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seeds Question about when to start seeds

Hello everyone,
 
This is my first year starting plants from seeds. I live in St. Louis (zone 6a) and from what I can tell, the typical time to plant seeds is 8-10 weeks before the expected last frost of 2020 (the last frost for STL is April 15th).
 
That means that I should start my seeds around February 15th... however I see many folks on Facebook (including 7 Pot Club and Jimmy Pickles) have started their seeds already, and they live in even cooler areas than myself.
 
I was seeking advice as to whether it is OK to plant my seeds now, considering there are still 13 weeks left until the expected last frost in my gardening zone. I don't want to start them too early, but is 13 weeks too soon?
 
I am growing my seedlings in one of these:
https://pepperjoe.com/products/indoor-growing-kit?_pos=61&_sid=7759fe2bb&_ss=r
 
Will they outgrow this container in 13 weeks? The seeds have not been pre-soaked and are fresh from a seed distributor.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
A lot depends on your grow season, especially in the Fall.
If your season basically ends in mid-September, you might
want to start earlier. Also, how much room you have to
sequester plants and harden them off in the Spring. It gets
to be a bear trying to move two-foot tall plants in half-gallon
containers every day.
 
Edit: Your grow station looks great for germination, but I
imagine your plants will outgrow that in 13 weeks, and
you may wind up having to transplant to larger containers.
 
Probably not much help, but good luck going forward.
 
That apparatus looks fine, but 13 weeks is a bit long.  You would likely get some pretty solid root growth, and bunched up a bit on the top. 
 
Chorizo857_62J said:
That apparatus looks fine, but 13 weeks is a bit long.  You would likely get some pretty solid root growth, and bunched up a bit on the top.
 
If I transplanted the seedlings into bigger cups after about 10 weeks and kept them inside a few weeks under flourescent bulbs would they be OK until I moved them outside, do you think?
 
PaulG said:
A lot depends on your grow season, especially in the Fall.
If your season basically ends in mid-September, you might
want to start earlier. Also, how much room you have to
sequester plants and harden them off in the Spring. It gets
to be a bear trying to move two-foot tall plants in half-gallon
containers every day.
 
Edit: Your grow station looks great for germination, but I
imagine your plants will outgrow that in 13 weeks, and
you may wind up having to transplant to larger containers.
 
Probably not much help, but good luck going forward.
Would you recommend moving the seedlings into cups likes these once they get too big? (I would punch holes for drainage)
 
https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-16oz-Disposable-Plastic-Cups/dp/B072MFJ3KP/ref=asc_df_B072MFJ3KP/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=216576399527&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=3729624631285129620&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9022877&hvtargid=pla-387868804038&psc=1
 
And then, I'm guessing I would keep the transplanted seedlings under florescent lights for a few weeks until they were ready to be transplanted again to pots outdoors.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Right on all accounts. A large number of forum members
use the double cup method - one with holes for the plant,
one without holes for a sleeve to catch any water that flows
out the bottom. I usually water them with the sleeve on, and
then when the water is all sucked up out of the sleeve, I remove
it so the roots don't grow out the bottom of the cup. This has
worked well for me.
 
That being said, this year I'm using quart-sized, recycled yogurt
containers just to see how they work out. The idea being that
the larger size means going longer before potting up needs to
happen.
 
Good luck with whatever you decide. Looking through a few
grow logs will give you a ton of ideas.
 
PaulG said:
Right on all accounts. A large number of forum members
use the double cup method - one with holes for the plant,
one without holes for a sleeve to catch any water that flows
out the bottom. I usually water them with the sleeve on, and
then when the water is all sucked up out of the sleeve, I remove
it so the roots don't grow out the bottom of the cup. This has
worked well for me.
 
That being said, this year I'm using quart-sized, recycled yogurt
containers just to see how they work out. The idea being that
the larger size means going longer before potting up needs to
happen.
 
Good luck with whatever you decide. Looking through a few
grow logs will give you a ton of ideas.
OK gotcha, thanks Paul.
 

96strat

Extreme Member
I started thanksgiving and now have larger plants. One 3 weeks before I put them outside I will top them. They should come back with many shoots in 3 weeks.
 

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PaulG said:
Right on all accounts. A large number of forum members
use the double cup method - one with holes for the plant,
one without holes for a sleeve to catch any water that flows
out the bottom. I usually water them with the sleeve on, and
then when the water is all sucked up out of the sleeve, I remove
it so the roots don't grow out the bottom of the cup. This has
worked well for me.
 
That being said, this year I'm using quart-sized, recycled yogurt
containers just to see how they work out. The idea being that
the larger size means going longer before potting up needs to
happen.
 
Good luck with whatever you decide. Looking through a few
grow logs will give you a ton of ideas.
 
Thanks Paul.  I am having this issue now and I don't know why I never thought of taking the outer cup off to stop roots growing out of the bottom!
Sometimes the simplest things..........! :rolleyes:
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Tybo said:
 
Thanks Paul.  I am having this issue now and I don't know why I never thought of taking the outer cup off to stop roots growing out of the bottom!
Sometimes the simplest things..........! :rolleyes:
 
My hope is that it helps create a denser
and ‘bushier’ root mass. It also keeps the
sleeve cups from becoming dank.
 
So, I am in zone 6b in NY. In past years, I started my seeds mid February and did not get high yields of ripe pods. This year I have already out a round in for germ. But will most likely take advantage of a setup I had a few years ago for organizing and keeping everything in solo cups. If I can find a picture, I will post it. I know they are in my first glog if you wanna search yourself. Just an idea.
 
Blitz527 said:
So, I am in zone 6b in NY. In past years, I started my seeds mid February and did not get high yields of ripe pods. This year I have already out a round in for germ. But will most likely take advantage of a setup I had a few years ago for organizing and keeping everything in solo cups. If I can find a picture, I will post it. I know they are in my first glog if you wanna search yourself. Just an idea.
Why do you think you didn't get high yields? Did you start the seeds too early or too late?
 
Started to late. Plants came to maturity later because I started them late. We also have had a water problem in the early season months, the ground is saturated and we have had a lot of standing water, so my plant out date has been pushed a few weeks before, but that could be partially why I had low yields. I am by no mean a pro. I have just been taking the advice of a few great people here (Paul g, d3monic, pepper guru to name a few) and molding what they have said into something I can utilize here. I haven't separated Chinese, annum, pubescence etc. I just start them all around the same time.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
This is the problem with trying to grow peppers
in an environment not similar to their home ranges,
and with generally much shorter grow seasons.
We jump through all kinds of hoops to keep the
plants growing, but not too much, and to keep
them warm and illuminated until plant-out in May
or even June   :crazy: One must be sort of masochistic
to grow peppers north or south of their home range!
 
@ Blitz527: I am honored to be mentioned in the same
breath as Pepper Guru and d3monic. You are very kind  :oops:
 
Im in Missouri as well, and to me the timing is all in how much maintenance you wanna put into the plants, I  start my plants around the first week of February,  and have found to have very good results every year and you might wanna find all your parts for your germination kit on amazon you save about $40 with a much better light
 
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