Hot Pepper Seedlings Outdoors

boilmeimirishApril 4, 2011

Hey everyone! I've been lurking and posting (very selectively) on this forum for a little over a year now. I live in Long Beach, CA, and am trying to grow nearly 40 varieties of hot peppers this summer.

Thanks to the generosity of a few members on this board, I have been able to get my hands on several hot pepper varieties.

Because I am a college student on a serious budget, I am not able to grow my plants the way many of you guys do, with nice heating mats, and full-spectrum bulbs on shelves indoors.

Instead, I found a cheap (10$) heating pad that I would have to re-click into the 'on' position every 45 minutes under my pepper plants, to help them along with the germination process.

I now have several 2-3 inch seedlings, but I can't keep them indoors because I have no lighting, so I have been placing them outside. Do you all think I'm being too ambitious placing them outside this early? I was honestly excited just to get 4 bhut seedlings going!

Here's a 10-Day forecast for my neighborhood--I plan on pulling them in when it rains.

Thanks for the help!


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Well. Whats the temperature out there in Cali when ya putting the plants outside? I would try to not expose em to much to temps under 50 degrees.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 6:30PM
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I would harden them a bit by leaving them outside for a few hours and gradually increasing that until they can stay out all of the time.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 8:18PM
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It also depends on the location of your garden. If it is near a wall or on a patio it often stays warmer than the weather forecast, especially the soil temperature, which is very important.

I planted a week and a half ago here in Northern-Central Cali (zone 9B) and put out frost cloth for the colder nights, the days are above 60 though, and we have had multiple days up to 80 over the last week. I think my peppers will have a nice head-start on those planting in a week or two.

Your climate should be warmer than mine down south, unless this week is funky.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 9:26PM
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LOL, I gotta laugh. You guys are talking zones 9 and 10 and 80's and 90's. I am stuck up here in zone 4 with highs lucky to hit the 50's and lows still hitting the 20's. I planted my seeds about 11 weeks ago and have put my plants out a couple of afternoons already when it was sunny and 50's. Should be that way again tomorrow up here but may be too windy at 10-20mph. Our average low up here doesn't rise above 50 until June. These babies are outta here before the end of May for sure, 50's or no 50's. I am growing most of them in containers so I could bring them in if necessary but I think these are going to wind up being a bit more hardy plants than the coddled ones down south....either that or they better grow mittens.
The general consensus however is that anything much below 50 for Peppers is pushing it.

I would put your plants out in the morning after it gets to 50 and bring them back in at night when the sun goes down. For now anyway. Soon you should be safe to put them in the ground for good.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 10:55PM
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kosherbaker(LA CA-10)

OK I'm in Los Angeles as well. Santa Monica area to be more precise which is about a 30 minute drive up the coast from you down in Long Beach. BTW smokemaster is up in Van Nuys about 20 minutes north of me. Anyway, here in LA the lows don't get below 50 even at night.
I never ever have used any heating pads for seed sprouting and have had no problems with seeds sprouting at all. I think the heating pad is for folks in colder climes. I'm quite certain we don't need one here in LA.
Try it and see how it goes for you.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 1:22AM
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I put mine in the GH a day or two after potting them up. As long as the temps stay above freezing, they do fine. It was 103 inside Sunday and even the newly potted ones did not wilt.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 9:39AM
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Also in Santa monica. If you are close to the water, it might be worth keeping them indoors overnight until may, when the overnight temps should get over 55. I've noticed that those cold pacific winds can be harsh for the smaller plants.

I like fiedlermeister's suggestion of putting them outside gradually.

Here's a climate data link i found online for longbeach

Goodluck -E

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 12:08PM
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Word of warning, don't let them sit out in full noon day sun as fresh sprouts. I did that here in Tennessee with my bhuts and several of them got sunscalded leaves from it. If you aren't familiar with sunscald on leaves, it basically bleaches the chlorophorm out of the leaves in splotches, turning them paint splotch white.

Let them have full sun in the mornings and evenings, but keep some sort of shade or screen over them during the midday heat. At least until they get a couple sets of true leaves on 'em.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 9:13AM
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jesse_2008(ZONE 10)

Hey neighbor, I live right next door in San Pedro I growing some serrano,yellow,and red bell pepper indoors and also wondering when to transfer them outside my space is limited so I'm doing container style.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 9:18AM
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I live about 20 miles from you in Fullerton. I have four Tam mild Jalapeno plants that survived outside all winter including a few days when it got down to 32 degrees. My TAM Jalapeno, Zavory Habanero, and Shishito pepper seedlings have been sitting ouside on my patio for a month now, and I am transplanting them into my garden today. Three of the tomato plants I planted in my garden about two weeks ago already have tomatoes on them. Long Beach stays warmer at night than Fullerton, but doesn't get as hot during the day due to the marine influence.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 3:00PM
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Thank you everyone for your help thus far!

An update: I've lost a few of the seedlings so the elements, but most are starting to look good--less leggy, with darker stem. The problem is, some of the pepper varieties aren't sprouting (yet?) while others are just starting to get their second leaves. ***How moist should I keep the Sphagnum they're in?***


    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 5:49PM
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