Saturday, February 12, 2011

Started The Peppers

I started the peppers this week, along with some spinach and lettuce.  Peppers take forever to grow, last year I didn't get a good crop of fruit until late August.  I wanted to get a jump start this year.  I plant three different varieties : "Ancho" poblano, "California Wonder" bell and some sort of jalapeno whose name escapes me right now.  I'm also trying something new this year, growing seed I collected myself last year.  I've done this before with lettuce, herbs and bok choy, and squash, but not peppers.  I collected the seeds from a ripe "California Wonder" bell, but I'm not sure if the different varieties cross pollinate.  I may get some sort of mutant pepper.  Maybe an "Anchojala Wonder" pepper.   That would be....... interesting.  I started some "California Wonder" seed that I bought, too.  Just in case I end up with "Anchojala Wonders" and they're horrible.

I like to sow as much indoors as I can for two reasons: 1) I cover the garden bed with used bedding (straw) from the horse's stalls after everything dies back in fall.  It stays like that until spring to prevent weeds from growing and enrich the soil. The straw also helps protect anything I'm trying to overwinter. In spring, after I've harvested the overwinter-ers, the bedding gets tilled in with the tractor.  Until the tilling, it's not wise to plant too much out there.  I'd just have to move it, or convince my husband to try to negotiate around it with the tractor.  Fat chance.  2) I have free range chickens.  I can manage to keep them out of the plants, but direct sown seeds don't stand a chance.  I have made some little "seed protectors"  out of scrap lumber and bird netting, but they tend to be a little bulky to store and move.  I only have a few of them, so I use them sparingly for things that I have to direct sow.  Anything that I can start in a flat gets started in a flat. 

"Flat" is a rather loose term.  I'm cheap, so I keep all kinds of little containers from fruit and yogurt to start seeds in.  I also use cheap plastic drink cups.  They last forever, so long as they don't get left outside too long.  My biggest problem isn't finding containers to sow in, it's finding trays to carry all my seedlings around in.  I find big plastic storage tubs to be pretty good for this.  They have lids, too.  So, you can close them up to keep the seeds from drying out until they sprout.  Or, keep the cat out.

I'm contemplating winter sowing a few things, too.  Some spinach, lettuce, maybe some flower seeds.  We'll see how motivated I feel this weekend. 

The celery is coming along quite nicely.  I'm going to need to thin it and transplant it into bigger containers soon.

For more seed starting fun from other bloggers, check out Seed Sowing Saturday , hosted by The Home Garden!


  1. I love the cups in the bin! I actually have started looking around my kitchen thinkg, hmmmm, what can I use next? I think I have those exact plastic cups. Thanks for the idea!

  2. I have that same 'tray' problem. I broke down and bought a cheapie under the bed storage container. It works great for holding cups, has a lid I can put on in case of rainy weather, and best of all; fits easily on my go-to get around the garden cart. Oh, and I spray painted the bottom black to help create more bottom warmth.

    We have 'free-range' squirrels. They make it painful starting seed or planting out seedlings. And, if they even look at my strawberries I'll cry. I've an idea for an easy to assemble and break down PVC frame to hold netting. Going to give it a try this week.

  3. Dear Shannon, I have long since given up all hope of growing vegetables, although I am trying Garlic in a pot. You seem to have a market garden coming along wonder you are on the lookout for more containers!!

  4. It looks impressive, Shannon. I use those red cups too to root rose cuttings:-). I love bok choi too.

  5. It will be very interesting to see what kind of peppers you end up with!

    @tervy - haha free range squirrels!


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