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How to grow hot peppers from seed - 7 Pot Club

Welcome to 7 Pot Club. I'm Rob.

(Singing) I grow hot peppers.

I'm super excited because today is hot pepper planting day. Feels like spring to me, although

it's snowing like crazy outside and the groundhog just saw his shadow and I know there's going

to be at least six more weeks of winter. But I don't care because it's warm and toasty

inside and we've got dirt and hot pepper seeds from all over the world, and everything we

need.

I've got these seedling trays. I'm going to plant the seeds in these trays where they

will sprout and remain for several weeks until they get large enough to transplant into these

seedling pots. There, they'll be all happy under lights and grow for a couple of months

until it's warm enough to transplant them outside here in Minnesota.

We've got so many interesting varieties this year, and because this is 7 Pot Club, I've

assembled more 7 Pot Varieties than I've ever grown before.

If you're not familiar with the Trinidadian 7 Pot Pepper, legend has it that one pepper

is hot enough to flavor 7 pots of stew. We may test that out in a future video. Anyway,

we've got everything we need here, so let's get started.

This year, I'm growing 82 different varieties of peppers. I think that's maybe more than

I've ever done before. Each one of these, when you add the 12 trays that's what a total of 72 in each

one, I'm planting two, so that's 144 different segments. I say segments because I do plant 2 to 4 seeds

in each one, and often I get more than one viable plant, and sometimes I'll get two or even

three plants out of each one of these six segments.

I have room down in the basement where I have my grow lights to grow 12 trays of 18 peppers

which I think is maybe 216? I'll check my math later. So, anyway, it's real easy to

make mistakes when you've got so many seeds, most of which look virtually identical. But

I have found some strategies to help me minimize the number of mistakes that I make.

On each one of these trays I use this silver Sharpie that you can get anywhere. I mark

on the trays Tray 1, Tray 2, and I mark them Front and Back, and then each one of the seedling

trays also gets marked with is it Tray 1 or Tray 2, this is the front of it, this is number

1, this is number 2, all the way through number 12.

So here's the chart that I made up. I made this up in a desktop publishing program, but

of course you can just as easily do this with pen and paper. It just matches the layout

of my tray with the individual trays in it. There are 12 trays in each one so that's 72

in each one. I'm going to be planting 144 all together, and I just have this laid out

the same way that the tray's laid out.

So that's how I keep things organized.

In this container we have potting mix. You can use any brand you'd like. This is a moisture

control potting mix which slowly releases moisture as plants need it. Potting mixes

don't contain dirt or soil. They're made from composted bark, peat moss, perlite and other

ingredients. Potting mix won't compact and inhibit root growth like soil will when used

in containers, and it contains nutrients your growing seedlings need. Add your mix and make

sure to tamp it down to completely fill each segment.

We'll begin with seedling tray 1 from base tray 1. I've referenced my chart and located

the indicated seed varieties - 7 Pot Barrackpore, 7 Pot Brainstrain Red, and 7 Pot Brainstrain

Yellow. Now, let's start planting. We have plenty of seeds, so I'm going to plant 3 or

4 in each segment.

I'm adding this voiceover at a later time, and I just have to laugh at myself for being

such a video newbie. Yes, I'm shooting from the wrong angle and you can't actually see

me placing the seeds. But trust me, I'm just dropping them on top of the potting mix, trying

to keep them a little ways apart. No special technique here. Tamp down the seeds (I use

a pencil), and make sure they're covered with at least 1/8" and no more than 1/4" of mix.

You can add a little mix on top, if necessary.

Then, mark your chart so you know those segments have been planted. You don't want to accidentally

plant two varieties in one segment, because you won't know which are which after they

sprout.

If you wait to tamp the seeds down until you have placed seeds in all segments,

then you'll be sure you haven't double-planted.

I want to say something about soaking seeds prior to planting. A lot of the top growers

recommend this, and I'm sure it helps germination. But I'm growing so many varieties that it

would add a significant amount of time and complexity to the process, and as a guy with

a day job, I just don't have that additional time. By using electric heat mats (more about

those later) and keeping the mix moist, I always get 90% germination or better. I'm

happy with that.

And there you have it. 6 segments planted. Only 138 more to go.

Now we're in my home office. My main grow room is in the basement, but I start the seeds

up here for two reasons. One, it's about 10 degrees warmer up here than in the basement,

and two, I can keep a close eye on the progress because I work at home and spend most of my

time here. I wanted you to see the Seedling Heat Mats before I turn them 90º and place

the trays on top of them. You just plug them in to raise the temperature approximately

10º.

These heat mats are part of Hydrofarm's Germination Station or you can buy them separately. The

Germination Station package includes the base tray, seedling insert, humidity dome and heat

mat. The seedling inserts are a one piece for all 72 segments, and they wore out after

a couple of years. Now I'm much happier using the 6-segment trays which fit perfectly.

OK, I've placed the base trays on the heat mats, and now I'll add water. The amount depends

on how moist your potting mix is, but I'm going to start with about 16 oz. in each tray.

Be sure to rock the tray after you add the water for even distribution.

Now I'll secure the domes on top of the base trays. Notice that I've sealed the ventilation

holes on the top and sides with Scotch tape.

Here are the trays the next morning. You can see from the condensation that it's nice and moist

in there, which is what you want for good germination.

While I'm waiting for the seeds to sprout, I'll set up the lights. So I have a couple

of old mic stands to I can use to suspend the lights over the trays. I've got two LED

grow lights over each tray. All LED grow lights emit colors in wavelengths that look very

weird and alien to human eyes, but the plants seem to like them.

I've got everything plugged in to a couple of power strips. The heat mats stay on 24

hours a day, while the lights are plugged into a timer and are on from 6 am to 10 pm

daily. I've placed them at the minimum height where the lights appear to cover their half

of each tray.

One week has passed since planting, and as you can see, quite a few seedlings have sprouted.

It can take as long as 2 or 3 weeks for some seeds to sprout, so this is a good start.

Now that we have sprouting, I've removed the tape from the ventilation holes so that there

can be airflow inside the dome. I spray the seedlings and the surface of the potting mix

daily and add water as necessary.

Sometimes, the seed hull doesn't drop off when the seedling sprouts. This means the

leaves can't emerge and the plant will die. If you're very careful, you can usually hold

the plant's stem in-between your fingers and pull off the hull with tweezers.

Two weeks after planting, most of our seeds have sprouted. We've got 93% germination in

tray 1 and 92% in tray 2. We still expect some more sprouting in the next week. Here's

a shot under normal light so you can really get a good look at them.

Thanks for watching. Gardening is such a fun hobby, and it's such a blast to plant seeds,

watch them grow, and even end up producing some of your own food. I hope that you're going

to be inspired to tray it yourself.

In the next video in this series, we'll transplant these seedlings into 3 inch pots and move

them down to our basement grow room, where they will be nurtured until it's time to move

them outdoors. We'll continue to follow the process throughout the summer all the way

through harvest time, and there's going to be a few surprises along the way, so please

subscribe to our channel. For 7 Pot Club, I'm Rob.