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seeds First from-the-seed year - some questions

     2020 will be the third year I've grown peppers. The first was a pitiful jalapeno in a 10" pot, but this last year I got some more pots and went with some smaller peppers that would survive my lack of growing skills... and it turned out great! Definitely hooked on the hobby now (as a side note, chemistry was my main hobby, but its about to be my career, so I figure I've gotta find a new one...).
 
     As the title says, I want to start growing from seeds this year. But I'm moving, and probably not going to have a well paying job till mid-season. Bonnie plants are way too expensive, and my local nursery doesn't have too much variety. I may pick up an aji or pubescens or habanada if I see one, but otherwise I pretty much just want to grow what I have in seeds already. I peeked around the forum a bit, and found a lot of specific threads: lighting, fertilizers, soil... the FAQ is probably the most helpful. But I just wanted to ask for advice about some of the details of growing a few plants from seeds - mainly what's worth it or not on the small scale. If there's already a thread about this sort of thing, I'm sorry I missed it! Also, I'm from Ohio (zone 6).
 
     My main issues are that I want to be cheap, and I've had 0% success at growing from seeds before. So, if you don't mind, these are just some questions I had:
 
- I was thinking three growth steps: cotyledon growth in some small tray system, then further growth of all seedlings in solo cups, then transferring to the main pots (some 10"-12" ones I have now). Is this a reasonable approach, size-wise for the containers, and with just the one light I mention below?
- A lot of my seeds grew mold on them, because of the way I stored them and because they hadn't fully dried out. Rookie mistake. But I saved them relatively early (they were just sitting on my porch in late fall), and tried to save the ones that didn't have any mold on them. I also got a few seeds out of peppers I was planning on drying. Should I just throw out all the seeds possibly exposed to mold? Is it sure fire they won't grow, or is it still dangerous, even if I H2O2 treat them? (I see there's a topic on moldy seeds right before this thread, so never mind!)
- Also, just another eye on some of these plans would be great, to tell me if any of them are unreasonable!
 
     I currently own:
  • 3 12" pots, a 10" pot, and three plastic pails some rose bushes came in that I was using.
  • a plastic stake made for plants to grow up
  • miracle-grow (shake on)
     What I plan on getting so far:
  • Dirt. The local Ace has $2 bags of potting soil, but it looks like any old topsoil to me, and from what I've heard, soil is important - so I may look into some better soils.
  • Solo cups, trays or something to grow from seed in (from greenhouse megastore maybe? What type is cost effective and easy to use?), and probably one or two more pots,
  • A light - I know there's a whole thread or two on them - I was thinking an amazon COB light because of power usage and how cheap one was on amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FKF6BT4) - has anyone reviewed this thing, or know if its junk or not? I suppose I'd probably want it to last three seasons at that price. I'll probably scale up or stop growing after than anyways.
     What do you think? Is this reasonable? Is there anything else I need, don't need, or should do a different way?
 
     The seeds I plan on growing (source):
  • Orange Hab (Bonnie)
  • Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (Local Greenhouse)
  • Cayenne (Bonnie)
  • Super Chili (From plants a friend gave me)
     I'll probably do three seeds for the Hab and Scorpion (keep at least one), and 5 for the cayenne and super chili, since I want to use those for powders (so keep maybe 2-3 ea.).
 
     Some things I've gathered, to change for this year, so far: Pinch pods early on, and fertilize more
 
     Thanks for any help, suggestions, or pointers you-all have. Sorry if I'm breaking a forum rule by pretty much just dumping my plans in here and asking for help.
 
-Pimental
 

The_NorthEast_ChileMan

Extreme Member
Pimental said:
2020 will be the third year I've grown peppers. The first was a pitiful jalapeno in a 10" pot, but this last year I got some more pots and went with some smaller peppers that would survive my lack of growing skills... and it turned out great! Definitely hooked on the hobby now (as a side note, chemistry was my main hobby, but its about to be my career, so I figure I've gotta find a new one...).
 
     As the title says, I want to start growing from seeds this year. But I'm moving, and probably not going to have a well paying job till mid-season. Bonnie plants are way too expensive, and my local nursery doesn't have too much variety. I may pick up an aji or pubescens or habanada if I see one, but otherwise I pretty much just want to grow what I have in seeds already. I peeked around the forum a bit, and found a lot of specific threads: lighting, fertilizers, soil... the FAQ is probably the most helpful. But I just wanted to ask for advice about some of the details of growing a few plants from seeds - mainly what's worth it or not on the small scale. If there's already a thread about this sort of thing, I'm sorry I missed it! Also, I'm from Ohio (zone 6).
 
     Thanks for any help, suggestions, or pointers you-all have. Sorry if I'm breaking a forum rule by pretty much just dumping my plans in here and asking for help.
 
-Pimental
I edited your post to touch base on a point, being seed starting - even just a few as noted. Never having done this you may want to review the links I posted in this thread, I want to grow really large pepper plants next year. You'll see there is a lot involved in successfully raising seeds to the size of Bonnie plants that you feel are expensive. If your seed starting fails those Bonnie plants will appear priceless.

I'm not posting this to dissuade you but to give you a heads up to the cost and possible failure ruining your 2020 pepper growing season. As always, YMMV.
 
The_NorthEast_ChileMan said:
I edited your post to touch base on a point, being seed starting - even just a few as noted. Never having done this you may want to review the links I posted in this thread, I want to grow really large pepper plants next year. You'll see there is a lot involved in successfully raising seeds to the size of Bonnie plants that you feel are expensive. If your seed starting fails those Bonnie plants will appear priceless.

I'm not posting this to dissuade you but to give you a heads up to the cost and possible failure ruining your 2020 pepper growing season. As always, YMMV.
Thanks for the reply, and the references to other threads! I'll read over them. I do want to still try to grow from seeds this year (it would be fun to see if there was any cross pollination between my plants, and I grow a cross - albeit that's pretty unlikely), but I can definitely resort back to Bonnie and my local nursery and a friend for pepper plants. I kind-of just want some practice this year, so I can get more unique seeds eventually, and be able to make use of them. Technically I can afford starting with seeds, failing, and still getting some Bonnie plants. I just can't afford to really dive into the hobby (which may end up being part of why the seed-starting fails - but who knows, we'll see).
 
Thanks,
Pimental
 

The_NorthEast_ChileMan

Extreme Member
Pimental said:
Dirt. The local Ace has $2 bags of potting soil, but it looks like any old topsoil to me, and from what I've heard, soil is important - so I may look into some better soils.
 
     Thanks for any help, suggestions, or pointers you-all have. Sorry if I'm breaking a forum rule by pretty much just dumping my plans in here and asking for help.
 
-Pimental
 
 
I edited your post to touch base on a point, this time potting media. Never use soil in containers/pots as it will (EDIT:) compact - unless heavily amended -Beginner questions about soil amendments.
 
 
ED720WV.jpg
 

The_NorthEast_ChileMan

Extreme Member
Pimental said:
The seeds I plan on growing (source):
Orange Hab (Bonnie)
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (Local Greenhouse)
Cayenne (Bonnie)
Super Chili (From plants a friend gave me)BREED/F1 Hybrid
 
     Thanks for any help, suggestions, or pointers you-all have. Sorry if I'm breaking a forum rule by pretty much just dumping my plans in here and asking for help.

I edited your post to touch base on another point, this time it's the seed source and potential issues with F1 or "hybrid".

Bonnie plants are hybrids, [url=http://thehotpepper.com/topic/70142-would-these-seeds-be-viable-and-worth-planting/?p=1592739]would these seeds be viable and worth planting?

And so are Super Chili (From plants a friend gave me)BREED-F1 Hybrid

And then of course there's the "crossed" issue if you didn't isolate.>Eating mysterious peppers and my own words. (A rant on crossed seeds)

Again, not trying to dissuade - just advising of the pitfalls!
 
(EDIT: Can't seem to make "Links" work?)
 
The_NorthEast_ChileMan said:
 
 
I edited your post to touch base on a point, this time potting media. Never use soil in containers/pots as it will (EDIT:) compact - unless heavily amended -Beginner questions about soil amendments.
 
 
 
 
Thank you for pointing this out! I had a couple plants do really well in the soil last year, and one absolutely terribly - it was probably due to varying amounts of packing in the soil. Good to know, I'll use a potting mix, or make one, from now on.
The_NorthEast_ChileMan said:
I edited your post to touch base on another point, this time it's the seed source and potential issues with F1 or "hybrid".

Bonnie plants are hybrids, would these seeds be viable and worth planting?
And so are Super Chili (From plants a friend gave me)BREED-F1 Hybrid

And then of course there's the "crossed" issue if you didn't isolate.>Eating mysterious peppers and my own words. (A rant on crossed seeds)

Again, not trying to dissuade - just advising of the pitfalls!
 
(EDIT: Can't seem to make "Links" work?)
I had totally forgotten about that, oof, thanks. Again, I'll probably still grow them out, for fun, but I'll definitely have a back-up (bonnie and the local nursery) ready. At the very least, it persuades me to grow more of the Scorpion that I'm more sure wasn't a hybrid, hah...
 
And for some reason the links only worked inside the quote in the reply box, but I followed them.
 
Thanks again.
 
Edit: Oh, and one last question if you don't mind: I hear of people starting peppers in January, or even now - should I be starting that early, in my zone? Or perhaps at least starting my Scorpions and Habs?
 
I have a few 8" plants happily growing right now. Root development is solid. Seem to be happy enough. I'll start more in Jan, then another round each month. My "grow tent" is a file cabinet in my office closet. Employer pays the elec bill. Ha.

Thought of growing in 5 gal buckets? Cheap and easy. BigMike on here has a glog with pics of his plants in lots o 5 gals. Just another alternative.
 

The_NorthEast_ChileMan

Extreme Member
Pimental said:
Edit: Oh, and one last question if you don't mind: I hear of people starting peppers in January, or even now - should I be starting that early, in my zone? Or perhaps at least starting my Scorpions and Habs?
fishhead said:
I have a few 8" plants happily growing right now. Root development is solid. Seem to be happy enough. I'll start more in Jan, then another round each month. My "grow tent" is a file cabinet in my office closet. Employer pays the elec bill. Ha.
 
As noted by FishHead, many growers get an early start but the caveat here is ability to grow without plants getting leggy or more disastrous results like damping off.
 
@  FishHead, got some pix of your "grow room" to help with this?
 
TNECM, 
Hopefully the pics show up well enough.  This is just for getting them started.  Once too large, they move out to a shop light set-up.  The footprint of the cabinet is about 2x4.  I had to turn the overhead led off due to horizontal lines in on the camera, but there is plenty of light in there, the aluminum foil helps out a lot.  A couple of pc fans to move air around and stabilize the temps.  My pots are treepots.  They allow for many spacing options, and the roots I'm getting seem to be pretty good.  The plant pic is a Thai that is about 1 month out from germination, even after given some neglect.
 
 
 
cabinet2.jpg

roots2.jpg
 
fishhead said:
TNECM, 
Hopefully the pics show up well enough.  This is just for getting them started.  Once too large, they move out to a shop light set-up.  The footprint of the cabinet is about 2x4.  I had to turn the overhead led off due to horizontal lines in on the camera, but there is plenty of light in there, the aluminum foil helps out a lot.  A couple of pc fans to move air around and stabilize the temps.  My pots are treepots.  They allow for many spacing options, and the roots I'm getting seem to be pretty good.  The plant pic is a Thai that is about 1 month out from germination, even after given some neglect.
 
 
That's quite the nice plant there, and a nifty set-up. Thanks for the suggestions! I have a 5-gal bucket or two I could convert, for growing - I'll have to look at Big Mike's thread.
 
And regarding early grow times, I might start a few when spring break begins, we'll see.
 
willard3 said:
If you're looking for cheap, growing chiles is the wrong hobby.    :surprised:
Well, everybody says that about their own hobbies - in "hobby chemistry" we would say the same thing. In chemistry, the equipment is an investment, but long-lasting, and usually at least some reagents will be cheap. In pepper-growing, it seems the basic equipment is cheaper, but there are more expendables. Regardless, both hobbies have ways of doing things 'inexpensively' - which can't quite be said about other hobbies, like sports cars and boat racing.
 
willard3 said:
Mylar is more reflective than aluminum foil.
Flat white paint works almost as well. There is really no need for Mylar.

And while I truly think you should learn to grow from seed being you are in Ohio, drive down to Cincinnati and visit Funke's Greenhouse. Al and Ted really know their sh*t. Last year they had something like 250 varieties available. They do they're own iso grows and everything. Really great people, seriously you should check them out and tell them Pepper Fish sent ya!

http://www.funkes.com/
 
I don't know if I missed it but what problems did you have growing from seeds? Germination? Leggy? Didn't make it when moved outside?
 
As far as being on the cheap. I would take a drive to a dollar store near you. I have had luck picking up mini green houses that I believe have 12 spots per tray. Seed starter is $5 at home depot. I went cheap my first year, it didn't end well. Not bad and most of it was learning. 
 
It would be helpful if you shared your issues. 
 
Another thing to save money - Power strip LED Lights - I just cut mine in the length of my shelves and then put them in a row to get more light. Have to solder them so that can be an issue. Not sure on the light you posted, I was looking at it as well. Curious what others have to say.
 
Also, Perlite is realy helpful to keep the soil from compacting. That made the biggest difference in my grows.
 
santis00 said:
I don't know if I missed it but what problems did you have growing from seeds? Germination? Leggy? Didn't make it when moved outside?
 
As far as being on the cheap. I would take a drive to a dollar store near you. I have had luck picking up mini green houses that I believe have 12 spots per tray. Seed starter is $5 at home depot. I went cheap my first year, it didn't end well. Not bad and most of it was learning. 
 
It would be helpful if you shared your issues. 
 
Another thing to save money - Power strip LED Lights - I just cut mine in the length of my shelves and then put them in a row to get more light. Have to solder them so that can be an issue. Not sure on the light you posted, I was looking at it as well. Curious what others have to say.
 
Also, Perlite is realy helpful to keep the soil from compacting. That made the biggest difference in my grows.
Thanks for the suggestions! I have tried to start from seed before, but couldn't get it to germinate. But I hadn't, done any research, and just didn't realize how (relatively) involved it would be. I'll check those items out soon. I have a soldering iron, so no problem there. And I've been getting that idea, that past plants have been iffy because the soil was too compact/dense, so I'm definitely going to opt for some perlite or pre-mixed stuff.
 
 
Right now, I've been having trouble with the plastic bag/napkin germination method. I soaked the seeds in ~3% H2O2, and had been heating them from a 25W incandescent bulb in a desk lamp at ~4in. distance, but realized the seeds were still pretty cold that way. So I switched to a 65W halogen (effectively 100W) over the bag, at the same distance. Should have known better. I came back after work, and found them very hot. Not sure if they got too hot, but when I opened the bag, it smelled a little toasted/nutty. And the napkin had browned a bit in the places it had dried out (though I noticed that later). I moved the lamp back a few inches, moistened the napkin, and a few days later re-moistened it, but had no germination whatsoever. My guess is I toasted the seeds. I have plenty to try with again, but - any suggestions? Or should I use a different method, better equipment, etc.?
 
If you are having trouble germinating seeds, then I recommend just using a seedling tray on top of a heat mat for germination. A setup like this: https://www.amazon.com/CK64050-Germination-Station-Listed-72-Cell/dp/B000HHO1RO/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=hydrofarm+germination+station&qid=1579476139&s=lawn-garden&sr=1-5
 
Yes, there is an initial cost. But you can reuse it year after year. And as long as you don't allow the cells to dry out completely, and your seeds are good to begin with (this is key!) then most of the seeds should germinate for you. You will just need to ensure that the cells don't dry out, while also taking care not to overwater since newly germinated seedlings can easily fall victim to damping off. That is why I suggest removing the humidity dome once the seeds begin to germinate. You won't need to put a light on them until they start to germinate, but as soon as they do you should be ready with a good light source. If you have a south facing window that lets in a lot of sunlight that can help too. Remember that providing adequate light is at least as important as nutrition if you want your seedlings to grow.
 
Pimental said:
I soaked the seeds in ~3% H2O2
 
Did you use straight 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Solution?
 
That might be too strong.  Usually I put about a tablespoon of 3% HOOH in a cup or so of water for my soak.
 
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