It’s Seed Staring Time!
Yes you do have a couple of options when it comes to starting your seeds. The first of these options is the tried-and-true method of simply picking up some seed starting soil, a heat mat and a seed tray with a clear plastic cover. We know some of this may seem elemental to some folks, but remember there are new folks taking up gardening every day. Next follow the instructions below.
- One thing you can do that theoretically increases seed germination rates is to soak the seeds for 24 hours before planting in water. I’ve tried this method and I really can’t see where it increases germination rates by any appreciable amount. Just my personal opinion.
- Next fill the cells of your seed tray with the seed starting soil and moisten it. I moisten the soil first because I find it makes it easier to maintain an identifiable hole for the seed if the soil is wet first.
- Create holes (about 1/8 deep) in the center of each cell using a pencil.
- Drop in a seed and cover with some of the moisten soil in the cell.
- Moisten again to set the soil around the seed.
- Cover the seed tray with the clear plastic cover and place on the heat mat. Alternately if you have a warm surface that you can place the tray on you can omit the mat.
- Within 7 to 10 days (and possibly as long as a month) your new plants should start to show themselves. Put them in a sunny location (with the clear plastic lid on) making sure they do not dry out.
- Remove the lid on the plants when they get to the point where they’re about to touch the top surface. Once the lid is off the very careful because depending on the size of the cells you’ve purchased they could dry out very quickly and kill your new peppers.
- When the second set of leaves start to show on your peppers you can start to add a fertilizer solution to your water.
- Once roots start to show and go into the tray below you can think about transplanting them into a new and larger pot using potting soil or out into your garden. This is assuming that the chance of frost has passed.
- We suggest that you keep your peppers in pots until the plants grow to a point where they form a Y in the main stem. At this point you will trim your peppers back by cutting it just below the Y. this will make your plants sturdier and bushier. At the same time remove any blossoms that may be showing since the plant is way too young to be supporting the growth of any fruit at this point. Check out this page for the full process: Pruning Pepper Plants
- Remember when finally transplanting your plants into the garden peppers (especially hot peppers) love sun so make sure you choose an area that gets a minimum of six hours a day of full sunlight. And yes more hours of any sun would be preferable, very preferable.
Check out this page for further information: Seed Starting Indoors
- Option 2 is very similar to option 1 and as a matter fact the only thing that will change is step one of the above processes. The
- This method germination uses what’s called the wet paper towel method. In this method you take a piece of paper towel and mist it with some water from a spray bottle.
- Next lay your seeds out on the damp half of the paper towel making sure to keep the seeds separated.
- Then fold the paper towel over top of the seeds misting it again lightly with the hand sprayer.
- Place the paper towel inside a Ziploc bag, sealed it up and place it on a warm surface.
- Periodically check your seeds to see if they have sprouted. Once they do you can go back up to the steps in the previous option and plant the sprouted seeds. Use tweezers though to place your seeds carefully into the hole making sure that the sprouted pepper is pointing towards the surface.
Check out the video below to see a similar process.