Waukesha Garden Blog

Adventures in a Wisconsin Garden (Zone 5)

   Mar 23

Bhut Jolokia – March 23rd, 2011

Just a real quick picture update with the Bhut Jolokia.

A Bhut Jolokia plant. About 9 weeks from planting.

You can see the plants are getting to be a pretty big size now. A few have roots poking out of the bottom to the pots already, so I might move a few to larger pots.

   Mar 07

Bhut Jolokia Update – Mar 7th, 2011

A Bhut Jolokia seedling after about 7 weeks

Just thought I’d post a quick update on the Bhut Jolokia seedlings. There are coming along very nicely now, and most are fairly good sized seedlings already. You can also see they’ve taken on a much deeper green color then previously. They’ve received two applications of Miracle-Gro fertilizer, but otherwise it’s just been water and artificial light. Now that they are in pots, I am no longer providing any sort of bottom heat.

   Mar 07

Pepper Planting – Wave 2

Last weekend I started the rest of the pepper seedlings I will growing this year.

I’ve decided this year to reduce the variety of peppers that I’m planting, so I ended up settling on just 10 different types (excluding the Bhut Jolokia). This is down a bit from the 17 types I grew last year. Although I’m reducing the variety of peppers that starting, I hope to actually get more pepper plants in the ground. With the Bhut Jolokia plants, I’m hoping to have about 70 or so pepper plants.

This year I ended up starting two seed trays worth of seedlings. I get 50 peat pellets to a tray, so I’m starting 100 plants. In the first tray I have 10 each of the following types : Fatali, Pequin, Serrano Tampiqueno, Datil, Habanero peppers. For the Fatali and Pequin, I used left over seeds from last year. For the rest, I purchased new seeds.

In the second tray, I started 10 each of the following; Shishito, Thai Dragon, Cayenne Long Red Slim, Takanotsume, and Commandant Hybrid. For the Shishito, I again used left over seeds from last year. The rest I purchased new this season. The Commandant Hybrid is the only bell pepper I have planted this year.

After I got all the seeds planted, I went ahead and put a humidity dome on the tray and parked on a heat mat. I set the thermostat for 81 degrees and again set everything on a sheet of Tek Foil insulation. After 7 days, there are a couple seedlings already popping up. All of the Datil variety.

   Feb 22

Burpee Herb Garden

I was at The Home Depot the other day getting some hardware to rehang grow lights and I stumbled across this Burpee Complete Herb Garden. I’ve heard you can effectively grow herbs under fluorescent grow lights, so I figured I’d give it a go.

Burpee Complete Herb Garden

I went ahead and followed the instructions, which indicated I should put the included coir pellets in the pot and add water. Unfortunately the pot has very large holes, so I had to add water very slowly to allow time for the coir pellets to absorb it. Eventually though, I got all the coir pellets expanded. After that it was as simple matter of planting the seeds and parking it under a light.

It only took a few days for the sprouts to come up and I now have a several different herbs growing. I planted some of the parsley, oregano, and chive seeds. I opted to leave out the basil.

The pot isn’t very big, so I don’t know how long til the herbs out grow the pot. Additionally, the pot is “100% biodegradable” and made from rice hulls. Not sure how long it takes to start ‘degrading’, but hopefully it won’t be until I’m done with it.

   Feb 17

Potted Up

It’s been a little over a month since I planted the Bhut Jolokia seeds, and the time has come for me to move some of the seedlings to pots.

Bhut Jolokia seedling in a 4in peat pot.

I planted 29 seeds and I’ve ended up with 22 seedlings. Out of those 22, 16 are ready for larger pots. The rest are still fairly small, and have just recently set their first true leaves. I’ll leave these in the garden tray under the humidity dome until they are a bit larger.

For the ones that have their second set of true leaves, or more, I’ve gone ahead and put them in 4″ peat pots. The 4″ pots may seem quite large, but I’ve found I get larger seedlings and larger plants with the 4″ than I have with 3″ pots. They do occupy a lot more space, but I think it’s worth it in the end. If space is an issue, I’d recommend the 3″ as you can get quite a few more in a garden tray.

For soil, I’ve just used a basic seed starting mix from the local garden center. I fill each pot about 2/3′s of the way up and then set the plant in. I then fill the pot up to the level of the peat pellet’s top. I don’t bury any of the stem when I’m potting up my peppers, like I do when potting up Tomatoes. I also don’t compact the soil much while planting. It’ll settle a bit over the next day or two, and I’ll top up the pots as needed.

Once all the seedlings are potted up, I place them all in garden trays and add water. I always put the water in the tray and let it soak up rather than watering the individual pots. The seed starting mix is very loose and it’s get moved around a lot if you water directly into it. I will occasionally apply small amounts of water / fertilizer with a spray bottle to the top of the soil, but I primarily bottom water my seedlings at this stage.

I’ve also removed them from a the heat mat. At least for now they are still upstairs in the house, so the air temp is still in the 60′s all day long. I’m not sure if they’d still benefit from heat mat or not, but I don’t have enough mats to keep everything heated at this point. I’ll need the mats for starting more seeds soon!