Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Seed Starting for 2010

There it is, my first sowing of Summer vegetable seeds. Those are all peppers, 28 varieties in 72 paper pots. There's 2 pots of each variety except for the sweet peppers at 4 pots each, and the Padrons at 6 pots. And here's what they are.

Bell Pepper, Madrid Bell Sweet **
Pepper, Nonbell Sweet, Donkey Ears*
Pepper, Nonbell Sweet, PI 593480 (Morocco)**
Pepper, Nonbell Sweet, Pimiento Cuerno de Cabra Chorrizero **
Pepper, Nonbell Sweet, Pimiento, De La Vera**
Pepper, mild, Aji (C. chinense)**
Pepper, mild, Christmas Bell (C. baccatum)****
Pepper, mild, Kaleidoscope (C. baccatum)***
Pepper, mild, Orange and Red Suave (C. chinense)
Pepper, mild, Puerto Rico**
Pepper, mild, Puerto Rican No Burn****
Pepper, mild, Scotch Bonnet Tobago Sweet**
Pepper, unknown heat, Puerto Rican Turban (C. chinense?)**
Pepper, hot, Aji Limo Rojo (C. chinense)***
Pepper, hot, Aji Pineapple (C. baccatum)****
Pepper, hot, Bogyiszloi***
Pepper, hot, Cayenne, Iberian Long**
Pepper, hot, Chimayo***
Pepper, hot, Drew's Chorizero
Pepper, hot, Espelette
Pepper, hot, Guyana (C. baccatum)***
Pepper, hot, Padrone Pepper
Pepper, hot, Poblano
Pepper, hot, Poblano San Luis*
Pepper, hot, Santa Cruz (C. baccatum)***
Pepper, hot, Tlostenna Dunajska Krajova**
Pepper, hot, Topepo Rosso*
Pepper, hot, Viego Arruga Dulce**

* Plants grown in years past that I'm trying to grow again (old seeds)
**Seeds acquired in 2009 but not used
***2009 seeds started last year but murdered before they could produce anything
****Seeds that I saved in 2009 or earlier
No asterisks means new seeds for 2010.
All are Capsicum annuum unless otherwise noted.

Notice how few pepper seeds I purchased for this year. Hah, that's just because I got so carried away last year when I finally got my Seed Savers Exchange yearbook and requested far too many varieties than I had room for in my garden. The 2009 seeds had priority over new seeds for this year. And I also had to retry a number of varieties that I started last year but managed to screw up. So, I only bought new seeds for must have plants that my seeds were too old for plus a couple I couldn't resist from Teleri that she sent in exchange for some caper seeds.

I drape foil over the sides of the lights to reflect as much light as possible onto the seedlings. The heat mats are on and the lights are on an automatic timer.

Once the pepper seeds have emerged and have grown a true leaf or two they will start spending their days outside (weather permitting) and nights (and rainy days) on the living room floor. The schlepping in and out gets a bit tiresome when I plant the little pots up to 4" pots. I'm considering planting them out extra early and protecting them with something - a row cover tunnel, water bottle cloches, wall-o-waters (there's some in the garage somewhere). As soon as the peppers vacate the seed starting setup I have to get the tomato and eggplant seeds going.

The seed starting setup has been put to good use already this year. Earlier I sowed paper pots of various spring vegetables, most of which have already been planted out or potted up to 4-inch pots. They did very nicely under the lights without the heat mats on.

Below are shown some Piracicaba broccoli, Romanesco Natalino, Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage (thanks Pam), and Welsh Bunching Onion (thanks Emma) in the 4-inch pots. There's a couple 4-in pots of cippollini onions that aren't germinating well which is rather disappointing since they are new seeds. In the paper pots are Devoy beets, Butterhead lettuce (thanks Jennifer), Yellow Wonder Strawberries, and Azure Star kohlrabi. All of those in the paper pots except the strawberries need to be planted out in the garden as soon as I can get to it.

Here in the garden are some starts that I planted out last week, these include Even'star American Rapa, Hon Tsai Tai (thanks Josh), Saisai Purple (thanks Pam), Pancallieri A Costa Bianca frisee, Mizuna, and Golden beets (under the water bottle cloches). I'm growing just a couple plants of each of some of these since I'm not sure that I will even like them.

I've filled in some of the gaps in the beet bed with some more Chioggia beets which are under the black flats to protect them from the birds.

And here's a few Gigante kohlrabi plants. Maybe this year I'll beat the rats to them.

Some new Bok Choy seedlings (thanks again Josh), again they are under flats to protect them from munching birds. Not shown nearby are two Senposai seedlings.

So that's it so far for new stuff in the garden for 2010. There's lots more to come! Oh, I have to add that the only seeds that I purchased for the spring veggies were the cippollini onions (crummy things!), strawberries, devoy beets, and golden beets. The rest of the seeds came from trades or from seeds that I had purchased last year or before.


  1. Wow, Michelle, so much going on ! Oh how I envy your climate. :)

  2. You are a marvel. 28 varieties of peppers??!!! Wow. Impressive as always! When are you setting up your farm stand?

  3. Holy Moly - that is alot of pepper varieties! Great to see the garden being filled with your early crops and the warm season ones coming along right behind them. I am a few weeks behind you - but not that many!

  4. Hi Michelle! That is an amazing assortment of peppers!! I meant to comment on your carrot harvest - I had lots of carrots that look so similar - I'm glad I'm not the only gardener with odd looking carrots!

  5. So many pepper varieties! Last year I had 6 varieties and I don’t remember which ones I liked and which ones I didn’t like as much.
    Your garden looks very promising.

  6. I'm always amazed by how many peppers you grow. I don't have nearly the space for that many and I probably won't start my pepper seedlings until the end of March.

  7. miss m, I used to take my wonderful climate so much for granted until I started reading garden blogs from cold climates. It makes me ever so grateful to be gardening where I do!


    Karen, Not so much a marvel, just crazy I think! I just can't resist all the many varieties of interesting peppers, and I'm not even tempted by the really fiery ones like so many true "chileheads". Maybe I should open up a pepper stand next fall, if they all survive and produce (not likely) it'll be far more than I use myself.


    kitsapFG, Oh yes, spring is in the air here and I've got chile fever! I've even noticed that the days are getting a bit longer. :) Although, once official summer arrives it doesn't get all that warm here, we have to wait a few months for the fog to retreat.


    Jane, If I lived in your climate there would be no saving me from chile pepper insanity. I had more funky looking carrots than usual from this batch, perhaps there's more chunks in the soil from the compost I dug in or it's because of the mole that was pushing things around in there.


    Vrtlarica, I had a lot of chiles last year and fortunately they didn't all produce well, but I did some tastings to see which ones I really liked. There are a few that I won't bother with again, some that I'm growing again this year, and a few others that I might grow again next year or later.


    Daphne, I suppose it's fortunate for me that peppers produce late here because of our cool summers, it limits the amount I have to deal with. There really isn't enough room in my garden for all the peppers I've sown, so I'll be growing a lot of the small fruited ones in pots. I want to try some of them next to the house where it's warmer to see if they will produce earlier.

  8. So many pepper varieties! Wow! I admire you for your veggie gardening skills. Do you grow the strawberries from seeds? How long do they take to germinate?

  9. Chandramouli, you can call me the crazy pepper lady. :) The strawberries are from seed and they only took about a week to germinate under grow lights indoors. They are a wild type of strawberry, small and not as juciy as typical strawberries but much more flavorful.

  10. OMG! sunshine, things growing!!!

    January was so cold and snowy and I've been so distracted with my studio spring clean that seed sowing was not on the to-do list.

    But I have potatoes chitting and the tomato seeds have been bought... more sleet forecast tonight.

    I'll catch up :-)


    PS Hurrah! - I can painlessly see your blog and add a comment while listening to repeated radio plays I've missed and sort of doing digital illustrations too. Multi-tasking heaven has returned to my studio as last.

  11. Wow, I wish I have room to grow that many varieties of pepper, I shall come here for pepper advice next time.
    This year I'm trying out Rocoto and Paprika, Aji will have to wait until next year.

  12. I am so jealous of your workable soil! We are frozen solid until April. Looks like you will have another wonderful selection of peppers this year. I made breakfast burrito's this morning and thought it would be so much nicer with green chili sauce on it. Is it summer yet....

  13. Oh, this is so exciting! I'll be doing the same very soon, although we don't grow nearly as many varieties of peppers as you do! The seeds I sent - Espelette and Drew's chorizero - aren't hot varieties, though. The chorizero is very mild, just spicy really and the Espelette is slightly more peppery, but nothing like chilli. I like it because I can't eat very hot peppers.

    Good luck with them all!


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