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Old January 30, 2023   #1
montyb
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This year will be my first time starting peppers from seed. I'm using the jiffy peat pellets for starting my tomatoes which I've had good success with in the past. Do peppers both hot and sweet do well started in them? I know tomatoes are good with being transplanted, how do peppers feel about it?
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Old January 30, 2023   #2
FarmerShawn
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Peppers take a bit longer than tomatoes to get going, so I start them first. They like it warm, and a bit dryer than tomatoes. You can transplant leggy ones deeper, but they don't root much along the buried stem like tomatoes do, but they don't mind it. Don't let them get cold; they'll sulk for days after a chill. And transplant them closer together than tomatoes. They like rubbing shoulders. Mine need support, though not as much as tomatoes.
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Old January 30, 2023   #3
VirginiaClay
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Peppers transplant fine; that's how most gardeners do it. I haven't used peat pots, but if you've had good experience with them with tomatoes, they should work fine for peppers.

Pepper transplants need warmer air and soil than tomatoes do, so we always transplant ours 1-2 weeks later than the tomatoes. This is very important, as pepper plants can be permanently set back with poor production or poor health if they are set out when it's too cool. Be sure to harden them off before transplant. Transplanting on a cloudy day is helpful.

I'd avoid transplanting peppers deeper than their soil line. There's not much benefit to planting them deeply, and there is the risk of the stem rotting, especially if it's already kind of hardened (lignified) when you transplant. For leggy seedlings, I just plant them at normal depth and tie them loosely to a stick or small stake for support until they thicken up.

Peppers benefit greatly from staying evenly moist (but not soggy), so mulching is helpful. They are lighter feeders than tomatoes but do need some fertilizer.
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Old January 30, 2023   #4
PaulF
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My opinion: Personally I would never use another peat pot for starting any seeds. They have always disappointed. Give me good old soilless mix every time. That said, as VirginiaClay says, if they work for you, go for it.

Higher heat is a must. A heat mat helps keep the temperature above 80 degrees F. I always start peppers at least two weeks before tomatoes and plant seedlings in the garden only when soil temperature is above 65 degreesF (19 C).

Would it be correct that your growing season is a little shorter than a zone 7? We are at 5/6 hardiness zone and my most productive peppers are early varieties...50 to 65 days to maturity. For me longer season peppers just do not get around to producing before frost hits. Longer season peppers will give lots of green fruits but do not ripen soon enough.

good luck and have fun.
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Last edited by PaulF; January 30, 2023 at 03:28 PM.
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Old January 30, 2023   #5
zeuspaul
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Peppers need more warmth than tomatoes do to germinate and get started. You may need some kind of heating mat.
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Old January 30, 2023   #6
rxkeith
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no experience with jiffy pellets, i always use a soiless seed starter.
they say peppers like bottom heat to germinate. never used a heating mat.
the best, quickest germination i have had with peppers was in a house that
had cast iron radiators for heat in the bedrooms. i would start my seeds on top
of one that had a small wood top on it. might have been a cat pad. i put a towel
on top of that, and then the planted seeds. those seeds would be up, and growing
in less than a week. another way that works is placing the seed tray over a heat vent
if in floor heat with a couple books or bricks on each end so the heat can come out.
or place the seed tray next to a heat vent if the vent is in the wall near the floor.
what i am currently doing is starting seeds underneath our wood stove that we use
to heat during the winter. germination is a little slower due to temperature fluctuations,
but is generally still good. cover the seed tray with some plastic wrap or in a large
clear plastic bag to keep from drying out. keep the seed starter damp, but not soggy to minimize mold or damping off.
peppers transplant just fine. i space my plants about 18 inches apart planted
just a little deeper than the soil line. nothing exact.







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Old January 31, 2023   #7
b54red
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In my experience the hotter the pepper the slower the germination as a general rule in my unheated greenhouse. I don't like peat pots so just use potting soil. Pepper seed do much better germinating if started in a warm location. As to growing I have found the near perfect companion plant for them by planting sweet potatoes under them. They are a bit messy to control the vines of the sweet potatoes but it is well worth the bother with the increased production of both plants. I have also found it useful to add extra Epsom salt in the planting hole and supplement it several times during the season for increased size and production even though my soil samples say I have plenty of magnesium. I experimented with this for several years and the plants receiving the Epsom salt were far more productive and produced peppers with thicker walls consistently so I have been doing this for over a decade with great results.

Bill
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Old February 1, 2023   #8
CrazyAboutOrchids
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I don't use peat pots and never have. I use Fox Farms products to start my seed and then when potting up. I start my tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos and eggplants all at the same time. Once potted up, mine all survive together on shelves in my basement where there are much cooler temps. I think it might help them when moving out to the garden as they aren't babied in any way. They definitely don't grow as quickly as the tomatoes down there, but by plant out, I have better starts than any garden center!
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Old February 1, 2023   #9
Patihum
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Several pepper growing sites mention info like this -


Peat pellets are okay for tomato seed and vegetable seed in general and a few types of pepper seed will germinate in them, but for some reason, most pepper seed will not germinate well, if at all in peat pellets, we suspect it is the pH in the peat, plus the fact that peat tends to stay soggy and holds too much moisture against the seed, literally drowning it.
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Old February 1, 2023   #10
biscuitridge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b54red View Post
In my experience the hotter the pepper the slower the germination as a general rule in my unheated greenhouse. I don't like peat pots so just use potting soil. Pepper seed do much better germinating if started in a warm location. As to growing I have found the near perfect companion plant for them by planting sweet potatoes under them. They are a bit messy to control the vines of the sweet potatoes but it is well worth the bother with the increased production of both plants. I have also found it useful to add extra Epsom salt in the planting hole and supplement it several times during the season for increased size and production even though my soil samples say I have plenty of magnesium. I experimented with this for several years and the plants receiving the Epsom salt were far more productive and produced peppers with thicker walls consistently so I have been doing this for over a decade with great results.

Bill
Bill, how much Epsom salt do you like to add? Thanks!
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Old February 4, 2023   #11
montyb
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Thanks so much for all the advice. I'm super excited to be growing peppers this year. Looking forward to using all your advice. Will keep you all posted on how things are going.
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Old February 4, 2023   #12
RJGlew
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I start my pepper seeds using rolled damp paper towel in a plastic bag, placed on top of the refrigerator for a bit of heat. Look for primary roots starting on day 5, and plant sprouted seeds carefully in soilless seed starting mix. Be careful planting them since the radicles are very brittle. All transplanting after that is into Promix BX or HP.
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Old February 5, 2023   #13
PaulF
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Epsom salts add magnesium and sulphate to the soil and can be very beneficial if your soil needs these minerals. It works best in acidic soils to help unlock nitrogen and phosphorus.

The main problem is using a chemical in soil not needing extra magnesium or sulphate, especially if they are tied together as in epsom salt. Soil that is in balance already may not need more of one mineral or another; it could be detrimental to add unnecessary elements. A good professional soil test is a cheap way to find out exactly is need or not needed for you particular garden.

Mine is already high in magnesium and phosphorus but low in sulphur, so by adding sulphur the soil becomes balanced and nitrogen is released for plant growth. If I were to add epsom salts that would upset the balance I have worked for so nearly twenty years. (I do add nitrogen every year since my soil test calls for additional N).

Another way to add magnesium is a foliar spray of epsom salts in liquid form directly to the pepper plants every so often. That probably will not affect the soil balance and if the plants need magnesium there could be a good result. I may give this a test on a few of my pepper plants this year. Adding epsom in the hole may not change anything except for each plant either. Worth a try; there is always next year...we hope.
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Last edited by PaulF; February 5, 2023 at 01:51 PM.
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Old February 5, 2023   #14
VirginiaClay
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulF View Post
Epsom salts add magnesium and sulphate to the soil and can be very beneficial if your soil needs these minerals. It works best in acidic soils to help unlock nitrogen and phosphorus.

The main problem is using a chemical in soil not needing extra magnesium or sulphate, especially if the are tied together as in epsom salt. Soil that is in balance already may not need more of one mineral or another; it could be detrimental to add unnecessary elements. A good professional soil test is a cheap way to find out exactly is need or not needed for you particular garden.
Just want to heartily second your post. I think internet gardening bloggers and YouTubers have taken a bit of good advice ("here's a cheap, easy way to add magnesium to your soil") and universalized it in a way that isn't good. It's only a good idea to add magnesium to your soil if your soil needs magnesium, and it can be harmful if your soil doesn't need magnesium, or if you add too much. And it's pretty easy to add too much Epsom salts.

My mom, a very experienced and successful gardener, saw the Epsom salt advice in a newspaper gardening column years ago and added Epsom salts to her peppers two years in a row. Both years the plants were stunted, unhealthy and unproductive. She has since gone back to using just a 5-10-10 granular fertilizer and compost, and all is well again.

One way to add magnesium in an amount that won't be harmful is to choose a balanced fertilizer like Espoma GardenTone, which includes magnesium and some other minerals in addition to NPK.
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