Well, I’ve had just about 100% germination to this point. Can’t ask for any better than that! I’m really excited for the 2010 garden!
I’ve decided to take some birthday money and buy a little tiller this year. I’ve always prepped and cultivated the garden by hand in the past… and I still will this season, but I plan on doubling the size of the patch this year, and that initial work of getting the soil ready will be a lot easier with a little power assistance!
I got my grow light set up tonight and not a day too soon either. The emerging seedlings are showing their cotyledons (first false leaves) and they’re already leaning towards the window and getting spindly. Giving them the right amount and right spectrum of light will keep them stronger, healthier and “stockier.” This will lead to stronger plants when it’s time to put them out in the “real world” and should also shorten the time to the first fruit production as they’ll be better equipped to handle the transition from indoors to outdoors.
Wow… I get hundreds of comments and emails from my YouTube videos. Some of them are great, others, not so much. I thought I’d single out a few lines from one recent email who was trying to teach me a few things and try to address the common misconceptions that are quite wrong. (the anonymous email will be in italics with my responses to follow)
…a few facts:
1- the heat comes from the seeds, not the skin of the pepper.
This is just NOT true. There is definitely heat “on” the seeds, but it’s not where the heat “comes from.” The heat you taste when you eat a pepper is actually your body’s reaction to the compound capsaicin. Capsaicin is produced in the connective tissue between the seeds and the wall of the pepper, sometimes called the ribs or the placental tissue. If you’ve ever sliced open a hot pepper, you can actually SEE it… it shows up as a golden liquid on those white, fleshy ribs. This capsaicin is found in other parts of the pepper pod too, but it’s only produced in that connective tissue. Seeds have a high concentration of capsaicin because they’re directly connected to that tissue, but it’s NOT where the heat comes from.
Well, since the seeds went in the “ground” one week ago, there has been some change. Last night I noticed the emergence of the radicle on several of the seeds!! WOO HOO!!! We have germination! The radicle is the first root that emerges from the seed, “digs” down into the soil and takes hold as well as starts pumping nutrients up into the rest of the plant as it develops.
A couple of people have asked me why I don’t cover or bury my seeds when I start them. I’ve got a two part answer:
First, when you’re starting seeds indoors, there are no critters who can come scavenge your seeds away. No birds, no squirrels, mice, etc. They’re safe! And, when wild pepper plants self-sow, they don’t have the ability to cover their seeds, so I almost think it’s a more natural method.
Second, I love watching the stages of germination!! You can watch the seeds plump up as they take in moisture, then, as yesterday, you can watch everything happen directly with the emergence of the radicle, then the cotyledons next and you’d miss all that if it was happening underground!
Another exciting update is that I got more seeds!!! My friend, Hemant, sent me a bunch of Indian peppers! I sent him a couple of big bags of bhut jolokias last season, it was a great swap if you ask me! I sowed these new seeds and we’ll have them to watch as well moving forward! Here’s a list of what he sent me:
I don’t know much about these varieties, but I’ll be digging in and doing some research on them soon, I’ll let you know what I find out. If any of you have any info on them, post a comment and share!
Well, I normally start them on Valentine’s Day. Not sure why I waited a couple more weeks this year, but I did. I’m excited though! I started seeds from 9 different varieties of peppers this evening, while I wait on two more varieties to show up in the mail this week.
I started two-per-cell from seeds that I saved myself and had an abundance of, while I only put one seed per cell of those that I traded for. The left-over seeds will be delivered to the Schedel Arboretum and Gardens tomorrow for them to start in their greenhouses and grow out in their gardens!
The varieties I started tonight are:
Naga Morich – (saved from my garden)
Bhut Jolokia – (saved from my garden)
Red Rocoto – (saved from my garden)
Yellow Rocoto – (saved from my garden)
Demre – traded with The Chile Woman
Chombo – variety from Panama – traded with The Chile Woman
Bocskor – from Hungary – traded with Zoltan Aladics
Bogyiszloi – from Hungary – Traded with Zoltan Aladics
PCR – from Hungary – Traded with Zoltan Aladics
I used the Burpee Ultimate Growing System again this year because it was really successful last year. The growing medium is made from ground coconut shells and seems to be just what the plants need.
I also placed an order for the Burpee Table Top Grow Light. Last year, the only issue I had with starting my own seeds was that they got long and spindly due to lack of light. Even starting them in a south-facing window doesn’t get the seedlings the double-digit hours of light they need to develop a strong and sturdy photosynthetic system that will support them when it’s time to set them out into the “real world.” This should remedy that problem. The light system is adjustable so that it can be raised or lowered as the seedlings grow… and I can put it on a timer so that natural sunlight take care of much of the seedlings’ needs.
Oh, and a word of caution… even when just handling a dozen bhut jolokia seeds, exercise EXTREME caution!! I made the mistake of rubbing my eye 3 hours after-the-fact tonight and experienced what was just about the worst pain I’ve felt in my life. Wear latex gloves… wash your hands well… and remember what you’re dealing with!