My Zone 6a, CT, 1st Time Growing From Seed

This is my first time growing peppers from seed. Previous years I’ve only bought a few nursery grown. Sometime last year I found a passion for growing peppers, and here I am now. Spent end of last summer/early fall planning out indoor grow needs with supplies, buying seeds, getting everything I would need. I started another section of property for spring time planning all my hot/sweet peppers. I’m in zone 6a, CT. These were started on 12/29/2019 after a 1 hour peroxide soak, followed by 10 hours room temp water soak. 
 
I'm doing several stages of growing, so I'll just name based on date, batch 1, batch 2, etc in linked posts to help identify.
 
All of these are seeds purchased from Pepper Joe, Sandia Seeds, and seeds I’ve collected myself from peppers. I found the best germination rates & thriving were sandia (80-100%) > my own (70-90%) > pepper joe (50-70%). I’m happy with overall germination rates; if 1 out of 2 at the bare minimum germinated, I’m content with that. The pepper setup is in my basement, in same room as a pellet stove.  Low humidity, so being sure to bottom water thoroughly and occasionally spritz the top has worked out well. I have 3 adjustable x2bulb 4 foot full spectrum lights on a timer. There’s a little fan I have hooked up I run for a few hours a day for fair flow and hardening up the stems. I also have a few of those little small digital thermometer with humidity reading. Miracle grow starter mix, then miracle grow potting mix. These have been potted up from little plug dome I had picked up.  The foil isn’t a grow tent, it’s mylar blankets I picked up cheap to line behind, below and to sides of peppers to help bounce heat/light.
 
Videos from Khang Starr, the rusted garden, 7pot club definitely gave me the ambition to go for it this season. Yes, the peppers were bottom watered moments before photo.
 
Currently you can see (batch 1):
Numex Habanero/Habanada x4
Orange Habanero x4
Khang Starr Lemonstarburst x2
Chocolate Douglah x4
Carolina Reaper x5
Red Scotch Bonnet x2
Butch T Scorpion X Carolina Reaper  x1
Ghost Pepper x4
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion  x2
Chocolate Bhutlah  x1
Bhutlah Bubblegum 7 Pot Choc X  x3
Chocolate Carolina Reaper  x1
 
Others germinated waiting to be potted up (batch 1):
Carolina Reaper  x4
Chocolate Carolina Reaper x1
Yellow Carolina Reaper x2
Red Savina Habanero  x2
Orange Habanero x1
 
Additional seeds planted 9 days ago awaiting germination (batch 2):
Carolina Reaper x8
Red Savina Habanero  x2
Chocolate Habanero  x2
Yellow Carolina Reaper  x4
Dragon’s Breath  x6
Ghost Pepper x8
 
 
 
Pot in Pot design. Few months ago I posted some photos of the pot in pot design. I wanted to be able to grow longer inside but without having to pot up, well not necessarily. I came up with my own cheap way to grow them longer inside increasing their rooting immensely, and just trimming back and topping as needed. This way I could keep more of them in a smaller area and still get air flow and take care of them. These are 3.5" wide at top pots and 5.5" deep. I keep the bottom pot in its entirety, the "top" i cut the bottom off, flip over an place the top edge of it against the existing one, duct tape it well in place. 
 
This worked for the plants that were already in 4-5.5" deep. I bottom water,  so I just put the peppers in a  rubbermaid tote, fill it with water up to about half way mark (where the 2 pots meet) and the roots grow grow grow. As you can see from some of my posts, this let me work with a much smaller space and turned out real well this season in my pepper garden.
 
Yes, the original image shows it only 3" deep, I ended up choosing 5.5" due to how well they were growing. Smaller pots would work too, but for me I wanted as much root growth as possible. I ended up (with this method) 11" deep. You can get tree pots and do the same, but they are usually like 1.5-2" wide.
 
Planting out, I cut down the side of the top pot with a pair of scissors (pull it outward and cut so you don't nip the roots), then peel the tape back. If you are doing this in your lap or flat surface, the top peels back like a banana, and you're left with all the beautiful rooting.
 

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ahayastani

Extreme Member
I use plastic grow bags that are mainly used for tree seedlings. These grow bags are somewhat higher to promote root growth. I fold the bags so as to occupy only 50-60% of it. As the plant grows, I can unfold these bags to full size and add soil on top. I use this trick for tomatoes. No cutting, no puffing, just unfolding and stuffing.
 
 
R4bHwqW.jpg
 
Here's a few photos from the past few days. I raised the top of the shade cloth about a foot and they've been growing like weeds. Very sturdy-hearty plants and bushy filled in and strong. Recently posted about my reapers, well; they're ripening and coming in. Some are not true to form, at least the earliest ones on the plant don't seem to be but as more come in they seem closer to the usual shape.  
 
Also include some scorpions, the weird "scotch bonnet" cross, some ghosts, orange habs. 
 
Enjoy! From my Pepper Garden in CT to you all.
 
 
 

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Took a few new photos today. They've grown a ton, and have been putting out more peppers than I can keep up with processing. The amount of reapers, ghosts, habs, thai and the weird scotch bonnet annum cross, has been insane. I've made pastes, sauces, salsa, and dried for rubs/flakes so far. I figure I'll get at least another 6 weeks out of season so I'll be rolling in them by then. This is a fraction of it. Enjoy!
 
Few haven't put out much, mainly a certain place I got a portion of my seeds, the plants don't seem true, or they are very low producers or haven't flowered. Disappointed my douglahs/bhutlah's haven't done anything yet, same for the dragon's breath I have is just starting to bloom finally.
 

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Definitely found this year challenging. Too many different types makes it hard for uses. Next year I plan to cut down on the different types and just bolster more of a few types. Originally got seeds off pepper joe, sandia, bohica, reddit, collect few off plans previous season to name a few sources. Def not pleased with a certain source out of that between bad germinations and plants simply not true to form or simply not what I bought the seeds to be as. Especially considering the cost of some of those seeds from that source (need I say more). I've saving a lot of seeds myself now for my own uses, bit sad the douglah's and bhutlahs simply didn't put out at all, and are basically just green plants with no flowers. Too many from that 1 source weren't true or seemed to struggle more than others to grow.
 
The seeds I got from sandia were great, same from bohica. 
 
I'm a bit past due on final season update as things have been quite busy and some points I've learned this year. This is kind of some final thoughts and points I'm mentioning from this year learning. In early september I removed the shade cloth. I probably should've done that sooner. The plants had begun getting leggy. Once removed, they exploded with peppers. I also found that at end of year they were a bit close and not enough light. Next year I can avoid the shade cloth setup and do a better job hardening them off. 
 
I also found there was a bunch of plants that either grew and didn't produce, or those were not true-to shape peppers. Those plants were seeds from PJ's. Found as my first big year growing more than a few nursery plants that spending more $ doesn't equate out to better seeds or better overall growth. I had some plants that I had double bucket 2 plants per 5 gallon. I think that had some impact on growth and space. The bell peppers didn't like it that much, yet the jalapenos did perfectly fine and produced more jalapenos than I could eat. I had started these in 2 waves, some a few days before end of December, and others towards end of January. I did find myself running out of space and it was difficult as heck to maintain them inside. I managed with the aforementioned double pot thing I did, and they rooted extremely well. I do think next year I will be starting later though. I planted out here around Mid-May, I'm thinking early march is a good time to start to be ready in zone 6a?
 
Given this was my 1st year doing anything besides a few nursery, every plant survived from seedling all the way to transplant and all season long. They went through and survived a hard freeze, hurricane, and everything from beetle to aphids to leafhoppers I had to treat and managed them. I would say that even though I started so early, they grew quite well and it ended up making them very strong for spring transplanting.
 
My final cleanout was a week into October, after having to winterize/wrap them mid-september for hard freezes into 20's, which they survived. I ended up with about 1,800 peppers ripe/unriped. I ended up turning it into beef jerky, hot cucumber/pepper pickles, blueberry hot sauce, pineapple hot sauce, reaper paste, hot relish, hot pepper infused honey, and a bunch simply dried to be used elsewise. I am overwintering 1 of my reapers, though I'm getting black spots on leaves now (about 1.5 months in) so not sure if I had added too much fertilizer on moving in or if simply picked up something when watering from bucket to bucket to bottom water still.
 
Final thoughts: I'm probably going to start them later this year. I've learned that seed sources matter more, and I'm buying isolated or tried 'n true (like from pucker for reapers). I had so many types last year, it became challenging with different ripening times and types. I'm focusing on only a few types this upcoming year. I'm planning to reduce the amount of plants and space them out a little more to make it easier to manage. I absolutely loved my pepper garden and the learning and I think my decision to go all-in was 110% worth it. I think this year proved I'm a pepperhead gardener more than I realized.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Glad you can look back on your garden as a success.
 
You might think about posting your vendor experience
into the Vandor Vault forum just so others can learn from
your experience.
 
It has been a huge learning experience. It taught me a lot of what I need to do going forward, as I tried to sum up earlier.
 
I'm pretty sure it's well known PJ's is that way. Had I done a little more research I would've seen that, but the flashy site and high prices almost begged to be good. I can't say they are all bad, because that wouldn't be true. Though I did have more issues with germination and not-true peppers than anything/anywhere else. I had peppers I took for haha's from pods dehydrated previous year at 145F that I was able to germinate into 2 beautiful orange habs. 
 
I'll think about it, but I think anyone who's just getting into this won't be looking deep in here yet. I know I didn't find it right away & wish I had here.
 
Focusing on only a few types next year and less total plants. I'll get same output but less to take care of and let them grow bigger & bushier.
 
Awesome brother looks like you had a helluva season. I'm ready for round 2. I can't wait to get seeds in dirt haha. Thinking of starting mine around end of January but it's gonna be a task to keep up with them until my mothers day plant out. Look for me in the glogs!
 
Take a look earlier in this log with the double pot thing I did. It basically allowed me to grow longer inside & extend the root growth but not the width. It's kind of jimmy-rigged but it worked amazingly well for me. I'm dying to want to get going again, but I know if I do that now I'll be paying for it with plants that are way too big to be in a heated basement under a grow light on a table.
 
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