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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.
Hey Mas,
I have two types of grow bag. The smaller ones are 5 gallon and the bigger ones are 15 gallon. It's taken most of the season for the big grow bags to get filled out (i bought seedlings in October and only pulled three peppers off one of the plants. However, my Butch T is now around 5 feet tall, and has around 20 pods coming one branch and the other main branches are starting to get heavy flowers. All the other plants in the 15 gallons (three white bhuts and one red bhut) are starting to set buds now. I'm hoping weather will stay stable and I wont have drop.
On the other hand, the smaller pots, I've pulled pods off most of them. The habanero's have been the most proflific with around 20 pods towards the end of January (same buy time in October). The habanero's have already set the next round of pods already as well.