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Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

Posted by heirloomjunkie 5a (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 28, 10 at 16:22

I don't have a heat mat, and don't want to drop the money for one just yet. I know pepper seeds need a 75F to 85F soil/air temp to germinate, so...

I was thinking about setting the cells inside a small aquarium with a red heat bulb, and covering as much of the top as I can, to keep in the humidity. I've tested it out, and it reaches about 80F and stays steady. Will this dry out the soil too quickly? Or can it work if I keep an eye on it?

Kim


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

Do you have a heating pad laying around? That's what I use.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

I'm pretty sure I've seen the aquarium trick somewhere. I think they used a regular light bulb.

Maybe Doug Green from www.simplegiftsfarm.com

If you're concerned it might get too hot and dry, perhaps a timer (if you have one or want to purchase one)on the light and have it go off for 10 minutes every hour, or something like that. It might be worth experimenting with.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

I think that would work out fine.

If you are worried about it drying out too much/fast, you could set a small cup of water in with the seeds to help keep the humidity high.

Another idea.... I believe you are using shoplights fpr your other seedlings. Is there anyway you could set the pepper seeds on top of the light ballests? They warm up nicely. I know i could sneak a 1020 tray on top of my shop lights between the top (opposite of bulbs) and the bottom of the shelf they are hanging under. Not very sturdy but I don't think it would tip over or slide off.

Just an idea.

Keriann~


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

This is my first year of seriously starting my veggies from seed. I was on the fence about investing in a germinating heat mat due to the cost. After reading some homeade options used by members on the forums here, I decided to try the back of the fridge. The back of my main fridge fit too closely under the cabinets but I've had over 90% germination of my pepper, eggplant, tomato and herbs on top of a wine cooler. Used the plastic containers from Chinese takeout with jiffy pellets.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

Thanks for all the ideas! I got to thinking, since it's a good idea to cover the seeds before they germinate, could I put seran wrap on the top until they sprouted? Or would the soil get too hot w the light on it.

And once they do germinate, can they stand cooler temps? Like 70 to 75??

Thanks!


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

Yes, take them off the heat when they sprout, and remove the covering.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

I too use a heating pad (an older one without auto-shutoff). To maximize warming space, I germinated my seeds on moist paper towels stuffed in plastic sandwich bags. Once they sprouted, I popped them into their planting cells.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

I have forced air heating in the house. I just plunk my flats / trays /containers that require bottom heating on top of my floor registers for a few days. Usually I put a rack over the register and put the container ontop of that, but I have just put them on top directly too. It is not a consistant temp, it fluctuates, but my plants seem to like it fine.

What is the temp in the house? my house is usually around 70 degrees anyway, so it does not take much to bump up the container a little. Another way I can provide heating, although a bit less reliable is to place the container, covered with clear Mac Tac (or a large bag) in front of a sunny south facing window. It can heat up A LOT during the day.

My favourite container as of late is an under the bed storage bin, I cover it with clear Mac Tac while germinating, then uncover it once the germination is done. If there are a few stragglers that still need to germinate, I put them into a large ziplock so they are covered, but everything else is not. I can get about 18 plants in a ziplock (in peat pellets). They don't need headroom because I pull them out once they have sprouted.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

I would not use "cells", whatever they are. I would just put the seeds between folded paper towels, coffee filters, or something similar, moisten them, and seal in plastic sandwich bags. Place in your 80F aquarium, and in about 5 days, start checking for germination daily. When it happens, transfer each "sprout" to starting mix under strong lights.

I sprout almost all of my seeds in plastic sandwich bags inside folded damp paper towels. I put multiple bags (about 50 at the present time), inside a plastic starting tray with a clear dome cover, and set it on the top of my tropical aquarium lights.

I use a lightweight cardboard box or a foam sheet under the tray to keep them from getting too hot. You have to experiment to get the right temperature. My lights are on about 12 hours/day, and even when off, the seeds sit above an aquarium heated to about 78F, in my family room on the south side of my house, my warmest room. I usually get very quick germination.

Every day or two, I check all the bags for sprouted seeds, and move the new "seedlings" to my lighted "seed starting bench", down in my cold basement. When they outgrow that, they get moved out to the greenhouse.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

So I've decided on a 5 gallon bucket and a red heat bulb overhead. I've left the soil uncovered. Now, this may dry out the soil quickly, and I'm a bit worried about that, but i figured putting seran wrap over the cells would heat the soil too much. Any suggestions?

We'll see what happens...

Kim


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

  • Posted by edie_h 5 NY (Finger Lakes) (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 31, 10 at 1:35

Kim, you've got some good ideas for making sure your peppers sprout, but if this is your first time growing peppers I'd advise you to keep it simple. Many people simply plant pepper seeds into damp growing mix, and the peppers grow without any special care.

This year I re-used a one-pound strawberry box as a seedling container for my "Fish" peppers and it worked great. They're awesome for this purpose: deep enough to hold a few inches of mix, already has drain holes in the bottom, and comes with its own clear vented plastic greenhouse lid. Plus it's free, reusable, and recyclable. I'm never buying plastic "seed starter" trays again. I filled it with seedling mix, added seeds and water, and snapped the lid on. I placed it on a low shelf over the forced-air heating register until the first one sprouted.
I think they would have been fine if I put the container directly under the shop light, but I was impatient to see those shiny leaves.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

Thanks, edie. It heated up pretty quick in that bucket. I was happy with the temps at first, but it is warmer outside than it was yesterday. So the temp inside the bucket is 85 to 88F. Can it be too hot for these guys? I worried about them all day at work. :)

Kim


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

I usually keep seeds in moist soil near by heating vent covered with plastic bags and they sprout without any trouble.

I put my seedlings on window sill where they get 5-6 hrs sun light and they do good. No heating mat and no lights are needed. It really works for me.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

As a kid, I remember my dad putting flats of tomatoes and peppers on the top of the furnace.
Watered daily; never lost a crop.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

I just put my peppers in 8 oz plastic cups last weekend. I'm getting impatient and want to see some growth. I may put them on a heating pad until they sprout.

One note of caution on the heating lamp and the bucket. We had a neighbor who used a heating lamp to keep their baby ducks warm. Something came in contact with the lamp during the night and it started a fire. They lost the ducks and part of their home. Thank goodness the family was safe. Be very, very careful.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

Kim,

KISS! At this time of the year, you can put the containers in a window and the soil will warm quite nicely, especially if you have a cover over the container. Seeds don't require 85 degree soil to germinate - if they did we wouldn't have plants as the soil seldom gets that warm outside. They just germinate better and quicker.

Mike


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

Mike,

Haha. I did think I was overthinking this whole issue. But like others, I am simply impatient, and I don't want to screw something up!

The room they are in is always about 70 to 75 degrees (the joys of the second floor of an ancient farmhouse. ugh). So I may just nix the light tomorrow and set them on the sill like you said.

Thanks!

Kim


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

I started about 30 peppers in a growing cell container (burpee) and just used a standard 100 watt bulb about 8 inches away (no heating mat). 100% germinated. Then a shop light w/two kinds of bulbs, standard & daylight. Very cheap.


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

Dad use to sow tomato seeds directly into a tobacco seedling bed - outside, in March. We always had a few hundred plants ready to transplant by Memorial Day!

Mike


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

Well, five days after planting, I see a few coming up. Yay! I will try some next year, just by sitting them in the window and compare the results. Thanks for the help!


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

a question along with starting the bell pepper seeds... is what is the process/steps to go from an actual bell pepper (saving the seeds) to germinating the seeds?
found some delicious mini sweet red and orange bell pepps at grocer and want to try to grow them... just not sure how long, or if they need to dry out?


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

lenahall,
My Mom did that very thing. She loves the mini sweet red and orange bells. So- about a month and a half ago she saved the seeds from the ones she bought at wally world. She just pulled the seeds out of the peppers and gave them to me- no special prep. I sprouted them for her and so far they are doing great.

The thing is, I don't know if they will come back true. I suspect that the seeds will give her some random cross of different pepper plants and there is no telling what she is going to actually end up with.

It will be a learning experiece for her and I. If they are not true, maybe they will still be delicious.

Lynn


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

thanks lynn! i never have good luck keeping the green ones on the plant until they turn red anyways :(
i'll give these a try.... like you said, maybe they will still be yummy :)


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RE: Feasible way to start bell pepper seeds?

Most bell peppers available are hybrids. Doubt you will ever buy an open pollinated pepper in a grocery store.

Saving pepper seeds, even if you plant open pollinated varieties is chancy, as peppers, unlike tomatoes, are mostly insect pollinated, not self pollinated. If you grow more than one variety of pepper, you will likely get cross pollination, or poor results from planting seeds of hybrids.


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