Ask a Question forum: Transplanting Bell Peppers

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Madison, MS (Zone 8a)
elsanders98
Jan 30, 2017 2:13 PM CST
I know this is early, but I'm a first time gardener, so I'm excited to get going. I recently started pepper plants from seeds using Jiffy windowsill greenhouse/tray and peat pellets. Most of the seeds have sprouted and I am leaving them on the windowsill for the day and under a desk lamp for a few hours at night. My question are:

Is the desk lamp sufficient for supplying light and to a lesser extent heat?

Do they need to remain under the light all night?

Do I need to transplant the peppers from the peat pellets to a pot before hardening off and planting in my elevated bed (4' x 2' cedar box raised about 3 feet off the ground; I added casters in order to roll into the garage at night to avoid frost/critters), or can I keep them in the pellets until transferring to the bed?

Thanks for any help you can give!
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jan 30, 2017 2:33 PM CST
I would definitely transfer them to pots with good quality potting soil before hardening off. My own experience with those little peat pellets is that they'd just as soon dry out as look at you. Also, if they're the ones with the little netting holding them together, I'd highly recommend at least snipping through that netting before re-potting. I've pulled up annuals at the end of the season that still had that netting holding the roots captive.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jan 30, 2017 3:35 PM CST
I hate those little peat pellets but others seem to love them. Yes, pot up as soon as you can and Yes, remove the netting.

Your little peppers look pale. I can't decide if its lack of adequate light or lack of nutrients in the peat pellets. Maybe a little of both.

There aren't a lot of nutrients in peat pellets but the seeds contain a certain amount of stored energy, enough to get them past the seed leaf stage. So usually you don't need to fertilize until you see the first true leaves. You can give them some well balanced fertilizer mixed at quarter strength. If its a nutrient problem, you will see results in a few days.

They are not getting enough light. They aren't getting the full effect of the window light because of the glass, screen and shade a few inches above their heads. Does the desk lamp have a grow light in it? That is a natural daylight bulb that has an output of 6400k to 6500k. The peppers should be getting 14 to 16 hours of good light each day. Fluorescent lights are best as they put out less heat (and you can buy the curly ones to fit in a desk lamp). Plants that small like to be warm but there is a fine line between warm enough and cooked. Also, you will have to introduce them to the stronger light slowly so you don't burn them up.

Turn the lights off at night. Plants need a good night's sleep also.

Hope this helps.

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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 30, 2017 3:45 PM CST
I agree about the netting, for sure. I always peel it off completely before potting up the seedlings. Be sure to pot them up as soon as you start seeing roots through the netting. If you wait too long you'll damage roots by removing the netting.

Some time after the little plants have their first true leaves (second set after the seed leaves) is fine to transplant to pots. Then you'll be growing them for a while again before it's warm enough outside. Night temps above about 50 are needed for peppers. Last year I didn't get to plant pepper and tomato transplants until early March, even down here in FL.

As far as light goes, they do need some darkness, so no, don't leave the desk lamp on all night. I give my seedlings a total of about 16 hours of light, 8 hours of darkness so that they don't get too leggy.
Elaine

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