2010 Garden – Week One Update – Pepper Seeds Starting

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  • Kanthari
  • Sannam
  • Mundu
  • Gundu
  • CHOT
  • Dundicut

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!

I started my pepper seeds tonight!

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!

Update from my Hungarian pepper-pal!

I received a few photos of “my babies” from Zoltan yesterday so I thought I’d share them here. Good to see my pepper seeds germinated so well for them! Looks like they’re going to have a healthy crop of seedlings!

Speaking of seedlings… I’ll be starting my seeds THIS weekend! WOOOO!!!

So, what are you growing this year??

Here’s the list of peppers I’ll be growing this season. These are all seeds I’ve either saved or swapped for….

My seeds are just about ready to be started.  In the past, I’ve always started seeds on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14).  This year, I decided to hold off a couple of weeks though, because I’ve had troubles in the past with spindly seedlings that end up just flopping over on their side because I can’t get them enough light.

Here’s the list of peppers I’ll be growing this season.  These are all seeds I’ve either saved or swapped for….

From Hungary in and a seed swap with Zoltan Aladics:

  • Bogyiszloi
  • Bocskor
  • PCR

From a seed swap with “The Chile Woman” from Indiana:

  • Aji Chombo (from Panama)
  • Demre (from Turkmenistan)

Seeds I saved from last season’s pepper patch:

  • Red rocoto
  • Yellow rocoto
  • Bhut Jolokia
  • Naga Morich

I’ll detail each of these varieties a little more thoroughly in the weeks to come, but for now, that’s how things stand in the pepper patch.  I’m always on the lookout for interesting varieties in my local garden shops, and my friends at the Schedel Arboretum and Gardens usually drop a variety or two in my direction… so there may be additions to this list.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

So, what are YOU planning on growing in your pepper patch this season?!  Leave a comment!

Swapping seeds around the world!

One of the great things about having one of my videos go “viral” on YouTube is the fact that it’s put me in contact with literally hundreds of pepper lovers from all around the planet!  I’ve gotten emails from dozens of different countries, almost all 50 states, and from people I’ve never met who live only a mile away from me!

One of the exciting things that has come from this interaction this season is a seed swap between myself and a man named Zoltán Aladics from Hungary!  Zoltán contacted me after seeing one of my videos and we have become kind of virtual pen-pals!  We’ve swapped seeds and he’s already germinated those that I’ve sent him!

I sent Zoltán seeds from the bhut jolokia, naga morich, and red and yellow rocoto peppers that I grew last season, and in return he sent me peppers from his family’s growing operation… bogyiszloi, bocskor, and PCR varieties from Hungary!  I’m so excited to grow them, and even more-so because we’re going to be keeping each other updated as to how things are growing in our gardens.

I got an email from Zoltán yesterday with some photos of the seedlings… I’ll share them here and will continue to keep everyone up-to-date as the season progresses.