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
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
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
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.