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Topic: Starting Peppers - what am I doing wrong?

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Subject: Starting Peppers - what am I doing wrong?
Date Posted: 3/25/2012 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2011
Posts: 2,958
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I'm attempting to start some peppers from seed. I planted 12 each jalapeno and haberneros a few weeks ago. I have one habernero plant that's coming along pretty well, it's not growing very fast but it seems to have a nice strong stem and isn't getting spindly at all so that's a good thing. The others seem to have sprouted up and that's about it. A couple are just barely starting to get their second set of leaves but they're only about 1/2" tall. My jalapenos are coming up and mostly dying a few days later. I have one that's been hanging in there, but it's not very healthy looking. I have them on a heated mat (designed for seed starting), under a grow light. I am keeping the light really low on them, but it's supposed to be a cool light so it shouldn't be burning them. 

I started them in coconut mulch. I've been careful to just keep them moist - not soggy. I haven't been fertilizing them, but yesterday I did put a couple drops of diluted fish fertilizer on each one for the first time.

Anybody have some idea why my jalapenos keep dying? Maybe I should have started feeding them sooner.

Date Posted: 3/26/2012 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 1,065
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sounds like you are doing everyything right. I looked up coconut mulch and it said it is cured is salt water  here is a link  You generally do not need to feed till plants are larger or use a soil with slow release fertilizer.

http://www.ehow.com/list_7688664_drawbacks-problems-coconut-mulch.html



Last Edited on: 3/27/12 12:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 3/26/2012 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2011
Posts: 2,958
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Thanks Joan - maybe that's the problem. This is Burpee super seed starting mulch - but it's basically just coconut mulch. I haven't ever used it before, but I haven't ever tried to start hot peppers before either. I guess we'll see how the rest of my plants do.

Date Posted: 3/27/2012 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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I have much better luck starting seeds in Miracle Grow potting mix.  My issue is I can't get enough light to them, need to buy a grow light.

Date Posted: 3/31/2012 11:25 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2011
Posts: 2,958
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I most definitely will not be using this Burpee mix again. Just about everything that's coming up is sick looking. I'm probably going to end up restarting my tomatoes.

Date Posted: 4/1/2012 8:48 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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I am totally done with all things Burpee.  They are too expensive, and there are better options locally.  This is the first time I have heard of their soil mix having a problem, but will just add that to the ever growing list.

Date Posted: 4/2/2012 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2011
Posts: 2,958
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Reload - I just started over on almost everything, except habernos and jalapenos - I give up on those. I'm using the Miracle Grow mix this time.

Date Posted: 4/3/2012 5:21 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
Posts: 6,701
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I can't grow squat from seeds.  It's plants for me.

Date Posted: 4/3/2012 10:16 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2011
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Deb, the first year I ever tried to start from seeds I did tomatoes. I didn't have a grow light or heat mat or anything and they did just great. I haven't had any success since then, but it's something to do. I keep thinking I'm doing all the same things as the greenhouses are, I should be able to do it. Hopefully it will pay off one day.

Date Posted: 4/21/2012 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,450
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Mostly for tomatoes, as in 80 plants, I use equipment I bought from Parks. Grow domes, I think they call them. I used the smaller, finger-sized plugs at first, but switched to the larger ones and they work better. Plant gets to a more viable size before its roots outgrow the plug. I also use a heat blanket to get them started.

A lot of instructions come with Parks's stuff, and if you pay attention to it, you shouldn't have problems. Just this year, I looked at 80 plugs that my sister-in-law let die last year when they were left in her care for two weeks. I cleaned them up pretty good and planted new seeds. MISTAKE. Right now I have 14 viable plants ready to move to the 3 inch pot things. You can use stuff over like that, plugs, dirt, etc. But first you must cook it in the oven for about 4 hours at 225 degees. There will be something in the soil that will get you the same results I got. And I knew better.

You must put them in a fairly light place as soon as they sprout. Otherwise they will be too too leggy and prone to damp off. (croak off).

Peppers, on the other hand, I have just about given up on. They must be kept warm or they won't germinate. Still, my germination rate has always been maybe ten percent. Even a professional grower I know says peppers are very difficult to grow from seed.

As for fertilizing them, I don't use anything until they have 4-8 leaves. Then I use something by Miracle grow that says it is just for tomatoes. But I mix it not as strong as recommended, as little bitty tomatoes are pretty sensitive, even when the fertilizer is soaked up from below. As long as the leaves are medium to dark green, I don't recommend much fertilizer until tomatoes are outside and a foot tall. Then I side dress it carefully with 13-13-13.

Subject: Be patient when growing peppers
Date Posted: 4/24/2012 7:54 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 1,065
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They take a long time to germinate . I was ready to throw some out that had been planted almost a month ago so I dumped one pot and looked thru the soil the seed was germinated  so will wait a little longer. Others I just let go and they are finally up. Also when the start to grow they seem slow but when they are 3 or 4 inches they start to grow faster.

Date Posted: 4/27/2012 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2011
Posts: 2,958
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Of all the peppers I started only 4 plants are surviving but they seem to be doing pretty good. None of my hot peppers survived. My tomatoes I restarted are doing awesome though. Thank you for the tip on changing to Miracle Grow potting mix Carole! I'm in Minnesota so they're still inside but I've been able to let them sit outside for a few hours this past week. Otherwise I have them on a heating mat and under a grow light - I also put a fan on them for a few hours a day. I'm crossing my fingers that they'll continue to do well for a few more weeks until I can move them out to the garden.

Subject: good luck my peppers were slow too .
Date Posted: 5/3/2012 8:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 1,065
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Posted pictures of tomatoes in greenhouse



Last Edited on: 5/10/12 11:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/1/2012 3:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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You're welcome, louieg!!