I live west of Stockton on the delta. My 2 cents, I have found this drought has dried out the soil terribly as you know I'm sure the central valley is really dry. Maybe prepare your plot by soaking it then transplanting the next day or when the soil is just damp. That way you won't (maybe) have to play catchup like I am doing with my trees. I found this spring my peach and cherry tree are dying from thirst. I set a bucket in the root zone and a hose in it dripping, after 2 weeks its coming back. What I think may have happened (it appeared to) the water was wicked away until the soil in a 10 foot diameter was damp, then the tree looked good after a while. I would plant in compost, cover around the stem with cardboard, newspaper or more mulch to keep the roots damp.It is just so very dry again this year, my water table is 3 feet, the trees haven't reached it apparently. In my opinion keeping the plants watered at the right amount may be a challenge, 2 waterings a day sometimes may be needed. Your plants look good to me, thats a beautiful pepper plant, you have the battle half done, you have the "want to"!