This week we’re cutting the cold with hot pepper seed sowing! It may seem early but hot peppers grow a bit slower, so now is the time to get them going. We’ll cover all the nitty gritty, from soil needs, to light requirements and beyond. So get out your gloves and get ready to plant some seeds!
As your hot pepper seeds will take some time to get growing (they can take anywhere from 14-30+ days to germinate) we recommend being clean and thorough with your seed starting. We’ll be using the paper towel method to control as many variables as possible and you’ll want some disposable sanitary gloves to protect your seeds/seedlings from your own bacterial biome. To start, prepare a container with a 50/50 mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide. Soak seeds in this mixture for about 5 minutes to kill any bacteria that may be living on the seed coating (from this point on we’ll be wearing our protective gloves). Then make up a glass or bowl of warm water and soak seeds overnight. While your future plants are getting a little spa treatment, prepare plastic tubs with lids or re-sealable plastic bags and paper towels for each of the plant types that you are germinating. You’ll also want either a heat mat and hand towel, or a cleared space on top of your refrigerator.
After your seeds have soaked, wet (but don’t soak) your paper towels and place your seeds on the towels. Fold the paper towels once, keeping the seeds on the inside, place in your tubs/bags, and close them up (make sure to keep plenty of air in the space if using bags). Place your containers in your chosen warm space. If using a heat mat, set the mat to 85F and place the hand towel on the mat, this will buffer temperature swings for your germination containers. AND THEN….the wait. Remember that hot peppers are slow to germinate so patient persistence is the key here. Check the seeds daily for any sprouting roots that may have emerged.
During the waiting period, prepare your pots and soil for transplanting. Our preferred soil mix for hot peppers is 70/30 ratio of light, airy potting soil (we like Eko potting soil) to coarse grain sand for proper air space and drainage. Bring back the hydrogen peroxide and mix with the H2O2 at a ratio of 1 tsp of hydrogen peroxide per 1 cup of water. Make enough water to thoroughly water your soil. This mixture will help control fungal attacks and provide nutrient uptake support for your newly sprouted plantlets. As you notice roots begin to pop from your seeds, transfer them to your soaked soil, making sure to plant them ¼” deep and with the root pointing down. Sprinkle a light layer of soil over the top of your seeds and lightly press them down to reduce “helmet head” from occurring (when the seed doesn’t come off of the seedling).
That’s all there is to it! As your seedlings grow be sure to provide them with plenty of light, warmth, and ventilation/airflow. Good sowing and happy growing!