Wednesday, February 17

Seed Starting: Pepper Planting Day!

This morning was pepper planting day. It's about 12 weeks until the projected last frost, and that is usually when I start my peppers. The package does say to wait until 8-10 weeks, but I've always found my germination to be a little slower - and last year we had an amazing spring that I could be out in the garden earlier with them - so I want to be ready, just in case!

I'm growing a mix of peppers again - some of the seeds are from last year, and some are from this year.  They are: Flame Hybrid Hot Thai, Cayenne Long Slim, El Jefe Jalapeno, Jalapeno M, Purple Beauty, Hungarian Hot Yellow Wax, North Star Sweet Pepper, and Mosqueterro Poblano.

The seeds look just as you would think they do, if you have ever cut open a fresh pepper:

The hot pepper seeds have a bit more red / orange tint to them compared to the sweet peppers - again, expected.  Last year, after doing some reading online, I planted half of them under soil and the other half just resting on top of the soil. From what I read, those sitting on top of the soil would do better. Based on my own personal experiment - I noticed no difference. The both grew at the same rate, and both did equally as well - only you could see the second the seeds resting on the soil germinated. I had no issues with either way. So this year, I decided to do an in between - plant them on the surface, and give them just a slight dusting of soil.

Here are some seeds just before they get tucked in:

I just planted them in some old pots that I had from last year's purchase of annual flowers. I got a large tray with 28 little pots or 'plugs' in them, and I used that to keep all my peppers together. Now, when you are using pots of the previous year please make sure to disinfect with them with a bleach bath just in case they are carrying something that will hurt your little seedlings.

I planted two seeds per 'pot'. Except for the Hot Yellow Wax peppers. I planted four per pot.  The reason for this - last year, these little seeds really had a hard time germinating. West Coast Seeds, where I purchased them, are great at stating the estimated germination rate of seeds.

So as you see, only 87% will germinate of these seeds, this year it will be even less because these seeds are a year old now. Last year, after planting two per pot - which is my normal 'seedling planting procedure' - I had multiple pots with zero germination. I had to replant these, and considering germination rates can take up to 2 weeks for the little guys to pop out - it really put those pepper plants behind the game.

Some seed packages, like above - gave so few seeds that the seeds were in a smaller packet, inside the large seed packet. These seeds are usually 'special' in some way - rare, disease resistant, highly sought out, ect. A couple of these packages only gave me 10 or so seeds - so I could only plant two per pot. I planting them as far apart as I could, with the hope that maybe I can transplant the extras, instead of picking favourites and - gulp - chopping one down. But, since you never know if seeds have 100% germination - I didn't want to risk just planting one per pot.

Now they just get to sit, and sun bath with Oreo, and hopefully in two-ish weeks we will see their little leaves start to poke up :)

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