Makin’ Habaneros – Part III: When a Mommy Pepper meets a Daddy Pepper!
This article will explain how to get started in growing peppers and the fundamentals of what you are going to require. We are going to be starting our peppers indoors so we will need to make arrangements. To grow seeds, we need seeds, soil, water, some form of light and heat. To add to this we need a dedicated place to grow them. This is a long process but once it gets going, I will show you how you can have it so it takes care of itself.
Let’s get by the real basics here. For a seed to become a plant it needs heat, sunlight, soil and water. If any of these elements are missing, the plant will suffer. Each must be in balance with the plant’s needs. Too much heat, the plant will need more water, not enough water, the plant will wilt. Too much water the plant will rot. If the soil is too firm, the plant can’t spread it’s roots. If it is too cold, the plant will not even germinate (turn from seed to sprout). It is that basic, and also that important.
Of course to get started I would suggest purchasing, or recycling some form of containers to hold the soil that we will be starting our seeds in. The seedling trays usually 36 or 72 cells per tray work good but remember the smaller the container, the quicker you are going to have transplant them. I am going to be using the 36 cell containers to start. You can also use any plastic take out tray, or even old ice cube trays that you pick up at a yard sale; anything thing that will hold soil.
Next you will need some soil. You can go organic, and purchase any organic mixture from your local Home Depot; you can use the chemically treated seed starter varieties, or you can use a couple of gallons from the backyard. Most commercially available mixtures will have a mixture of dirt, sand, and filler. The dirt has the nutrients that your plant will draw from, the sand helps keep the soil loose so the fragile roots can grow into it, and generally, the filler is used to retain moisture. Whatever you choose, will work as long as it is not pure clay. It must be loose. If this is your first time, and you really aren’t interested in keeping it organic and, all you want is to produce peppers for personal consumption: I recommend Miracle Grow seed starter, you will get a good start on a great plant. Next year you can take the hobby further by trying a different mixture (maybe your own?).
Do not under any circumstances, use peat pellets. There are many reports that something in them hinders the growth or even germination of the seed. Bad news – just avoid them altogether.
There are three more things you now need to worry about, we have seeds, we have containers and we have soil. Coming up next we need a source of light, heat and we need space.