Ah, I'm going to do the big chocolate bells again. I have a couple of heirloom green one's I got from a seed exchange I'm going to try. As well as some sweet Italian reds and yellow banana peppers which my DH loves.
Cat, do you want seeds for Carmen, Gypsy, or Bounty? I'm finalizing my order for TGS, trying to decide how big my packets of those should be... You can pick them up at the swap. Sounds like I should put some 'Sweet Pickles' aside for you too?
Bob, I do the same thing, setting the seedings slightly deep, generally to their nurse leaves (cotyledons). I don't know that they grow more roots from the buried part of the stem like a tomato seedling does, but it doesn't seem to do them any harm, and it steadies them in their new pots.
doc...my wife is a big fan of cholocate but she won't quite bite on the idea of chocolate peppers...should I tell her they taste like chocolate!
Got a question about sideways planting of tomatoes. Twice now I have heard that. I plan to add an intermediate step this year to my tomato planting process. From peat pots to 10-inch plastic pots, before going to the garden in plastic wrapped cages. The plants in the peat pots were getting root bound at six to eight weeks, and over two feet tall. The recommendation from another DGer was to transfer from the peat pot and lay the plant sideways in the plastic plant to cover as much of the stem as possible. Objective is to get the largest root ball as possible before transplanting to the garden. Seems logical to me. Question is do you strip the leaves from the stem part that goes underground or beneath the potting soil, and if so, how many sets of leaves do you adivse keeping above ground?
mraider, I've been there, done that... but although I've put out bigger plants with that method, I've never had better production or healthier plants on down the line than when following Carolyn's method (see "sticky" on tomato forum for a link). She recommends starting seeds just 6 to 8 weeks ahead and transplanting seedlings only once before planting out. She plants them deeper again at planting out but suggests it might be better not to strip off leaves (why create openings for possible pathogens).
I've made several copies of Dr. C's recommendations, and not stripping the leaves makes sense. I still prefer peat pots for peppers and tomatoes. The tomatoes however, are at the recommend height and size for transplanting in five to six weeks, so if I followed her guidelines I would have to wait a month to start my seeds. Just wish I had the same luck with hot peppers.
So start them 6 weeks ahead rather than 8... I've planted out some pretty tall and root-bound tomato seedlings (in 2 inch pots), and they did great. I bury a lot of the plant, often leaving just 3 or 4 sets of leaves at the top... since I don't want to dig a 15 inch hole (or plant them that deeply into the ground -- it's still pretty cold down there), I dig a sloping trench and lay the tomato sideways at an angle, with the root ball at the lowest point.
Cat, if you're talking tomatoes, you can bury them deeper than that... you could pretty much bury them so only a tuft of leaves stuck out at the surface, if you wanted, although I'm usually not quite that drastic! But my big sturdy seedlings do suddenly look pathetic when I've planted them out... a week or so later, though, they look fabulous!
The tomatoes do indeed put out roots all along the buried part of the stem. Have you ever noticed those root nodes form on tomato stems, especially when they start flopping around and touching the ground? Sometimes they'll even layer themselves and put roots right down into the soil from a point quite far along the vine.
It's an old Mother Earth trick, just leave the 2 true leaves on top of the tomato. The whole stem is contributing to the root system making a much stronger plant. That's why you should water deeply, the roots go down after the deep water, the longer it gets the stronger the plant. This is another one of those everything old is new again.
OK Cath, I just want you to know I'm changing my pepper seed oreder. If this is a gotcha, you got me good. Just can't wait to try those chocolate habs.
Remeber the story about the king that wanted something sweet, hot and cold at the same time, and the young chef's apprentice that came up with ice cream covered in hot chocolate. Well how about chocolate habaneros stuffed inside sopapias for the strong at heart. Think I'll just go and have a Hershy bar.
I've done that for years, it's how my dad taught me to plant tomatoes. I was however taught to go ahead and strip off the bottom couple of sets of leaves. I think I'll try a few this year without stripping. But I get a good extra 12 inches of roots when I bury them. They do well when thumper and bambi don't bother them.
PS Critter, I'm getting ready to try and start the Aleppo pepper seed that I got out of the crushed pepper I bought, wish me luck.
I plant tomatoes in the dirt vertically so watering isn't as critical. Soil here is loam with excellent drainage but there is always moisture a half foot or foot down. Seems laying them in a trench would be problematic if we had dry conditions and I didn't get around to watering. At least that is my theory. I can't say this is true because I've never compared. Figure the roots will grow from the buried part of the stem no matter what so why not set them upright.
Now if you have clay, perhaps encouraging root growth nearer the surface by laying the plant in a trench might be a good idea.
I have a some evidence that supports planting the pepper seedlings deep. My peppers, started in Jiffy pots, are growing roots above the surface. I probably went a little longer than I should have...the seedlings are from 5-6 inches tall. As I repot, I'm planting as deep as I can (up to the leaves). The focus on the photo isn't great, but you can see the roots starting to form.
Dave, after 25 years of working what use to be VA red clay, trust me, I can go just about anyplace on this property and go about 3' deep and it's black loam all the way. Lots and lots of compost and hard work. I plant them deep, because I rarely stake mine, I mulch under them to protect the fruits, but when you pull up the spent plant you can see the difference. It's amazing. I have a very shallow well, so I'm looking to conserve as much moisture as possible while encouraging my veggies to grow and multiply, I normally get great production. More than enough for eating, preserving, and passing out to neighbors. I also usually sell a few bushels to our local pizza joint. She makes her own sauce and loves the fact these are organic and I grow big guys, so a lot are weighing in at over a 1lb. The sauce is spectacular!! She also buys all the loose leaf lettuce I can grow for their hot hoagies. The difference in the taste is something and people start looking for that in the early spring and summer. I'm always amused since I normally go to the front door to let her know I've got the "stuff". I've got guys getting up from the table to come and help carry the produce in. LOL I almost always pack a little extra, cause a homegrown mater while your waiting is always a good thing...
dreaves...nice looking pepper plants David...have you been trimming the lower leaves? I like peat pots for tomatoes and pepper plants because you can see the roots as they become bound. According to what I have read here in DG, disturbing the root ball when transplanting or potting up is a good thing for these two types of plants.
I have been planning on potting up some of my tomatoes from peat pots when they get root bound to 10 inch plastic pots to get the biggest root ball possible for transplanting early into my garden this year. However, critter's comment on the cold soil is really bugging me. Our permafrost goes down two feet, maybe more, and I've got to figure out some way to get around this subsurface cold soil problem. Bigger hole...more compost...little green manure...straw??? Don't know.
Mraider, think going up, not going down. You could set up a raised bed area, cover with black plastic to warm the soil and set them in that. Use cloches or row covers to protect the seedlings from sudden frosts (in your case, I doubt it's sudden, not like the chillies snuck up and said boo). Quit worry about the root bound on the tomatoes, just plant em trench style and let them do their thing. They'll be fine.
Good suggestions! Big rocks, bricks, or gallon jugs of water can also be useful as "heat sinks" set around your plants... during the day, they warm up in the sun (paint them black for even more effect) and at night they release the heat to your plants.
good thoughts...I have covered cages and stakes, but if I leave the cages in place I can try the above ground planting...sounds good. I also have about 50 one gallon plastic milk jugs and some red and black plastic spray paint from Ace which I can use as well. Thanks
LOL... your neighbors might not be pleased (you should've heard the comments the year I tried the red plastic mulch on the tomatoes, which, by the way, there's no reason to bother with)... but your peppers will love you!
I haven't trimmed them. The earlier photo was of the seedlings in the starter pellet. They've been planted for four weeks--actually growing for about three of those weeks. This shot is of some of the peppers after going into 3-inch jiffy pots with potting mix. I finished moving all the seedlings over on Saturday (removed the netting and planted the seedlings as deep as the pellet would go into the pot.
OK David, I've never used peat pellots for starting seeds...sounds interesting. Didn't know you could go from the pellot to the peat pot with the sprouted seedling. What happen's to the pellot? Do you discard the pellot or plant it with the seedling?
I tried germinating tomato seeds in the coffee filter/sandwich bag and they germinated in just a few days. However, only one in five survived transplanting to peat pots. I haven't given up on retrying this method for either pepper or tomato seed germination, but I have one other method I want to experiment with: Multiple plantings (10 to 15 seeds) of tomato or pepper seeds in a single peat pot before potting up the seedlings to individual peat pots. This method should get the seedlings to a larger size with a couple of sets of true leaves, which I believe would transplant much better. I have used planter trays in the past with several varieties of pepper or tomato seeds per tray, but they don't all germinate at the same time, and that creates problems of it's own.
I like to expermient with new ideas David. Would appreciate some more feedback on the peat pellot to peat pot method. Thanks
let med add my two cents into this discussion if i may.
i always start my seeds in one of those two inch plastic containers that ususally are part of the seed starting you kit you buy in the stores which have to plastic dome.
i only start one seed per container and i usually start 3 or 4 of the same kind of plant for each one i will finally transplant. this way i take the one that looks the best to me. after i get the second set of leaves and the plants are about 6 inches tall i transplant them to the 4 inch pots where they stay until i put them outdoors for good.
since i grow all my vegetables in containers i do not have that much room on my deck so this method works well for me. i imagine if you are growing a large amount of plants then this method is to wasteful and takes up to much room. for me though it works perfectly.
i have been doing this for over 20 years and i am quite satisfied with this method.
I planted 2-3 seeds per pellet and started the pellets in a covered tray over a heat mat. Most of the seeds germinated within a week. Once germinated, I removed the clear covers. I also snipped any extra seedlings so that there was only one seedling per pellet. I kept in the trays, under standard florescent shoplights (about 2" from the seedlings) for three weeks. At that point I had small plants, about 5 inches tall.
To repot, I removed the netting from the peat pellets and dropped the pellet into a 3" peat pot. Many of the plants had some roots through the net, but removing the net didn't seem to cause too much damage. I filled around the pellet and up to the edge of the pot with a generic potting mix. lightly pressed to be sure that there were no air spaces. In some cases I trimmed the seed leaves (if the would be below the soil level) but most were untrimmed. The plants are back in trays, under more shop lights until time to go into the garden. I'm bottom watering (for now) with straight water.
For me, the pellets worked pretty well. I didn't want to try starting the seedlings in a mass and transplanting when they are tiny because I have hand tremors that make precise work more difficult.
Thanks David and Herbie for feedback. Will try some peat pellets on tomatoes and peppers. doc...what do you think about those high domes for the seed trays? Think leaving the seedlings in the peat pellets until they reach the top of the dome would work rather than potting up, sorta like critter suggested?
I'm still baffled as to how seeds germinated in a coffee filter placed inside a sandwich bag are transferred to potting medium. Would like to try this method with some hot pepper seeds, but my success rate for transferring tomato seeds at this point is not good. Possibly I should not have buried only the root and not the seed part when I potted the seedling. Suggestions?
It's easiest if you plant the germinated seeds before they've done much more than grow a little "tail" of a root... you can just put a little dirt over them, and they'll get themselves oriented just fine. I like going the paper towel or coffee filter method with seeds if I'm unsure about their germination chances... saves me from having lots of empty spaces.
I'm not sure what you're referring to above, but I transplant seedlings when they get their first set of true leaves, for sure by the time they have their second set... I wouldn't wait until they're several inches tall.
Oh glad i found this
Ok so what i take is
start seeds 6 wks then , transplant once , plant out when plants in 3" pots ? our you last frost date ? its ok if they get root bound ?
then lay flat ,cover with soil to tip of leaves (two true sets ) they are pliable enough to do this ? i am thinking.
did i get it right ? whew
and don't snip off leaves leaves room for pathogens
i learned alot on this thread
and do that with peppers too ? lay them sidways or just deep in the ground ?
Sue, sorry, I'm not sure if you're talking peppers or tomatoes...
Tomatoe, I do the way Carolyn says to (see link in the "sticky" thread at the top of the Tomato Forum).
Peppers, I start a good 10 weeks ahead. They get planted out about 2 weeks after tomatoes (Memorial Day, for me). If you plant them out before the soil warms up, they just sulk, LOL. When I plant peppers out into the garden, I don't really set them deeper then they were growing in their pots... unless you're using peat pots, in which case you want to be sure the rim of the pot is completely buried (or tear it off), but that's a whole 'nuther thread!
oh sorry i was talking tomatos
ok good to know on peppers , i have heard you mention the longer start dates.
You have about the same frost date as we do ? about that time for us too. I usually hold out 1 extra week
i will look into that sticky
I do my lettuce like the about link does but in cut in half 1 gal milk jugs LOL
ok Critter thanks
I debated over three methods for starting hot peppers and the method I chose to try first has worked well. I planted as many as thirty seeds in individual 4" square peat pots and all except the habs have sprouted. The seedlings have long (2" or better) , but strong stems, however they are still in the cotyledon stage. I am tempted to go ahead and transplant to individaul peat pots rather than waiting for the true leaves to appear. What are the concequences of planting before the true leaves appear?
I've done it, but they're sturdier and easier to handle if you wait for the true leaves. If your stems are 2 inches or longer, I'm thinking you might not have your seedlings close enough to the lights... see if you can boost them up to within an inch or two of the bulb. When you up-pot them, you can bury some of that long stem. Sounds like you got great germination -- good growing!
Thanks for feedback critter. I purchased six of the 7-inch clear plastic domes and that's what I'm using now on the sprouted hot pepper seedlings. The seedlings were just too tall for the shallower 3-inch clear domes. I have the florscent lighting about as close to the top of the domes as possible. Clusters of pepper plants seem to be doing alright, and I agree that waiting for true leaves would be the best solution. However, I do have enough seedlings to pot three to a peat pot and thin to one which is what I'm itchin to try. Since this is the first attempt at growing hot peppers in this manner I planted way more seeds than I can possibly use. So I may try potting up a few in the cotyledon stage to see what happens. Just wasn't sure if pepper seedlings were repotable in cotyledon stage since I haven't heard anyone mention it.
critter helped me out by sending some of the Bounty, Carmen, and Gypsy pepper seeds from her TGS order. They're great - I think every seed sprouted and I've got lots of healthy-looking little pepper plants.
For some reason I have a hard time growing bell-type peppers. I do much better with elongated varieties, and we sure use a lot of sweet peppers. I think these three varieties will do the trick. Thanks again.
I'm glad to hear it! I've got about 1/3 of my Gypsy seedlings up, so I'm expecting to see the rest of them momentarily. I hope 'Bounty' does well for us! I can't imagine it would be that different than 'Bananarama' hybrid.
thought i would give a pic of one of my peppers
I m going to bury these in a 4" cowpot
this is a Rosso
The Macaroni and Gypsy are doing the best
Sweet pickle is struggleing along, I hope i get a few good plants :)
Thanks Critter for all of the advice with your article on these great peppers
I use Pro Mix (which is a fairly fine, peat base mixed) for both seed starting and transplanting. Sometimes I add a little extra perlite to lighten up the mix for starting seeds, and if there are any chunky bits I try to pick them out (especially if they're on the surface). I add polymer moisture crystals always, and when I'm transplanting I also usually add some time release fertilizer (except for tomatoes -- why? BCSS -- Because Carolyn Said So!).
Well since we all are confessing ...
I transplanted before the two true leaves :)
I experimented some had only one true leaf and some where just small true leaves.
my 4 yr old helped me with seed starting . So some had several little seedlings in ea cell. So i transplanted them.
So far so good. They seem to be growing. Got their true leaves. I buried up to the top.
I felt so naughty doing it LOL :)
Oz I promise not to tell if you don't tell ;)
I'd like to clarify - since Carolyn says use Jiffy Mix and no fertilizer on tomatoes, I know that's best. I'm convinced of it.
I'm just contrary. If everyone's catching fish on a chartreuse 1/8 oz. Roostertail up by the bank, I'm not happy until I figure out something else they're biting on, and out in deep water. What's the fun of doing exactly what you were told?
And from Carolyn's wonderful posts here, I've got an idea she understands contrariness better than most people. lol
Well, I'm not using Jiffy Mix either... so I'm deviating a bit from Carolyn's instructions, also! But I've been getting better results by not fertilizing the tomatoes until after they're planted out. And my little 6 to 8 week old seedlings (Carolyn style) do a lot better than the monster plants I used to put out, hoping for great things!
Taynors... Carolyn sometimes transplants before they get their true leaves also. ;-)
Having a little confusion here...'transplants before true leaves'. We are talking about potting up rather than transplanting to the garden? And since tomatoes and peppers withstand having their root mass disturbed and transplanting better than most other plants...why do you think a larger root mass wouldn't be better? Just confused.
this is the first year i have started my tomato seeds so late. i usually try to get them started in march but with my hospital stay and then my sons wedding i had to wait until april 1st. which is eights weeks before i put them outside on june 1st. this will be a good test to see if there is a difference between starting them 8 weeks before last frost date and maybe 12 weeks.
Yes, we're talking about potting up -- eg, transplanting for the first time.
In terms of larger vs. smaller plants when you plant them out into the garden, I have no explanation for why a 12 week old tomato seedling did less well for me than an 8 week old one... but when I followed Carolyn's advice to start my tomatoes no more than 6-8 weeks ahead, I had better results.
I should add that with peppers, I still try to start them 10-12 weeks ahead. I'll have a few that are smaller than that this year -- various delays & a couple of mishaps so I'm doing some late starts and some restarts.
Production wasn't any earlier when I put out big tomato plants (although you'd think it would be!), and the plants just grew better in all ways, including yield. Putting plants out early in WOWs (wall-o-waters... walls-o-water?) will get you tomatoes a little earlier, but maybe not enough to make it worthwhile; I'm still not sure on that one.
We had to send our camera in for repair and I just got it back, so I can post pictures again now.
Here's my "pepper patch" - Gypsy, Bounty, and Carmen from seeds critterologist shared. These are under lights along with tomato and tomatillo seedlings. I transplanted the peppers only 4 days ago, and I buried the stems as deep as I could.
These are in my shop where it's about 60 degrees. They're growing fast now, and I think they're looking good.
Hey that is a slick set up. Oz. Oh i don't know i like it and i m a girl
I also like JW too. :)
I was also thinking of doing a side by side two light set up similar .
When you transplanted your tomatillos did you bury them up to the top ?
I did mine , they were a bit spindly. But i hope they come out ok.
"When you transplanted your tomatillos did you bury them up to the top?"
Yes, I planted them deep and they did fine. I gave each pepper and tomato plant its' own 3" x 3" cell, but I transplanted 4 tomatillos to a cell. Tomatillos act like weeds and I don't think you can hurt them - they're survivors.
My wife and I raised three daughters, so I'm fond of girls. But I always needed my shop as a sanctuary, the one place where I didn't have to see anything pink or frilly. lol
nice set up but i am getting confused. i was always under the impression that peppers whether hot or sweet needed warm temps to germinate and to grow. in all the care instructins i have read for peppers they say not to put peppers out until the nightime temps reach about 70 degrees. giong by that i have always left my peppers in the upstaires heated part of the house rather then put them in the unheated basement like i do with the tomatoes after i repot them for the first time.
Herbie, I have been struggling for three years to get hot pepper seeds to sprout and finally this year I have had success. I planted seeds in early March and one month later I have potted up nearly 200 plants. Trick was as you say heat pad, and I also use those 7-inch high clear plastic domes to cover the flats at night. In the past I purchased hot pepper plants from a local nursery and left them potted. Our night time temperatures even in mid-summer will drop below 70 degrees at night. Sixties and fifties at night are common.
I have read a numerous DG thread on hot pepper success stories by Rocky Mountainers and other Northeners like yourself. I hardend my pepper plants for several weeks before leaving them permanently outside. By mid-June they are ready to stay outside.
Two years ago I planted six hot pepper plants in cages with 4-ml plastic sheet covers. I left the plastic cover on the cages and all six did produce peppers late in the season. I'm planning on leaving some in pots this year with the majority going to garden in cages. This year half the cages will have the covers removed by the first of July.
You may have heard this all ready, but if you leave hot pepper plants potted up, in say a two gallon plastic pot, you can bring them indoors and enjoy fresh peppers throughout the winter months. And, if you haven't done this all ready, go back through the DG Pepper Forum. Lots of really good information you won't find anywhere else in books or on the net!
Herbie - I think the reason I had success starting those peppers at cool temps just like tomatoes is that they're sweet peppers and hybrids.
I've got a pot of hot peppers that I replanted inside the house where it's 10 degrees warmer than the shop where the sweet peppers are. I did that in December and the seedlings are the same size now as the sweet peppers I planted in March. It seems like hot peppers require a lot more heat to get started.
thanks for the infor. i have always planted hot peppers and had success with them by keeping them inside the heated area of the house. but i must say that the bhut jolokia's have been a chhallenge for me. i did not use a heat mat and of the 7 seeds i started only two came up.
i will post some pictures of them in a day or two or maybe later this morning.
Ozark...At what point did you remove your hot pepper seedlings from the heat mat and at what temperature do you maintain your shop and house?
My house thermostat is set at 58 F and sun light heats it up during the day time to as much as 65 F. My hot pepper plants have two or more sets of true leaves, and range between two to four inches tall. I'm hesitant to take them off the heat mat, at least during the night time. I remove the 7-inch tall clear plastic domes during the day and use a small fan for air circulation. This is as far as I have been able to go with any success at hot pepper seed planting...not sure at this point when to start weaning the seedlings from the heat pad. These particular heat pads do not come with thermostat controllers, but I do have timers.
"Ozark...At what point did you remove your hot pepper seedlings from the heat mat and at what temperature do you maintain your shop and house?"
mraider - I don't have a heat mat.
I planted my sweet peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos all on Mar. 4 in my carpenter shop where it's about 60 degrees. The peppers came up later than the tomatoes, but they're all doing fine at that temp.
Inside the house where it's about 65-70 I planted my hot peppers in a big pot by a south window. That was in December, and the hot peppers have taken 4 months to get to the same size the sweet peppers have in 1 month. That's why I think hot peppers must need more heat to get started than sweet peppers.
Here's a picture of the pot full of Maui Purple Peppers I've kept going for about 10 years. In December the old plants were looking bad so I pulled them all out except the one seedling on the right. I picked the dry hot peppers off the plants and crumbled the seeds into the soil, covered them lightly and kept them watered.
The big bare spot in the middle of the pot with no pepper plants is because of my 2 year old grandson who thought he'd play in the dirt. The chicken wire sleeve is an attempt to get him to quit that. lol
Interesting the difference in growth rate of sweet versus hot peppers. Think I will leave the heat mat on a while longer.
I have a similar problem with PK the cat digging in pots and even chewing the plants. That's part of the reason I went to using peat pots for sprouting seeds, and the larger domed covers for the holding flats.
Good information on temps Sam...logging that to my files.