Vegetables and Fruit forum: Hot peppers from seed

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Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
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ckatNM
Apr 28, 2014 11:59 AM CST
Does anyone use any other methods to grow pepper plants from seeds?

I've been trying to get my Anaheim and Serrano seeds to grow and failing miserably. I've been using the cells with seed starting mix. Works well with most other seeds, but I'm rather frustrated with no results from the peppers. I caved and bought a couple pepper plants, because having some is better than none because I have quite a large space in my garden sitting empty and waiting to be filled with pepper plants. I would love to have more pepper plants but really can't afford to purchase any more plants, especially with so many seeds left in the packets. Growing from seed is supposed to help save money. The plants usually make up for cost at harvest time (yummy) but I like to make better use of my pennies invested in the seeds.

I've grown from seed in the past, so I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. I've heard of a paper towel method for growing some seeds, would this work with pepper seeds? I'm willing to learn something new if it won't cost me too much in supplies.
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Apr 28, 2014 12:09 PM CST
I've noticed that pepper seeds don't seem to keep well. Are these fresh seeds?
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Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Apr 28, 2014 12:17 PM CST
Woofie, that was my 1st question as well! I've learned that once my seed packets are open, the best way to store them is in an airtight container, put into the crisper of my refrigerator. I've had pretty good luck with this method.

You could try the damp paper towels to check your germination rate, but I've never tried to start my seeds that way.
*Blush* Maybe someone with more knowledge here will chime in!
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Apr 28, 2014 12:22 PM CST

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The other thing about peppers is that they really want warm soil to germinate. 70 to 75 degrees is just on the edge of acceptable heat so we always use a heat map to bring the temps up a bit more. Without the heat mat they just seem to sit and take forever to germinate. With the heatmat they germinate almost as fast as tomatoes!
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
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ckatNM
Apr 28, 2014 12:26 PM CST
Yes. They are supposed to be fresh. I checked the expiration dates before buying in March. They are good until Dec 2014, I believe. I've been using up many of my cells, planting more seeds every week. But I tried a different container with plastic lid that my purchased salad greens come in. I had a theory that maybe those greenhouse kits aren't so great for some things. Tried milk jugs. Ran out of those to cut up. Still need some intact to hold the frost/wind cloth in place because when filled with water, they have smooth edges and don't shred the cloth.

I save almost everything that can hold water. I've even grown some stuff in cardboard boxes in the past when I got ahold of sturdy ones. Only need them for a season and then they chop up easily for the compost pile. Have a long 4' box I received my potato growing tubs and fencing from amazon I'm tempted to use for something. Deep enough for more carrots or beets, I think. I can't make myself throw a strong box in the garbage or recycle bin without putting it to use first.
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Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
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ckatNM
Apr 28, 2014 12:31 PM CST
dave said:The other thing about peppers is that they really want warm soil to germinate. 70 to 75 degrees is just on the edge of acceptable heat so we always use a heat map to bring the temps up a bit more. Without the heat mat they just seem to sit and take forever to germinate. With the heatmat they germinate almost as fast as tomatoes!


I know the growing medium is very warm. I even put them outside during the day to get more direct sun and they stay very warm all night. It's still steamy and warm when I check in the morning. I can feel the warmth when I put my fingers in under the dome.

I'll try putting them on some heat when I bring them in for the evenings. I'm so desperate to try anything.
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Apr 28, 2014 12:52 PM CST
There is always the chance that you got seeds that weren't stored properly. I've had that happen a time or two. It's rare, but it does happen.
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Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
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ckatNM
Apr 28, 2014 1:06 PM CST
woofie said:There is always the chance that you got seeds that weren't stored properly. I've had that happen a time or two. It's rare, but it does happen.


I think I got these from Walmart or Home Depot, so it wouldn't surprise me if that were the case. I miss having a local supplier of seeds I could count on. I used to be able to walk to my favorite nursery and spend hours there. Then I always had to call my husband to come pick me up because I bought too much. "How were you planning to get home with two big bags of potting mix and two dozen plants?" he would demand. "I only planned to buy a couple specific things." He never believed me when it was the big annual Mother's Day sale. Sometimes I had to wait a while when he wasn't home or close enough to come rescue me.

Might try seeds from that very expensive nursery after all. $3 and up for their packets of seeds. Plus the gas to drive that extra distance.
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Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Apr 28, 2014 1:23 PM CST
Most of the plants that I've grown from seed have all been either Burpee, or Ferry Morse. I've had pretty good luck with both of them. Less than $2.00 a pk.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Apr 28, 2014 4:05 PM CST
On the other hand, I bought a 25 cent packet of Jalapeno seeds from our local hardware store, and they grew just fine. Doesn't matter who produced them so much, I think, as who had them stored along the line and in what conditions.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: David Reaves
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Vegetable Grower Region: Texas Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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david_reaves
Apr 28, 2014 4:49 PM CST
In my experience the temperature is most important. Sweet peppers emerge more quickly than hot peppers. I start my peppers and tomatoes in Jiffy peat pellets using the greenhouse covered trays. I soak the pellets until they are saturated. I scratch the pellet top with a toothpick, then drop a seed or two on each pellet. Gently pressing on the seed on the pellet covers it. Cover with the clear lid, but prop open with a pencil across one corner of the tray. I put the tray on a heat mat, for peppers I set the thermostat to 85 degrees. I stick the thermostat sensor pod down into an empty pellet in the tray. That ensures the soil temp is actually what the mat is set to produce. Sometimes it takes hot peppers two weeks to sprout on the mat. The general rule is the hotter the pepper, the slower the germination. I'm sure there are exceptions... I don't grow that many really hot peppers.

David R
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Apr 28, 2014 5:54 PM CST
That's interesting, David. The only ones I'm growing are Banana, Ancho, and Jalapeno (for a friend, I have no real interest myself) and they all sprouted in about the same length of time, but I wasn't keeping track of actual number of days. I started them at the same time and under the same conditions as my tomato seeds, and they took several days longer, but no more than a week longer.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Franklin Troiso
Rutland, MA (Zone 5b)
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herbie43
Apr 28, 2014 7:16 PM CST
I have been growing hot peppers for many years without problems but this year I had a lot of trouble. I started all my seeds, (Trinidad scorpion, Big Bomb hybrid and some kind of Chili pepper) All but the scorpions germinated In the past I did not use a heat mat and I put the seeds in plastic containers and used the usual seed starting mix. this year I got the heat mat and left in on 24/7 and I bought those jiffy pots. all my other plants, tomatoes eggplant are dong grate but the scorpions never came up. I had no idea that hot p[pepper seeds don't last long so maybe that's why my scorpions never germinated. I buy all my hot peppers seeds from a place in Australia and I have never had a problem with time. I think these seeds were 2 or 3 yeas old.

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Name: Melissa
Southwestern Ohio (Zone 6b)
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Melissa
May 3, 2014 3:56 PM CST
bottom heat, and sometimes they just take a really long time to germinate. I've heard of people putting them on top of the fridge or the water heater for bottom heat.
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
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ckatNM
May 3, 2014 9:10 PM CST
I saw a youtube video where one lady used a crock pot for her seeds. I decided to give it a try. She said she had seeds germinate, including pepper seeds within two or three days. Some seeds germinated after just 24 hours. I did this on Monday. None of my seeds germinated, so I give up. I'll just plant them in the ground with compost. If they grow, then good, if not, then I just won't have those things and give away the rest of the seeds to someone that has better luck with seeds.

You'll have to look up the youtube video for all the details. Obviously, you can't just stick the seeds directly in the crock pot, because they will burn. None of my seeds burned, they just didn't germinate and I kept checking that they were warm. So maybe I just lost my green thumb for seeds. I never had a problem growing from seeds before I moved here. I guess the lesson learned is to just buy plants in the future, which means I will not be able to plant until late April or May because most places don't have any plants until then. And I won't be able to afford very many pants. However, all my Roma tomato seeds, watermelon seeds, and cantaloupe seeds, all germinated well, so I will continue with those.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 15, 2014 8:39 AM CST
Don't give up -- I know how frustrating it can be to have problems with germination, but starting your own plants just gives you so many more options for varieties.

I agree with all the suggestions previously given -- peppers do seem to like a fair amount of warmth, but mine always have sprouted without problems with just the heat from the fluorescent lights that I use to start my seedlings (in a closet, so it warms up pretty good in there). Is it possible that yours are staying too wet and the seeds are rotting? (or maybe too dry, although you mentioned that they feel "warm and steamy" when you take the cover off). Also, not sure why but I've had better luck starting most seeds in potting soil, rather than the "seed starting" mixes. I don't think that's generally recommended, but after a couple of tries with seed starting mix that were pretty dismal failures I've stuck with just using Miracle Grow. And, as has been said already, the seed you have might just not have been viable! You can do it!! Thumbs up
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Name: Toni Melvin
Sherwood Oregon (Zone 8a)
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Toni
May 18, 2014 9:21 AM CST
This year I started my pepper seeds in newly purchased peet pots and heat mat. To no avail. Some of them sprouted but soon withered. So I took a very damp paper towel, layed my pepper seeds on the towel, folded the towel over the seeds and then stuck towel and all in labeled ( seed variety, date) ziplock bag. And placed the ziplocks on top of the refridgerator. I checked them every day. It took 15 days for them to germinate. As soon as they formed little roots, I took my milk jugs, cut in half, and put my own soil mix in the jug. I poked many holes in the bottom of the jug, and carefully planted those little peppers. I taped up the cut part of the jug. They are all doing quite well at this point. So, I have a heat mat for sale if any one is interested Hilarious!
I hope you keep trying because it is so wonderful to have fresh peppers at your fingertips Lovey dubby
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Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
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ckatNM
May 18, 2014 12:34 PM CST
I bought pepper seeds from both Walmart and Home Depot so I am thinking it has more to do with how they store them than anything else. That is why I thought of going to the nursery as it is the only other place fairly nearby to go where they might store their seeds better. Marigolds are easy to grow and even they didn't sprout.

Planted some of the pepper seeds in the ground - they didn't grow. I ran out of potting mix, so I just bought regular potting soil this time because it was less expensive. The last seeds I tried with the seed starter mix and potting mix only sprouted mushrooms. I know the soil wasn't too damp because I checked before watering. I left the containers sitting without any water at all and the soil was bone dry, but still a lot of mushrooms sprouted. They are still sprouting. I'll dump the soil from all the various containers and flats I tried into the compost today and put everything away for fall planting. I don't have any more patience for planting seeds as it is now just too much wasted expense. I have tried too many different techniques for it to be anything but bad seeds. I only wish there existed a way to test the seeds before buying and wasting time, potting mix, and water.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 18, 2014 6:18 PM CST
ckatNM said: I only wish there existed a way to test the seeds before buying and wasting time, potting mix, and water.


Yes!!

Next year will be better, Ckat!

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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
Sep 9, 2014 5:52 PM CST
Tom Clothier says:
"Capsicum annuum , pepper , ,Type= an , kno3 soak 4h , surface sow @ 72ºF in light, grow on @ 60ºF , 7-14d , "

But he does not mention C. chinense. The ATP plant database says this for germinating Bhut Jolokia seeds:
" Provide darkness
Needs specific temperature: 70-85º
Days to germinate: 5 - 20 days depending on soil temperature
Depth to plant seed: 1/4""
Bhut Jolokia (Capsicum sinense)




I think that " kno3 soak 4h" means to soak seeds in dilute potassium n9trate for 4 hours.

http://www.gardenstew.com/about21082.html
http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/seed/msg01201822342...
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/pepper/msg1123222410...

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