The week ten update of the 2019 pepper growing season focuses a bit on preparation more than the progress of my plants. In just a few days I’ll start the hardening off process for my seedlings. The weather has been beautiful and the next two weeks will be just right for getting the little plants ready to spend the rest of the Spring/Summer (and potentially Autumn) outside.

But before we get that process started, I decided to get my self-watering buckets prepped and ready. I figured the time between now and planting would give the soil mixture time to come together and settle some while the plants get accustomed to the great outdoors.

gardening with the dogs

As always, any time I am working in the backyard, I have three helpers to accompany me. Of course, they really don’t do much helping — more like distracting during said work. At any rate, all of the bucket components were pulled from the shed and assembled.

For those unfamiliar with these types of setups, there are plenty of videos on Youtube showing you how to build your own.

self-watering buckets

Next, up is the dirt that will fill each bucket. Just like last year, I’ve opted to keep the blend simple. It worked for my plants last season so it’s hard to mess with something that’s not broken. Each bucket received a 50/50 blend of composted material (LeafGro in this case) and peat moss. Everything was pre-mixed in the wheel barrel prior to filling.

self-watering buckets

I also add in a healthy amount of perlite to add in drainage. One benefit from the self-watering buckets is the reduction of soil compaction as the water wicks up from the bottom reservoir. That said, it does rain a good amount and compaction is always an issue — the perlite will help out in that case. The blended materials ends up being nice and fluffy which my plants have seemed to enjoy in recent seasons.

self-watering buckets

With this task completed and the hardening off process starting soon, I’m itching to get the plants in the ground. I know that patience is key here, as I’ve been bludgeoned by flashes of freak weather in the past, but we’re so close. I can almost feel the burn!