the garden. (Valspar, Lavender Soap: Martha Stewart Collection - discontinued.)The boxes bottoms are made of weed control landscape fabric.

You may notice that these planter boxes don’t have bottoms. After I painted them, I stapled a double layer of weed control fabirc to the bottoms. Peppers generally like to dry out a bit between watering, so I thought a more porous bottom would be best.

I bought these pepper plants at Lowe's. I planted Anaheim, serrano, jalapeno and ancho.

I still have a few weeks before I plant out my peppers. This year, I’ll focus on both sweet peppers, most of which I’ve grown from seed, hot peppers, most of which I’ll buy as seedlings. We’ll normally eat as many sweet peppers as we grow, and this year, I’m concentrating on sweet paprika peppers rather than bell peppers. They’re really productive, have thin walls and great flavor, so they’re great for stuffing and also drying. I normally only buy one plant each of several varieties of hot peppers. If I can find them, I’ll plant Thai bird, serrano, jalapeno, ancho, cayenne – and probably a few more.

My peppers from seed - all Leutschauer Paprika.


I arranged the new pepper boxes on the weed-overtaken patio, around the fig tree.