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General information and discussion about cultivating peppers.

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Old December 14, 2018   #1
b54red's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alabama
Posts: 6,897
Default early start on bells

I started my first bell and hot pepper seed today. I know it seems really early but they grow so slow during the winter that I like to start early. I have a large porch that is now wrapped in plastic that can be used if they get too large for the greenhouse. I started my first batch of pepper seed last year on December the 5th and it worked out perfect for planting them out in mid March. It all depends on how long it takes for the warmer nights to get here. Last year I also started my first tomato seed this early but I am going to wait another couple of weeks this year even though they worked out last year. I have to allow for an extra few weeks due to grafting but I would rather be a bit late with tomatoes than too early. I know a lot of people say to get them in as early as possible and that is usually a good rule but since I stagger my plantings from March through July I am not trying to get the most tomatoes the earliest but rather a steady supply all season.

I will probably start another batch of bell peppers in February or March so they can be set out in late April of early May. They reach plant out size much earlier once the warm spring temperatures get here. I did two plantings of bell peppers last year and when the first batch of plants was starting to produce too many small ones the second batch took off so I didn't have that long spell with only a few good peppers in mid summer which usually happens with one planting. Since it worked out last year I thought I would try it again this year.

This has been a terrible fall for all my crops due to so many heavy rains and two killer frosts that surprised me with their intensity. I even had Brussels sprouts damaged by frost with temps that didn't get below 28. Usually they do fine down to the low 20s. They are recovering but some of my cauliflower and one whole bed of mustard greens did not recover. Since we didn't have any forecast for temps to get below the upper 20s I didn't have my hoops ready for those unusually damaging frosts. Sure wish I had some greens. It will be weeks before the new ones will be ready.

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Old December 14, 2018   #2
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: North Florida
Posts: 921

For sure this has been a pretty rough growing season.
We've had a couple of nights in the mid-30's already which is unusual for north FL.
So far so good on my mustard greens except for the magnificent crop of snails boring holes through the lowest set of leaves.
I have too many other large garden projects going right now to throw a greenhouse into the mix but I envy those who have them. I'll begin starting tomatoes and peppers under lights in January and crossing fingers I can put them outside around March 1st.
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