This weekend marked a big step for the pepper plants. They all get their first taste of the great outdoors as the hardening-off process began in earnest on Saturday. Since the plants were started and maintained under grow lights and ideal temperatures since their germination, it’s important to ease them into weather that is variable and unpredictable. Overall, after almost two weeks – adding more and more outdoor exposure per day – the plants will be ready to transplant permanently.

pepper plants outside

I also took advantage of good weather this weekend to do some additional prep work. Earlier this month, my wife and I expanded some landscaping to connect the raised beds for my peppers with the section that was home to our vegetables. To keep everything clean and aesthetic (for the boss lady), I opted to use several 13 gallon pots that I picked up for pretty cheap at a local hardware store. Between my raised beds and these pots, I’ll have 34 plants along this section of our yard. That means that I will only need to run a small handful of the orange, self-watering bucket setups that I have used in the past.

pepper plants outside

Just like it years past, I make my own potting soil so I know exactly what sort of medium my plants are sitting in. I like to use a 50/50 combination of Leafgro Compost and peat moss as the core mixture. A good bit of perlite is then added for drainage. This year I also added a little vermiculite and mushroom compost. All in all, the dirt is fluffy and should allow the pepper roots to spread like wild fire.

pepper plants outside

And finally, I topped off a few of the raised beds with additional Leafgro to bring their levels back up a touch and add nutrients back into what was left over from last year. I typically do this on an as-needed basis or every two years depending on how the beds are looking at that time.

pepper plants outside

That’s it for now. Over the next week or so, the plants will see longer durations out in the elements. I am super excited and cannot wait to get everything out of the basement and into their Summer homes. Until next time, happy growing.