Refresh my memory, someone. This is the ninth day since I planted seeds in egg cartons of Jiffy Mix indoors, and I have no peppers up yet.
Cabbages sprouted on the third day, of course, and most all my tomatoes are up - but no peppers. I haven't used a heat pad, but I've been able to keep the trays between 70 and 75 degrees mostly - maybe 65 sometimes at night.
I think I remember from past years that I ought to see some peppers sprouting starting about NOW, and then continuing to come up for the next week or so. What's your experience on this?
As it turns out, I asked my question one day early. This morning, the 10th day after planting, I have a few sprouts up from all four pepper varieties I'm raising this year - Carmen, Gypsy, Planet, and Mariachi.
Side by side with tomatoes, the difference is obvious. Tomatoes sprout slow and tiny - I have to put my reading glasses on to make sure it's a little tomato seedling coming up. Peppers are big and quick when they finally sprout, they just knock the planting mix out of the way. It's good to see.
This may not be relevant to your question Sam, but I made two recent discoveries when planting my tomato and pepper seeds in peat pots. In the past I have used my vermiculture media to germinate these seeds and have had good luck. Tomato seeds always came up sooner than the hot pepper seeds but they eventually came up. Several weeks ago I planted some of both seeds in a mix of peat moss fines and vermiculture media (50:50) and nothing came up. Conclusion was the germination mix was too dense for the seeds to penetrate.
The other thing I have noticed is that the smaller pepper seeds do much better when simply covered with a light layer of the germination mix rather than stuck a tiny hole about 1/4th inch deep. The hole method works fine for larger tomato and pepper seeds, but for the smaller ones I just barely cover them with a thin layer of the germination mix and lightly tamping them with a fork.
Also I soak the seeds overnight in water with a pinch of MG fertilizer befire planting (Carolyn's recommendation for tomato seeds).Then after planting the seeds I place the peat pots in a planting tray and add water to the bottom of the tray containing hydrogen peroxide. I also spray the surface of the pots with the same. I am convinced seeds planted in this manner sprout much more quickly.
I surface sow or close to it with everything and find I get much better results. I also use a heating mat and turn the lights on. I figure they have the sun baking them when they're in the ground outside so lets duplicate conditions as much as possible. I also figure the quicker they germinate and are out of the ground the less chance they have to rot. This has really upped my sprouting success. After they're up I keep them on the cool side to slow down growth some til they go outside, that way they don't have these long leggy stems but are nice and short and fat.
yehudith, your comment reminded me of something I recently read in another form on making seed germination blocks. The engineer "Russ" who started this thread was looking for ways to improve the heat transfer from the heat pad to the germination blocks. He references the problems with the seed starting trays which have these dimples on the bottom and ridges inside. These trays do not receive maximum benefit of the heat transfer and it can be somewhat uneven as well. Something I recently tried was to use a square ceramic dish which holds four 3.5-inch peat pots. Each pot holds my favorite germination media which is grated, spent worm media (formerly peat moss). I plant up to 20 tomato or pepper seeds to a single pot and place them in the ceramic dish containing a 1:32 dilution of hydrogen peroxide warm water. The water bath and flat bottom of the ceramic dish maximizes the heat transfer from the heat pad and keeps it constant. I can replenish the water as necessary and still mist three times a day. Fortunately with the use of hydrogen peroxide initially I haven't had any problems with dampening off or mold, but I have a small fan ready just in case. The pepper seeds, although slower than tomato seeds to sprout, are still coming up much more quickly than when I used the seed flats in a similar manner in the past.