Starting Pepper from Seeds
My bright colors on you will cast a spell,
I am really yummy,
And I have lots of vitamins as well.
Seven steps to get strong and healthy sweet pepper seedlings:
Start seeds on time. To make sure your sweet pepper seedlings don’t overgrow by the time you plant them out into your garden, sow seeds on time, i.e. in late February or early March. Remember that early varieties must be started 60 days before planting out and late varieties 75 days before planting out.
Maintain right temperatures. The best temperature to germinate your pepper seeds is between +22 ... +24 ° C.
Make sure your seedlings get enough light. Adequate light exposure is essential to prevent your seedlings from getting leggy and pale. Place your seedling pots close to the window (preferably a south-facing window), and use an additional light source for 12 hours.
Prepare seeds for planting by disinfecting and test the germination rate. The most efficient disinfectants are chlorhexidine, brilliant green paint, and a garlic infusion. Disinfection protects seedlings from diseases and destroys pathogens off the surface of seeds. You can test germination by pre-soaking. Put the seeds on gauze, slightly moisten and leave in a warm place. Sprouted seeds are ready for planting.
Prepare seed starting mix. Of course, it is best to buy seed starting mix designed specifically for peppers. However, as practice shows, it doesn’t always have good quality. To minimize the risk, you can make your own DIY starting mix. Mix equal parts garden soil, compost, potting mix and sand. You can add vermiculite for uniform soil moistening and extra fluffy soil. To destroy pathogens, small pest larvae and ova, the soil should also be disinfected. There are three disinfection techniques: steaming, heating, and freezing. The easiest is the last one, when the soil collected in autumn is sheltered from rain or snow and left outdoors in the frost.
Fertilize with a chlorine-free multi-nutrient or biological fertilizer after the plants develop cotyledonary leaves. One feeding is enough; over-fertilization increases the risk of overgrowing.
Prickle out your seedlings. This promotes lateral and accessory root growth, which makes the plant stronger. Prickle out when a plant develops a pair of true leaves.
Don’t prickle the main root. However, experienced gardeners prefer starting pepper seeds directly in suitable containers to go without prickling out so that not to damage tiny roots. If you start your seeds in individual containers, the seedlings are very easily transplanted and establish in the garden.
By the time of planting out in the ground, the seedlings must have 8 to 10 leaves.