First time starting peppers from seed, am I on track?

howelbama(7 NJ)May 7, 2013


I grow peppers, both sweet and hot, every year from transplants. This is my first year trying any from seed. On a whim I decided to buy some scorpion seeds from seedrack. I decided to germinate 4 and all were successful, the first one came up in 12 days, on 4/24.

I know I'm getting off to a late start, but I'm am doing what I can with lights to try and accelerate their growth a bit. A couple of the seedlings are starting to push out their second set of true leaves, and I think there will be enough roots in a day or so to pot them up a bit, but they are still very tiny seedlings...

So, do you think I can get these guys to produce this season? I'm thinking I'll do these in containers so I can extend their season if needed by bringing them in. I also think I'm going to try to overwinter one or two, maybe do a pepper "bonsai" with one at the end of the summer.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

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I think personally youre off to a great start. Last year I planted hot hungarian wax from seed around 5/4 and they produced very good. Youre on the right track, keep it up!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:53PM
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Love your stick method of marking the dates! I personally don't like the jiffy pots for superhots as they retain too much moisture but your peppers look great. I planted my scorpions in January as they do grow slow. Hope it grows quickly for you or you can bring it in to finish in the fall.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:41AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Thanks, it's just a little toothpick with a flag made from a piece of white duct tape lol.. does the job pretty well.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 11:41AM
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junkmanme(z5 N. NM, USA)

Growing peppers from seed is exactly like growing tomatoes from seed. Ater 8-10 weeks, the seedlings will be ready to transplant outdoors...if the soil is warm enough overnight. (above 50 degrees, I'd say)
Be SURE to "harden-them-off" outside for a few hours each day...for about 3 or 4 days...before transplanting.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 3:57PM
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sjetski(6b NJ)

They look great so far.

Now i would get them out of those jiffy pellets asap, because in my experience they never get past their first set of leaves in them, they would just sit there on "pause" for me, then eventually turn yellow. There's very little nutrition in there for them too.

Seedlings are the toughest imho, they take potting up better than older plants. Little to no transplant shock, and they resume growth almost immediately.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:46AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

There's zero nutrition in the jiffy pellets... I have never had a problem with them (though this is my first attempt at peppers from seed), you just have to make sure not to water too often with them... I am going to pot them up soon, but I am waiting a day or so more to let some more roots develop. I have been watering them with water from my small fish tank(freshwater tank, non-chemically treated) to give them some nutrients, and so far so good. I will add some fertilizer to their regimen once i pot them up. The growth has not stalled as yet, I will post some updated photos soon.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:55AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Here is a link to a picture from today of the first seedling out of the four I am raising. This is the one pictured in the beginning of the thread.

They are getting potted up tomorrow.

I am linking to it so I don't bog this thread down with too many photos...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:27AM
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Jiffy pots are mostly peat moss,that's not good for peppers.I would transfer them soon to a better soil.good luck

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:42AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)


Did you read any of the thread, and or look at any of the updated photos I linked to? Obviously not... thanks for the super great feedback though...

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:00AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Potted up yesterday. They are in 5-1-1 mix.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:39PM
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sjetski(6b NJ)

They look perfect for their age. Just in time for late summer and early fall harvests. Dragging them into cover during cool autumn nights will extend them pretty well imho.

I had aji baccatum plants survive into mid-december back in 2011, and those were in the ground and not in a container (plastic tents for frost). One of them produced hundreds of pods.

I hope we have a mild fall this year as well.

Good luck with your grow !

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 1:07AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Just a quick update, still going strong. Clicking the photo should bring you out to more images.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:34PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Moving along nicely so far...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 2:59PM
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sjetski(6b NJ)

Thanks for the update. They're still looking excellent. Short stem, wide leaves with the leaf layers nice and close together, perfect color.

Not sure if you've done it yet, but they'll grow a lot faster outdoors, just be careful and harden them off the first week (1/2 hr, 1 hr, 2 hr, 4hr, 6 hr, watch closely and shade them if they droop). That soil looks like it drains well so you may have to water them every 24 hours if they are outdoors.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:10PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)


Thanks, I have been hardening them off a bit. They have spent an hour or so out on the deck in a shady and wind protected area a couple of times.

I'm going to try to finish hardening them off this week, and them put them out during the day and bring them in under some lights for a few extra hours a day until they are a bit bigger, to try to "catch" up season wise. Once they are around a half a foot high or so, I will put them outdoors full time.

I am growing them in the 5-1-1 mix and inside they have needed water just about every two days, maybe a bit longer. Outside, I am thinking every 24 as you said because the mix drains so well. I'm going to grow them in 5 gallon buckets along with my other superhot, hot, mild, and sweet pepper transplants. Can you tell I like peppers ? :)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:52PM
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sjetski(6b NJ)

Can i tell you like peppers? Haha, the addiction takes a new turn once you've begun with seeds. You may even start "themes" every year to figure out your favorite types. In 2011 i had a Chinense "theme" where i planted many different types to figure out my favorites. This year i've started a "baccatum" theme and you have to see some of the unusual varieties i've sprouted :).

Oh yea, i see you live in NJ, you might be lucky enough to live within convenient driving distance of Cross Country Nurseries.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cross Country Nurseries

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 8:18PM
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If you have to water every other day inside, you may find you need a little more moisture retention when you move them outdoors. But, the larger volume will also take longer to dry out, so, I wouldn't go crazy with adjustments. I would consider adding more perlite, just based on looks, it doesn't look like there's much in there. Also, maybe a 1/4-1/2 part peat moss additional. I'm just thinking that come July/August once a day watering may not be enough.

Anyway, that's just my initial reaction. Others more experienced with the 5-1-1 may have a better sense of such things. :-)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 8:19PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)


CCN is not super convenient driving distance, but completely worth the trip. That's where I purchased my Bhuts, Habs, and Jalapeños.

I just learned of them, and will probably use them for more of my transplants next year.

The 5-1-1 they are in now is a bit different from the 5-1-1 they will be going in. The on they are in now is made with Agway branded "pine bark mulch" which is more consistently larger size "fine" than the material I'm using now. It turns out that Agway item is a special order at my local Agway and they just had a partial pallet left, which I got a couple of bags from.

The new mix I am making with a product called Kambark Pine Soil Conditioner, from a NC based company called Kamlar. It is well composted fines and is very moisture retentive. I actually cut the peat back and increased the perlite a bit with it. It is definitely more water retentive, but still you are right in the heat of the summer if may require twice daily watering.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 8:37PM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

Very nice healthy plants. Good luck


    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 2:54PM
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