How are my Pepper Plants doing?

thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))March 15, 2013

Hi All, I am a first time seed starter and want to get some kind of health status on my Rainbow mix Bell pepper plants by Burpee. I know they are not Hot Peppers, but I did not know where else to post this so please transfer if it needs to be in a different section.

This photo was taken March 15th and the pepper seedlings were put under hydrofarm grow light aproximately March 10th. The seeds took about 7-10 days to sprout. Each Pellet had 3 seeds put in to them.

I also need advice on propper watering the pellets they seem to dry up every day and every day i put about 3-4 tablesppons of water.

So I guess the main question is how are they doing?

Many thanks in advance for anyones advice and tips about watering.

Mr. Beno

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ab2008(6)

I haven't ever used the jiffy pellets, however from the 4 plants up in front I have to ask how far/close are you keeping your lights from the plants? The ones in front look a little leggy is why I ask.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:27PM
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thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))

Hi Ab2

The light currently for the past 2 days is aproximatly 5 inches from the actual pellets. And the average height is about 3 inches from the seedlings. I think when they were intialy placed under the light, it must of been about a 8-10 inches. (I was away on a biz trip when they were placed under the light on Sunday.) But I do recall the right leggy seedling being the tallest in the jiffy peat pellet dome with the cover on before I left on Friday March 8th.

Many thanks for your help

(I attached some close ups as well)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Bill_Missy(8b)

I would start thinking about seperating the seedlings soon. It will be alot easier to seperate now then when they get bigger because of the root ball. Also, I agree as they do look leggy, I would get the light 1-2 inches from the top of the seedling. Other than that they look very good.

Bill

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:50PM
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thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))

Thanks Bill,

I just lowered the light to aprox 1-2 inches, the leggy one on the right is about 1/2-1 inch, is it bad if it touches the light?

Also when say seperate, what soil mix would work best before the outdoor transplant or could I use another unused peat pellet?

Many Thanks

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:29PM
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ab2008(6)

You don't want the light "touching" the light literally. If one is closer than the others' it's okay. You just want them all for the most part to be 1-2" away.

Soil mix is up in the air, some people swear by some things, some don't care. I myself have just used regular miracle gro potting soil and sometimes some composted cow manure mixed in, but I have plants doing just fine in straight potting soil. I don't do any container gardening so I've never ventured off to trying anything like the 5-1-1 mix that's discussed.

I wouldn't get any potting soil that has moisture control in it though as that stuff will never dry out.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 3:03PM
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Bill_Missy(8b)

I would not, as ab2008, stated let the plant touch the light. I have some that are alot taller than others. What I do is put all the tall ones on one side and adjust the light so that it is "tilted" lower on one side for the shorter plants and elevated on the other side for the taller ones.

As far as transplanted seedlings, all I do is gently seperate them, re-use the same soil for one and get new soil (same type) for the other seedling. Has worked for me well. I dont know why you could not use another pellet, but I have never used them so I can not honestly comment on that.

Bill

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 3:15PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

The only issue with touching the light is heat. Fluorescent tubes are pretty cool, so it's not a prob.

I tried a flat of the Jiffy pellets this year and never again. Of the 20 seeds in 12 cells, only 8 actually germinated and tried to peek above the soil line. Of those three survive. I have MUCH higher rates with the baggy and starter cell method.

I also can't tell how to water them. It seems the peat pellets are different colors, so it's tough to tell by soil color. I erred on the side of wet, which is probably not the best idea. But when I tended to dry, they fell over.

My recommendation: cut off the bags, *gently* break open the balls - trying to keep the (tiny) root ball as intact as possible - and move the peppers into much looser media. Or keep the pellet largely intact and move into media.

They're really too young for a semi-hydro mix like 5:1:1, but I'd take that before leaving them in pure peat for much longer.

Good luck.

Edit: Update below.

This post was edited by DMForcier on Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 16:27

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 5:26PM
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thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))

Many thanks again to all of you for this insightful help.

I lowered the light and tilted it to the right side (the photo shown does not show when I tilted it.) But it shows how close they are now.

I love photography and videography so from time to time I will take photos and show you the status on this thread of how they are doing from everyone's help.

I plan on seperating the seedlings within 5 days.

- Mr. Beno

The photo below shows the height it is at now

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 5:42PM
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woohooman

Closer even if you can.

Kevin

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 1:50AM
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esox07

Yep, those seedlings are "reaching" and you should try to get the lights down to about an inch above them. If you have plants at several heights, you can line them up tallest to smallest and then hang the light at an angle above them so it is roughly the same distance from the tops of all the plants.

I also prefer the 6500K "Daylight" spectrum bulbs. They seem to use the most beneficial light spectrum for plants. And how long are you running the lights. I use a 16 on 8 off schedule. I would go no less than 12 on and no more than 20 on.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:12AM
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thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))

Hi Eso and thanks for your response,

For the past few days when I ot hoem from my trip I keep the lights on for aprox 16-18 hours. I do not have a timer and probably will not get one due to the other products I need but I am trying to turn them on around 6-7am and off around 10-11pm.

I also think a big factor of them beign leggy was that I did not originaly put them under the lights and they were at least 5-8 inches away.

I wish I knew about that light but already invested in the hydrofarm 2ft jumpstart system.

(is a photo below of how they looked at noon time today.) I also did not water them and noticed one of the plants startin to grow true leaves? At least I think.

Many thanks for your advice.

Mr Beno

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 2:50PM
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esox07

Ah, they will be fine. Just get the light to them and they will start spreading out and quit reaching as soon as you do. If you let them go too long with out enough light, they will just continue to grow tall and skinny inviting all kinds of problems, most notably tall, thin, weak stems. But now that they are getting more intense and close light, they will be just fine.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 3:24PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I think they look thirsty. I used those little, netted peat pellets once and really didn't like them. If you don't remove the netting when you plant them out, the roots can remain stuck inside the net. They need to be kept moist or the outer layer of peat can harden and stunt the roots.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 6:27PM
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esox07

Ohiofem: Great point. I would be transplanting those things about now. They are only designed for germination. Once you remove the humidity dome, they will dry out real quick and being mostly peat, will harden as Ohiofem states. I would also cut the netting off all together or at least slice it down all 4 sides before transplanting to prevent the netting from binding up the root system.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:32PM
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thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))

Thanks for the advice, I plan on transplanting them on Wednesday, any soil recomendation for the transplant? I also plan on putting them in beer cups, unless there is another budget suggestion?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 1:07PM
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thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))

Thanks for the advice, I plan on transplanting them on Wednesday, any soil recomendation for the transplant? I also plan on putting them in beer cups, unless there is another budget suggestion?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:41PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Go to your local Lowes. They have (or at least mine has) a pot recycling program where they save pots and trays for recycling. This is the perfect time of year as landscapers are buying whole flats of pansies etc and bringing back the pots. If you get the square pots they will fit in a tray and make your incipient garden easy to handle.

My local Home Depot and Pike's Nursery has similar programs so if Lowes doesn't have ti ask around.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:15PM
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esox07

Thebutcher: I picked up some 4.5" pots at a Dollar Tree store a couple days ago @ 6 for $1. Pretty good deal and will be enough room for them for a good 5 or 6 weeks. Actually, your little seedlings would probably have closer to 8 weeks in a 4.5" pot. But if you are in zone 6, you may not need that much time before it is time to put them outside for good.
I am still trying to figure out if I will have to repot one more time before they go in their summer containers but I am in zone 4a so I picked up the 4.5" pots just in case. So far, this spring is way behind last year. A year ago yesterday, it was 80 degrees. Today, and the next several days we won't even get above freezing.
Bruce

This post was edited by esox07 on Sun, Mar 17, 13 at 15:46

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:42PM
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thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))

Thanks again, I checked the peppers today and seem to be doing nice. Today I went to my local garden company and bought 4 quarts of Espoma Organic Potting mix. (It was all I could afford till my next paycheck. It was the last bag left and the expiration date is 20120112. Oh well could it harm my plants? IT was only $5.

(edit: on the date, after further reading, the 2012 01 12 was production date. My Bad and they said within 2 years it would be ok, I initialy thought it was expiration date.)_

It will only be in the cups till transplant the other option was buying potting soil from the dollar store or just leaving them in the pellets. Trial & Error I guess :)

Thanks again all and I am taking everyone's advice in my first year of seed starting.

Mr Beno

This post was edited by thebutcher on Mon, Mar 18, 13 at 17:12

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:24PM
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gardendrivenlife(6)

Beer cups are ok, just make sure they have drainage holes punched in them.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 5:17PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

To be fair to Jiffy Pellets, given what I said above, one of the few surviving BJs I cut the bag off and moved the entire pellet into a pot of 5:1:1 mix. Where it is doing very well! Caught up and passed most of the much older plants.

Maybe I should try the baggie method to germ (which the pellets seem to suck at), then move into pellets to sprout ... hmmm...

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:26PM
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thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))

Thanks again for everyone's advice.

Today the rainbow bell mix from Burppe is aprox 3 weeks from original seeding. I now may have another concern, some of the leaves appear a dark shade of green on the outer part and others bright green. (These are also not the true leaves but do see them sprouting up) I know I was told to put them in containers and seperate them. I will do it ASAP.

I also bought Espoma organic potting mix and have the red cups with holes. Is it ok to use Espoma Potting mix now? I leae for another 2 days so I will have time to get them in today.

Thanks again all. Also I only really care about have 5 healthy seedlings, so snipping the badones won't be an issue and there i always the option of starting more.

Mr Beno

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 3:34PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I don't see any problems with the color. Mine look like there was a paint party.

I wouldn't try to separate them at this point. Just realize that you will have to make a choice now or later. I also wouldn't take the trouble to bust up the pellets - just cut the sock off.

I'm not familiar with the potting mix you have. But it's hard to make an error with selection of the mix at this point. Just be sure not to over water. You can also plant the pellets a little deeper than the surface so that they are covered. The stems won't mind at all.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 5:11PM
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thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))

Thanks again everyone for the advice and comments.

Here is an update on my Bell Pepper plants as of Mar 27, I seeded them around March 1st. I transfered about 8 of them into redcups (Only 6 shown), (I cut them so I could fit more cups with my grow light and thinking I will just put a double full red cup underneath them when I harden them off before planting and can ad more soil if necessary?)

Anyway only 6 are shown here but they seem to be getting along good let me know what you think and any suggestions. The lights are about 2 inches from them. The soild mix was "Espoma Oranic potting mix"

I still have 5+ of them sitting in a tray to the left of them, I would hate the throw them away but will be forced to due to the lack of room for lighting, plus my garden. But I will make room for 3-4 Hot Pepper seedlings that I am ordering tomorrow.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 6:13PM
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