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Sev's First Season - 2016

Hi All,
 
Thanks for reading - I've started this to use it as my own personal journey into the life of chilli growing. I'll generally be planning to update on a weekly basis with a photo, or some information on how things have gone. Hopefully in a few months I'll be neck deep in chillis....well thats the plan!  :onfire: Dream big I guess. I'm using this part as a record of what I'm doing so people, if they can chose to provide some insights on what I'm doing wrong, and also, so people like me out there in the world who are thinking about growing, might be motivated to try this out.
 
Picked up seeds from the Chilli Factory just north of sydney. Had to get some other things (hot sauce etc), and finally thought I'd dabble in growing. My prior history in gardening has been cleaning up my garden and planting some snow peas...so not really that good. But hey, you need to start somewhere. I'm determined to be successful and that to me, is the most important thing...keep banging my head against that wall until I've got some plants. Anyway, from my prior experiences I generally make chilli con carne with carolina reapers and habaneros, so I investigated those. Decided the price of reaper seeds, given my lack of experience was maybe not great, so went with two types of Trinidad Scorpion: Butch T and Caramel Morugas. For a third type, I decided to go with the Chocolate Habanero. The Caramel Moruga and Habanero were chosen in part because of their colouring, and secondly because the flavour of the Chocolate (smoky) is the type of flavour I love to impart into my chilli (which I will take photos of next time I cook).
 
So anyway (Just to set the scene for any new people - apologies for the detail); 
 
  • 10th September 2016: Seeds arrived
  • 11th September 2016: Planted in Amgrow seed raising mix (hadn't really thought about making my own soil - which I'm now investigating). Was watering around once a day with a light mist.
  • 13th September 2016: Realised my house (average around 20 degrees) wasn't warm enough and ordered a heat pad.
  • 16th September 2016: Started using the heat pad (set to 30 degrees), and started watering morning and nights, still a light mist.
  • 20th September 2016: Four little babies popped their heads up, all Butch T's. I jumped for joy, and though maybe just maybe I'll be eating my own chillis.
  • 21st September 2016: Fifth baby popped his head - hey this isn't so hard.
  • 22nd September 2016: First casulaty, seed bound and I tried to get it out...didnt work well and he died. A little bit of research makes me realise I should have heavily moistened the ground to help make the seed moist. 
  • 23rd -24th Sep 2016: A few more seeds sprouted (1 Caramel, 1 Moruga). Following on from NZchilli's advice moved planted seeds outside given the beautiful days we're getting for full sun. Unfortunately two more of the Trinidad scorpions just started drooping and didnt recover. I ended up (against NZchilli's advice) repotting all my individual plants that had sprouted (extremely carefully) into polystyrene cups with some more of the seed raising mix. As they were all a little tall (leggy is the correct term I believe) I buried the stalks a little. I read that doing this assists with additional root growth from the fine hairs on the stems. Lastly, a light Seasol watering of the newly transplanted stock and get them out into full sun (albeit with a plastic lid giving some protection). Moved everything that hadn't been planted back into the germination tray, with nine new seeds (three of each) to replace fatalities - though this time they were planted direct into polystyrene cups.
Lessons learnt:
 
Dont sweat the plants dieing...it's gonna happen, and thats half the challenge. This realisation lead me to planting nine more to cover off on that. Secondly, never using seed trays again, I want to be able to move sprouted seedlings individually without needing to repot the little sods. Lastly, a light mist, on the heat pad didnt seem to do enough. As I moved a few things around I noticed the soil maybe three-four mm's deep was bone dry. I'm going to water less often, but more thoroughly.
 
I'll upload some photos tomorrow of the repotted plants and the new germination tray.
 
I'll generally update this one a week with some info across the week.
 
Cheers,
 
Sev
 
 
 
Thanks Both.
 
I've added some photos, a couple of the repotted seedlings (one with yellow cotyledons...not sure if I've overwatered it) and the others as well. The mix is just pure seedling mix...I'm thinking about repotting them into a 1/3 garden soil, 1/3 compost, 1/3 Perilite/Vermiculite mix but given they've just been moved into these larger containers not sure if disturbing them is the right thing. I am worried that they aren't getting enough light or the seed raising mix is to compact. 
 
Beginner worries!
 
http://imgur.com/a/WAE67
 
Feel free to comment!
 
ps: how do you post images from Imgur direct into the body? I tried the image thing and the link and it said that it wasn't allowed....
 
You have to put [ img ] and [ /img ] before and after each image link. And you have to link to the direct image, not just the page with the image. So I don't think there's a way to do the whole album at once. It's a little tedious.

And don't put spaces between img and the brackets, I just had to do it that way so it would show up on the post.
 
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Sev said:
Thanks Both.
 
I've added some photos, a couple of the repotted seedlings (one with yellow cotyledons...not sure if I've overwatered it) and the others as well. The mix is just pure seedling mix...I'm thinking about repotting them into a 1/3 garden soil, 1/3 compost, 1/3 Perilite/Vermiculite mix but given they've just been moved into these larger containers not sure if disturbing them is the right thing. I am worried that they aren't getting enough light or the seed raising mix is to compact. 
 
Beginner worries!
 
http://imgur.com/a/WAE67
 
Feel free to comment!
 
ps: how do you post images from Imgur direct into the body? I tried the image thing and the link and it said that it wasn't allowed....
 
Doesn't look too dry at all. Between the air circulation and sunlight, it'll tend to dry from the surface down. I usually caution people against deciding whether or not it's time to water based on what it looks like on the surface. Let's say I get a really long, heavy rain. The next day, it's intensely sunny. By noon, the top half inch may look dry as a bone, while the rest of it is sitting in water. It's only something you can easily do with plants that have already rooted out into the pot, but I usually suggest gently popping one out of the pot and having a look at what's going on beneath the surface. Plants are like icebergs that way. Thick, vigorous, fuzzy white roots and no odd smells, you're doing great. Withered, shriveled brown roots, often with a slight sour or funky smell, too much water. It's a bit blurry, but here's a pic of what you want to see:
 

 
While you're at it, you might want to start paying attention to how heavy a pot of a given size is when you lift it. As you get more of a sense what "moist but not wet" means, you'll eventually be able to correlate it with the weight of a plant that needs water vs. one that doesn't. In other words, you'll be able to instinctively tell that the one-gallon pot you just picked up doesn't need water, even though the surface looks dry, because it's heavyish.
 
Also, I didn't realize you were using garden soil. If things are labeled the same as they are here in the US (and they probably are), you don't want to use garden soil for that. It's dense and doesn't drain well, leading to all kinds of problems. What you want is a potting mix, which is made with peat and/or coco coir, and doesn't contain any actual soil. Garden soil, you'd only really use for garden beds (and even then, I usually cut it heavily with potting mix to lighten it up, although it's more expensive).
 
Generally speaking, I'd wait until the seedlings have their first set of true leaves before transplanting them. They'll have a more established root mass at that point and you'll be less likely to lose them to transplant shock. 
 
Also, germination mixes generally don't have any fertilizer added to them, so they're a lot less than ideal for anything more than germinating seeds or rooting cuttings, although it can be done. They'll probably start to show some nutrient deficiencies by the time they've filled the cups with roots, but you can easily adjust for that by fertilizing once they're more established. For now, though, I wouldn't give them anything. They're pretty fragile when they're that small, and you don't want to cook 'em. Just stand back and watch the magic.  :whistle:
 
Jubnat thanks alot - really appreciate.
 
Testing [ img ] http://imgur.com/zI2Tdpn [ /img ]
 
Hmm...I added spaces in above, but when I did it without the spaces it said "an error occurred - you are not allowed to use that image extension in the community".
 
Mike - thanks for the help and the image - makes alot of sense. I've got another couple of babies sprouting up and I gave everything a good water today (weighted the pots before and after to help me keep track!)
 
Cheers,
 
Sev
 
Just sent you a pm

And you just want
 
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03rd October 2016.
 
A fairly eventful week. As from the first entry you'll know that I've been re potting them as soon as they sprout into cups, and starting to give them outside sun light. However some heavy wind last week on the 27th upended my entire tray of seedlings. My wife, bless her heart went out and tried to put everything back into containers for me as I was on the way home. Ended up getting home and cleaning everything up. I think I lost two to the accident, out of ten plants total. Anyway, seven days later, and the ones that have survived (barring two) are doing fairly well. We've had a couple of new comers move off the heat pad as well. They all received a water today so they soil is darker then normal..but as they say a pictures worth a thousand words so....
 
My top four performers...getting true leaves!
 
razmKK8.jpg

 
Next ones coming along well....
 
tP8FdZa.jpg

 
w4p3rQL.jpg

 
gVuCNR2.jpg

 
However these ones below don't seem to be doing great. The first has always been a bit runty and never really grown. The second has never had any colour at all. He's been white permanently. Also both of these look like they may have some mold on them as well. Are they worth keeping?
 
iYGcC8z.jpg

 
FCAkiGk.jpg

 
Lastly I had a surprise casualty one morning..I had a runty three cotyledon...I woke up one morning and his top had just come off and the stalk was a little black on both sides. It was like his head had just fallen off. Nothing was in the soil, and it happened inside so I'm assuming some type of mold?
 
So, 26 seeds planted in the first batch and 9 in the second batch (after the wind upended everything). So far, 17 from the first batch and 3 from the second batch (with 2 more coming up here). So 11 going strong, and 2 weak, with around a 50% mortallity rate unfortunately. But I've learnt heaps and had a blast. I'm investigating lights now to help the grow, so I can try and get some other plants going quickly.
 
Cheers,
 
Sev
 
My regular weekly update.
 
Things are going reasonably well, as you can see with my star seedling (I think he's a Scorpion - not sure). The only downside is we seem to have picked up a fungus gnat infection since they're outside in the sun lots now. I've picked up some 3% hydrogen peroxide, I'll let them have one more day of no water to dry the soil out and then give them a 1:4 h2o2 to water mix to kill the little buggers.
 
Started giving a weak mix of Seasol and water to the ones that have true leaves and will start giving a light epsom salts spray in the off weeks. As soon as they're around 2-3 inches tall I'll pot them up into 2.8l pots with a custom soil mix. Probably around four inches I'll top them to encourage stem thickening and bushiness.
 
8olN00j.jpg
 
Reasonably interesting week. Dealt with a small fungus gnat incursion on my seedlings with some H2O2 (3 percent Hydrogen Peroxide mix from my local chemist) mixed 1:4 with water - seems to have sorted them out nicely.
 
Went to Bunnings the other day to stock up on some things for the garden, and pick up some soil and swung through the plants section. They had a variety of specialist hot chillis, so whilst I'd only been planning to grow from seed I thought I'd jump start with some more babies straight away :). I grabbed, two Trinidad Butch T's, three Brain Killers, four Bhut Jolokia (one red, three white) and two habaneros (standard). Shot below (they look pretty healthy I think);
 
22IacyM.jpg

 
Whilst most look alright, the two habaneros look a little yellowish - I'm planning to re-pot all of them into three litre pots this weekend with a proper compost/coco/perilite/vermiculite mix and give them all an epsom salt hit and some seasol to help the transition. I'm going to assume the yellow was potentially over watering as they were indoors and see if they bounce back in a new pot. I was able to bag them all at half price for $2 each so I'm pretty chuffed with that. I've took pictures of the habanero's below. Lastly, underneath the habs, one of the Trinidad's appears to have some type of brown spotting - don't worry, or remove the leaf?
 
8HXNaMB.jpg

 
jDYecJW.jpg

 
AI331Fz.jpg

 
General Pruning: I'm actually thinking to prune some of the bottom leaves that are on the ground, and was also thinking of topping - should i wait for them to get over the stress of moving into a new pot or do it all at once? I'm thinking to thin some of the leaves as well, but might do that later after they recover from the topping. As always - appreciate you're perspectives. 
 
MrWrx - good luck with your grow too mate :)
 
pps: my seedlings are coming along well, and my fan arrived for my indoor grow - will post something on that soon.
 
Cheers,
 
Sev
 

Shorerider

Staff Member
Moderator
Extreme Member
Nice score on those plants Sev, they are a bargain at that price.
 
The yellowing is most likely just a nutrient deficiency. Being reduced in price shows that they were run out items, and have most likely run out of nutrients in the soil. A good feed, and a re-pot in some decent soil and I'm sure they'll green up.
 
I use Powerfeed with great results, from the first set of true leaves, all the way up to the end of the season (along with other fertilizers).
 
Those brown spots don't look like much to worry about, possibly just old leaf damage. If they spread to newer growth, then they could be an issue. 
 
Here's a useful chart to help in diagnosing any concerns you may encounter. 
a897c5f5484f7609f44e22f7edca0ad4.jpg

 
I look forward to seeing the progress of your season.
 
SR. 
 
Sev said:
Reasonably interesting week. Dealt with a small fungus gnat incursion on my seedlings with some H2O2 (3 percent Hydrogen Peroxide mix from my local chemist) mixed 1:4 with water - seems to have sorted them out nicely.
 
Went to Bunnings the other day to stock up on some things for the garden, and pick up some soil and swung through the plants section. They had a variety of specialist hot chillis, so whilst I'd only been planning to grow from seed I thought I'd jump start with some more babies straight away :). I grabbed, two Trinidad Butch T's, three Brain Killers, four Bhut Jolokia (one red, three white) and two habaneros (standard). Shot below (they look pretty healthy I think);
 
 
 
Whilst most look alright, the two habaneros look a little yellowish - I'm planning to re-pot all of them into three litre pots this weekend with a proper compost/coco/perilite/vermiculite mix and give them all an epsom salt hit and some seasol to help the transition. I'm going to assume the yellow was potentially over watering as they were indoors and see if they bounce back in a new pot. I was able to bag them all at half price for $2 each so I'm pretty chuffed with that. I've took pictures of the habanero's below. Lastly, underneath the habs, one of the Trinidad's appears to have some type of brown spotting - don't worry, or remove the leaf?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
General Pruning: I'm actually thinking to prune some of the bottom leaves that are on the ground, and was also thinking of topping - should i wait for them to get over the stress of moving into a new pot or do it all at once? I'm thinking to thin some of the leaves as well, but might do that later after they recover from the topping. As always - appreciate you're perspectives. 
 
MrWrx - good luck with your grow too mate :)
 
pps: my seedlings are coming along well, and my fan arrived for my indoor grow - will post something on that soon.
 
Cheers,
 
Sev
 
Wow nice score with the seedlings. Which Bunnings store was this & any more left?
 
Mrwrx - I grabbed them from my local Bunnings in Mascot. They were $4.00 but I said they looked a bit water logged and made a few disparaging comments (I was fishing for a bargain :) ). There were definitely some left when I took off. I'm going back today to get my mix to up pot so I'll let you know if there are still some there.
 
Shorerider - Cheers mate - that diagram is perfect - I've saved it to my computer for reference.
 
Will take some pictures of everything in the next day or two after I've transferred them into bigger pots. 
 
Cheers,
 
Sev
 
Good luck on your grow!
 
I like to bottom water the young plants. Example: plants are 2-3"s tall in 4" square pots, set them in a pan with 2"s (50mm?) of water. You don't want to keep the stems wet of young plants or they tend to damp off. You described that earlier....
 
Once they get larger and the stems get a bit "woody" it's not quite as important, but you never want them always wet.
 
Once again, good luck! A lot is learned the first year ;)
 
As for images, the easiest way is second row down, # 11 just to the left of the <> icon, click that, and add the full URL. Example: http://www.mypic.com/123.jpg<--bogus URL
 
Have fun!
 
So ended up repotting everything today with a mix of a few things:
 
1 x 25L Osmacote Vegetable, Herb and Tomato Mix
1 x 25L Scotts Pure Organic Compost
4 x 5L Perilite
2 x 5L Vermiculite
 
Mixed everything into two sixty litre bins and gave it a good mix.
 
Gave the plants a good drink a couple of hours before I started and boy was I glad. The damp mix stayed together much better then a dry mix, and after taking the plants out they were all majorly root bound. Required heavy teasing to break up the root balls before I put them into their new pots (3L pots). Afterwards gave a good water in with 1 x cap Seasol to 5L water. Lastly, because they'd been poorly potted (covering up low leaves) I topped the plants and cleared away low hanging leaves to create better air flow and open up new nodes. Hopefully the topping and repotting won't overly stress the plant over the next couple of days - will just give them light sunlight and keep them in the shade for most of the day if they aren't looking great.
 
Re-potted:
 
CWSPNf8.jpg

 
Topped / Pruned:
 
v83V3rK.jpg

 
Close up in the afternoon sun (2/3 White Bhut Jolokia's):
 
MynE8f2.jpg

 
Mrwrx: I picked them up from Mascot Bunnings - they were all out today when I went back. However, supposedly Alexandria got an order of super hots in (havent been there though).

Cheers,

Sev
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Sev, those topped and leaf-pruned plants are going to
explode with lateral branches once they get established!  
 
You're off to a good start!
 
Oh, yeah,   :welcome:
 
mrwrx said:
 
I need to start my own glog
 
Yes!   ;)
 
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