Welcome to our Germination tip page
Thank you for purchasing our seeds if you did and hope you wonít be disappointed. These are from our garden and were taken from the actual peppers we grew in it. We do so over and over, year after year so our seeds have a high germination rate. Although we canít guarantee your success, we hope that these tips will give you a good head start and as long as you follow a few simple rules, you should do well. If you didn't purchase our seeds, then go way now--- Just kidding, this is available for all who want the info :)
One of the toughest parts of growing peppers is the actual germination (sprouting) phase. Since most hot peppers are native to hotter climates, it is essential to have a warm soil temperature to ensure proper seedlings to appear. Although you can get specific with Ph levels, specific soil components and blaw, blaw, blaw. All you really need are 4 key components: soil, water, heat and light. We will explain these components below in a bit more detail. Please visit our website at www.jeffs-hotsauces.com for more information and pictures too. Our small space gardening section is full of tips and tricks to help you along your way.
1) Soil- Basically any kind of topsoil or potting soil will work but be careful about soils that are enhanced with chemicals claiming to ensure growth. While these may be good for established plants and flowers, they can harm peppers plants with too much junk in the soil. Since we grow our garden organically, we donít use such soils. We also grow our entire garden in planter boxes or tree planters and only have a few in the actual ground. This helps keep away pests, but it does mean that the plant will use up the nutrients in the soil at a much faster rate. Once a month we use a popular plant food brand of the 24-8-16 nutritional analysis plant food. Hold off on using this until plants are nice and healthy and donít over do it. Fishmeal and kelp meal are very good, but expensive.
2) Water- Ideally rain water is the best for your garden unless you live next to a belching factory, but letís face it, you canít always rely on rain and sometime youíll have to use another source. We just use good old-fashioned tap water when we water out plants and for the seeding process. You could use purified water but it may start getting expensive. DONíT use drinking water as they always add, ďflavor enhancersĒ such as salt. You really donít want to use any water that you arenít going to be using throughout the plantsí lives. They are tough, but not indestructible and they donít like a lot of changes in their diet.
3) Light- Most peppers like to have full sun and as much of it as they can get. You will always get the best results from true sun, but there are many different ways to artificially create it. We use fluorescent lights for our germination and have 2 dual 4í light fixtures. The bulbs are important and cool white versions are ok, but we suggest using the plant/aquarium bulbs, or even better, the full spectrum 6500K daylight series bulbs available at any large chain home improvement store. You should have about 15 hours of light on them and we use a timer to control the cycles.
4) Heat- Soil temperature is perhaps the most critical of all the ingredients and will determine how fast, if at all, your seeds germinate. Some peppers will sprout up in a week and some can take over 200 days to do so. As a general rule, with the proper heat and light, you should see them pop-up in about 7-20 days. Try to keep the soil temperature between 75 and 85 degrees if you can. Heating pads can work well, but be careful that you donít get them too hot and watch for water run-off. We are lucky and where we grow them inside, the hot water pipes for the radiator heat run right under them and keep the soil at a nice 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ok, now that we have the basic four requirements taken care of, what are you going to put them in? We use the plastic tray seed starter kits but use our own soil instead. The trays have covers and thatís necessary to help keep in heat and moisture during the critical germination stage. No germination, no plantóbottom line and this is the most important part of a plantís life.
Start by filling the cells with dirt or activate the soil pellets that come with a new kit and make sure the soil is very moist, but not soaking wet. Next take a pencil-sized poker and push it into the soil no more than ľĒ-ĹĒ right down the center of each cell. Take one seed, place it in the hole and cover it up with dirt firmly, but not packed down. We use six 72-cell starter kits for our garden and plot out the contents on a chart to help us keep track of germination time, the pepper type and to track their growth. After youíve finished planting all the seeds, put the lid on the top, turn on the lights, set the timer, put them on heat and wait. Donít expect miracles and we donít care where you get seeds from; you probably wonít reach 100% germination, even with ours. Figure on a 75% to be on the cautious side. Our Dragonís Claw Peppers average over 95% while our Black JalapeŮo plants average about 30%. Plan ahead and plant more than you really need. You can always find room for just one more, or give them away if needed.
Once you start seeing your plants growing, celebrate and rejoice for youíve helped bring new life into the world. Keep the cover on until they start getting to get stuck on the top. If you had enough water in the soil initially, then you should see water on the top of the covers. This is good and is creating a greenhouse effect. After they are on the top, remove the cover permanently and put it under the tray for storage. Make sure that the soil doesnít get too dry at this point and donít water the plants directly. These trays utilize an underground water system and we recommend that you use it. We keep them filled to just over the circulation nubs. Whatever you do, do not over water them at this point. The roots are weak and will succumb to root rot. Youíll see this a healthy plant slowly whither and die.
You can start seeds in just about anything. Styrofoam cups work well; just poke a few drainage holes in the bottom. Plastic wrap and a rubber band will make the green house effect; just make sure to poke a few holes in the top too. Leave enough room from the lid to the soil that allows the plant to reach over an inch. Other than that, you can expect the same results as using the containers with germination. Follow the same basic instructions as above and you should do well.