Soil To Use After Germination

alameda/zone 8March 1, 2014

I am not experienced with growing pepper seeds so would appreciate some advice. What kind of soil should I repot my peppers in after they have germinated and are ready to move up to a bigger pot? I read on another forum that Miracle Gro Orchid Soil was very good.
Also, how soon should I begin fertilizing, and with what?
Thanks for any advice!
Judith

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scott123456(5)

I am a new pepper grower my self, but I can tell you what worked for me last year and is working for me right now. I transplant from my seed starter tray to a small sized solo cup with a good sterile seed starting mix in it( I add perlite). After the plant has out grown its home, I transfer to a regular sized solo cup and use a regular well draining potting soil (whatever I am going to use outside). Then I finally harden the plants off and transplant them to their final destination outside. As far as fertilizer, I fertilize with a very week fertilizer after the plant gets its first set of true leaves (second set of actual leaves) and gradually increase the strength over a long period of time. I used miracle grow liquid house plant last year because it was easy to make a week dilution with the drops and it worked out fine, but I am using something different this year. If I had to give you tips that worked for me, I would say always water from the bottom ( poke holes in the bottom of one cup and put it in another) , make sure your soil can drain well ( add perlite), do not over water or over fertilize, and have a good light source as close as you can to the plant until it is at least in the big size solo cup then it can go in a sunny window. Your mileage may vary, good luck!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 2:55AM
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tomt226

I just use regular Miracle Grow potting soil, and Miracle Grow fertilizer powder at half strength until they get 6"high. Then repot to 6" pots and start the hardening off process like Scott said. Works for tomatoes too. After they're set out, I switch to MG Tomato food at full strength once a week, with bone-meal and a little Epsom salts to stop blossom-end rot.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:05AM
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jtight

Depends on what "soil mixture/type" you start with. I start a/ re-pot w/ same soil, Fafard Pro Mix. After that go to a 15-30-15 fertilizer.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 2:08PM
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barrie2m_

Agree with jtight if I understand his post correctly. Both ProMix and Fafard make good blends of growing media. I prefer ProMix BX with Microrise and Biofungicide and I don't know of anybody else offering something similar. The so-called starter mixes are too fine IMO for even starting seed and the "BX" suffix with Promix indicates that fertilizer is added so for the first 4 weeks I'd add no extra fertilizer. Some say that the Microrize and Biofungicide are not necessary but I've not had a hint of Damping-Off since using them over the last few years.

I wouldn't purchase an orchid mix if it costs more any more than I would use rose fertilizer on my peppers even though I have done just that in the past when it was given to me. Depending on your ultimate potting-up methods you might want to consider a slow release fertilizer in the final pot such as Osmocote. Always follow directions when using fertilizers and don't assume that combining sources will be better. I'd give the same advice for taking Tylenol.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 2:52PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

FYI the recommended major nutrient ratio for peppers is 3:1:2, so the Miracle Gro All-Purpose fertilizer 24-8-16 is right there. Cheap too.

There is a great deal of controversy (in a good way) about what soil to use after germinating. Some recommend a relatively "dirt-free" mix such a 5:1:1. Others use a commercial potting soil like Miracle Gro Moisture Control. I've had relatively good luck with both - each has something to recommend it. In E. TX you aren't likely to suffer from too much rain so I'd lean to MGMC or the like.

Dennis

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 12:10PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

At a minimum, you should use a soil you can water to beyond saturation (to the point where 15-20% of the total volume of water applied exits the drain hole - carrying accumulating salts out of the soil) without having to worry about root rot or impaired root function resultant from a significant fraction of the soil remaining soggy (airless) for too long. If your soil can't be watered properly, you'll be fighting it for the life of the planting, and it's unlikely you'll be able to fertilize efficiently.

Plants use about 6X as much N as P, so why would we use a fertilizer that supplies twice as much P as N when we know that an excess of any nutrient has the same potential to be limit as a deficiency?

FWIW - bone meal breaks down so slowly it's essentially of no value in containers (and usually not in the garden either, since Ca or P is rarely deficient in non-agricultural soils) and extra Mg isn't a remedy for BER.

Al

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 3:24PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I think there 3 issues in container growing "

--- Moisture Retention, and Drainage: You have to balance this to produce an optimum growth condition.

--- Providing nutrients (major and minor elements)

-- pH control: For the plants to be able to take up nutrients efficiently, there needs to be a pH range that is optimal. The ideal pH is slightly acidic (=6.6 - 6.8). But most plants can do fine with 5.8 to 7.2 (Tomato as an example)

Al's 5-1-1 formula is a good one if the grower has some experience and is willing to do some work. Stuff like MG, Promix might not be as efficient but they offer convenience. Plus they are pricey, as compared to 5-1-1. So really, there are options.
I have been intensively studying container growing over the winter months ; Because I am planning on planting a lot of peppers (and some tomatoes) in container. So after weighing all my options Al's 5-1-1 mix is my choice. Since I am in a cooler climate, and possibly with more rain, the BARK _ BASED mix (with some peat and perlite) should be superior to , eg, MG moisture control. The latter might be a good/better choice down south in Texas but not (IMO) in PNW.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:24AM
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