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General information and discussion about cultivating peppers.

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Old May 26, 2020   #16
b54red's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alabama
Posts: 6,878

I have never had much trouble starting most pepper seeds but sometimes had problems with damping off or mold with some seed starters. Since I have been using DE as a seed starting medium and watering from the bottom up the only issue I ever have is when I try to start them when the temperatures are far too low. Of course with DE as a medium as soon as they start popping up they will need a bit of dilute fertilizer and I just use a little Miracle Grow about 1/4 strength and increase the dose when they get larger. I transfer them into a potting soil mix in individual cups when they get 5 to 6 inches tall.

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Old May 28, 2020   #17
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Corinth, texas
Posts: 1,755

I use heat mats on the pepper seeds. With the exception of the heat mats, my pepper seeds are germinated right beside my tomato plants with all other conditions being identical. My pepper seeds may get a little more water than my tomato seeds. The heat mats cause the pepper seed cells to lose moisture faster through evaporation.

I've found over the years that different pepper varieties germinate at different rates. Some germinate fast and some slow. I always heard that Carolina Reaper is hard to germinate. They germinated quickly for me this year and I got seven plants from seven seeds.

I don't pay much attention to how sterile my germination trays are. I use the same trays year after without washing them. I'm planning on washing them this summer as I pull some old identification stickers off them. I use potting soil but nothing special so long as it doesn't get hard when dry. I usually start the year by purchasing ten, one gallon jugs of distilled water to prevent minerals from building up in the soil as the moisture evaporates. I usually need to buy a couple more jugs of water before plant out. I start watering my seed by adding 1/8th teaspoon of miracle grow fertilizer to the first three gallons of water used. My plants get no more nutrition before plant out. I germinate and grow on a table I built under T8 fluorescent lights starting with the trays about six inches below the lights. My lights are on a timer with sixteen hours on and eight hours off each day. I lower the deck as the plants grow until the deck is about twenty four inches below the lights. When the plants have grown to almost touching the lights, it is usually warm enough outside to put them in the garden. I stopped up potting a few years ago. They do seem to grow faster when up potted, but I don.t need my plants to grow faster.

Last edited by DonDuck; May 28, 2020 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #18
Black Krim
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: New England
Posts: 661

Looks like everyone has reasonably good sucess with germination and grow out.
The last tray seeded only germinated the sweet peppers, no hots. ( A friend gave me 4 hot peppers to transplant.)

Will buy fresh seed for next year, and try again.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #19
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Hendersonville, NC zone 7
Posts: 10,311

Pepper and eggplant seeds have much shorter life spans than tomatoes (so it seems). I save a lot of pepper seed and when fresh, it can be close to 100%, but that drops off after a few years. I've purchased seed from some companies and have great results when fresh - other companies not at all (Reimer's peppers do not typically germinate well for me). Sweet Bells seem to germinate the best, the super hots not only take longer, but are very small seedlings until it gets warm.

I don't do anything different from all of my other seed starting - inexpensive heat mat, sterile soil less mix (Sun Grow Metro Mix 360 has been my go-to for decades) - seed onto dampened mix, barely cover, mist - then cover loosely with Saran Wrap. Where tomatoes will take 3-4 days, eggplants and peppers are in the 6-8 day range, often longer. Peppers can also tend to helmet head.
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