Questions a Novice with Limited Experience

I live in Ellicott City, Maryalnd and is in Hardiness Zone 6b. In the Algonquian language of the indigenous Native American Indian tribes, Ellicott City means "Hard clay soil filled with rocks". ;)
In past years, my gardening has been limited to Habenero Peppers planted as seedlings purchased from a nursery.
My 2012 vegetable selection is Habenero Peppers (12), Bell Peppers (3), Heirloom Tomatoes (3), Cabbage (2), Lettuce (2), Eggplant (2), and Zucchini (2).
The Peppers will be planted in containers that will winter indoors where they will get 8 hours of sunlight daily from a lighting fixture I used to use for hydroponics. My objective is a second harvest.
My concern is about the stability of containers given my 2011 Habeneros were 60" (~1.5 meters) in height. What is the optimal size container for these plants?
The Tomatoes, Cabbage, Lettuce, Eggplant, and Zucchini will be planted in straw bales. Are any of these vegetables inappropriate for straw bale gardening? Are there any other vegetables you'd recommend for straw bale gardening?
This will be my first venture into straw bale gardening. So any advice on straw bale gardening of these vegetables will be appreciated!
Why straw bales? My back is held together by slugs of concrete and straw bales will raise the height of plants which means less bending and less pain.
The use of containers and straw bales means my 9' x 4' garden plot will be free for other vegetables that will be maintained and harvested by my son whose only real interest is an increase in his allowance. The plot consists of 12" (305 mm) of well-composted soil atop a landscape barrier. So it is relatively weed free.
My thoughts are Garlic, Onions, Shallots, Carrots, etc. I'm indifferent as to when they should be planted and when they should be harvested. Again any advice on companion planting will be appreciated.
Dick
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On 2/8/2012 10:29 PM, Dick Adams wrote:

It seems to me they have a roundish root ball. So the depth is not critical. Mine were in about 3 gallon, but it seems like a 5 gallon paint bucket would work.
Yahoo has some nice information:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid 070824223939AAmUpts
I'm no expert, but peppers seem to be about the easiest most forgiving plant there is... 60" plants seems like you are doing very well.
Jeff
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One year I brought pepper plants in, I could not control the little white bugs. My zone is not the best for them, but I get enough. I have no trouble with yellow habaneros, but the stink bugs attack others including ghost. I am currently killing at least one stink bug per day in kitchen.
Greg
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