Starting from seed is not easy!

TheMasterGardener1(5B)February 19, 2013

Just take a container filled with potting mix, put some seeds in, and let it sit on the window sill is all I thought I needed to do to start healthy plants for the season. Boy, was I wrong!! I see why you pepper growers use seed mats, heaters, indoor lighting!! My jalapeno seeds took 19 days to sprout and only a few like 7 are up, and planted like 20 or more in the one container just to try to start them. I know they are good seeds because they are from burpee and they are jalapeno which I am sure is the most grown pepper ever. I have a south window but not much sun in these winter months here so these seeds are doing not so good. So by the time may-june comes, if my plants are not the same size as the ones I can get a 4 pack of from homedepot then I will just plant mine in the ground and buy some starts to through in containers so I really get the same heavy production I did last year.

These seeds I have leave me with a new test this season. When june comes and the soil is really warm I am going to sow jalapeno seeds right in tilled rows planting them one foot or less spaced due to the fact they will not get big anyway. I want to see if I can get a late summer/fall crop of jalapenos. Think it can be done in 5B?

I would like to hear your thoughts. I will doing it this season so we will see!

;)

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ab2008(6)

In the winter months, window sills can get pretty chilly! The seeds before they come up, don't need any sunlight. Just sit your container somewhere warm. 80-85 degrees is ideal, but you can get by with 70-80.

You only need to worry about the light once they've popped up out of the soil! I'd move the little guys that have came up into their own containers, and the rest I'd move to somewhere warm.

Also, if you have a counter you aren't using or anything, you can hang a fluorescent light over the little guys and they be perfectly fine right now once they start coming up.

This post was edited by ab2008 on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 12:06

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 12:05PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Plopping a greenhouse-grown plant in a pot is easy...but starting from seed can, indeed, be a challenge. A Jalapeno seed, however, should germinate in 4 - 7 days or so. They're one of the absolute easiest. If Jal's ain't coming up, you know you've got problems.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 12:33PM
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esox07

I never had a lot of trouble getting seeds to germinate even without a heat mat. It just took a couple days longer at room temps. It is the next month or so after germination that seem to be the most critical. I also found that a South (SW) facing window isn't as good as grow lights. I started a few plants early this year and was growing them in the big picture window. I would move them to the window sill in the morning and put them back on the dining room table in the evening. On sunny days, they got several hours of direct sunlight and indirect light other times through the day. They got quite leggy. I didn't use my grow lights as I didn't want to mess with all the gear for just a few plants. Well, I started my main planting a few days ago and put up the lights. I have had the earlier plants under the lights since and they quit growing up and are now putting out more true leaves. I was kind of surprised at this as I thought the real sun would be better even if it wasn't as long as the lights. So, I learned something already this year.
Bruce

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:08PM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

Thanks everyone for adding.

ab2008-

That could have been it- temp. I did not have them very warm the whole time just room temp.

Greenman-

I know it is odd. My orange habs came up at the same time my jalapenos did. I would have thought the jalapenos would be quiker. Your right though, those green house grown seedlings you can buy are strong and ready to go!

esox07-

Yea. I will just hope the sun in the spring helps them along a little. Yea those indoor lights sure help. The length they are on gives more growth than the few hours of sun a day. I hope I can get away with just using the window so far. Otherwise I can get started jalapenos again.

I was really not wanting to get any starts this year, but I really see they can be well worth it if you dont have much room or patience to start from seed.

This post was edited by TheMasterGardener1 on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 14:00

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:53PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I just disassembled the bench light in my shop to get another shelf illuminated for the newly potted children. [No I don't let them smoke; read it again.]

Shirley you can reconfigure your house to make them happier!

Just do it and tell the wife later.

Dennis

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 4:13PM
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tsheets(5)

Yeah, window light isn't what it used to be! In newer windows most of the UV gets filtered out.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 9:45PM
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kuvaszlvr

I wouldn't bother sowing in the summer for a fall crop, (unless it is only for an experiment. But, I can tell you, 2 yrs ago when it was in the 100+ range- it was July, I decided to start some seeds mostly so I could maybe gather some seeds in the winter. They sprouted faster than I've ever had seeds sprout before. Only problem was, it was so hot, the plants didn't seem to thrive like they do in the spring).

Once they are in the garden (the ones you have already started) they should take off, plus, the plants you plant in the spring will continue to produce well into the fall - depending on the temps, you don't need new plants for fall.

I'm having a hell of a year this year. Superhots have germinated great, habs so so, but the seedlings look sickly, but some the germination has been horrible, anaheims ~1%, pepperoncinis 0, georgia flames ~1%, 1 Thai dragon, Chocolate cherry 0, golden cayenne 0, purple cayenne 0... the list goes one. ;-( I have no idea what's going on.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:00AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

I wouldn't bother with the sowing in ground in June. Given the amount of time it takes a plant to reach a reasonable size and bear just a couple fruit, I think you'll be out of time.

Also, I wouldn't expect your plants from seed to look like the ones from Home Depot. Those have been fertilized like nobody's business, which doesn't neccessarily lead to a healthier plant. My transplants tend to be smaller but take off faster, I think because they experience less transplant shock. Anyway, don't give up. There's time yet to try again to get those seeds into seedlings now that you know they need to be warm to start growing.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:39AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Until this year all my plants started as pots from Bonnie Plants at Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Wart etc etc. Very robust healthy plants - no sign of drop-off or imbalance as one would expect from forced growing (over-fert). IMO they do it right.

Not sure that Bonnie Plants is available in Eskimo-land, though.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 2:31PM
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esox07

Yes, they (Bonnies Plants) are up here in Wisconsin at least. I have grown several over the last couple years and all have turned out good. But, the selection is very limited. Cayenne, Jalapeno, Bells is about it. Maybe a Habanero or two. I just purchased one or two a year to augment what I already have growing.
Bruce

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 3:50PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

The "World's Hottest Habanero" is actually a fatalii. I've seen a half dozen others, though maybe those are regional.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:59PM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

I am glad I can at least get the jalapenos in 4 packs for under 2 bucks.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:09PM
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tony469(modesto zone 9)

I wet a paper towel place seeds on it..roll it up...place in a zip lock bag..toss on a heat mat for seven days and remove sprouted seeds and plant in solo cups......I used to have a hard time..but yeah it's that easy

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 5:20PM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

I had covered some orange hab seeds in a zip-lock bag so I dont have to keep watering them over and over, and sure enough now mold is growing... I do not have the patience to start seeds indoor at all.

If I leave seeds/seedlings in the window they get cold, or I could move them from the window back to the shelf in the warm house 180 more times until they go outside.....

Now I see why I never started from seed. I grow for pepper supply, not really so much for the hobby...

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:44PM
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ab2008(6)

TheMasterGardener1,

Here is a quote from http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/seed/2003044315027348.html

"Check baggies every few days, and remoisten as needed. Even if one doesn't appear to need remoistening, don't let them go over a week without opening them up for some fresh air. "

They take a little care to get going, and you do need to check up on them instead of just tossing them in a bag and coming back in 7-10 days to check.

It's really not difficult at all - put seed starting mix or whatever you prefer in anything even some people use yogurt cups. Moisten (not soak) the soil, put the seed in, cover lightly, and just keep it 70-85 degrees and eventually you'll see things sprout.

Another thing may be a batch of bad seeds. Have you seen any sprout at all? If you need any orange habanero seeds I still have quite a few if you'd like.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:54PM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

Hey, thanks!

I have had some jalapeno and habs start. Its just now I see why I never grew from seeds. ;)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:36PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Don't give up when you see mold. I'm starting to believe that some seeds need it in order to pop. Twice now I've wait quite a while, past the initial mold and into the time that I thought the things were starting to rot, and the day I open up the bag to throw them out they have little tails. Came up, too.

The batch of anaheims I put down molded within days, then today there were four fuzzy little seeds with tails. (One assumes that they are tails; the alternative doesn't bear much thinking.)

Now I just treat with H2O2 and keep waiting.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:33PM
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claydirt(5)

Last year the peppers were so frustrating and slow with poor germination. I do recall seeing green mold on the soil surface last year. We usually keep the house about 68 to 70F.

Yesterday I just started my seeds (5 different type of sweet peppers, 5 different types of mild heat peppers). I am trying the "coffee filter in a baggie" method for the first time. Only everything is placed inside a "six pack sized drink cooler" with a 4 watt (?) night light for a heat source. This seems to keep them just a little bit warm. Now it's wait and see time. If this works, maybe next year I'll spring for a real heat mat.

I really want to thank all you pepper guru's for the great posts. Every little bit of info helps. Maybe one of these years I'll get it right.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:59PM
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claydirt(5)

Wow! That was fast! Probably 2/3 of the seeds I put in baggies with the "night light heater" have germinated. The rest are maybe 1 day or so away. It's been just 4 days. Sweet peppers seemed to be a little quicker than the mild heat ones. I never had any peppers jump to life that fast. They are all in starting soil now.

I just hope they don't have a "dampening off" problem now... But at this rate, I'll still have time for "do overs" if there is a crop failure.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 2:52PM
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fusion_power

I'm having trouble with this. Guy with the moniker "TheMasterGardener1" can't start seed?

I consider myself to be reasonably proficient at starting seed. Even so, I still manage to get some really bad results from time to time. Two trays of pepper seedlings this year gave maybe 20% germination. The very very obvious problem was phytothora.

DarJones

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 10:20PM
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