2014 The Year of the Pepper

Posted by filmost on Wed, 03/05/2014 - 14:53

Last year I found out that I really dig (pun) gardening. Let this be the start of my 2014 grow log.

Forget the horse, this is Year of the Chile. Ever since I was a child, I have always loved spicy foods, and what better way for a spice addict to express their love of the burn than to grow their own hot peppers. While hot peppers won't be the only things I grow this year, they do make up a big chunk of what I have planned.

To start, the following is are all my starts that have sprouted as of today's date. Most of these were started on January 4th with others following after I had acquired the seeds; all are about a month old give or take a week.

Chiles (Hot & Sweet)

  • Naga┬áJolokia x 2
  • Habanero x 3
  • Poblano x 2
  • White Habanero x 2
  • Fatalii x 2
  • Jalapeno M x 3
  • Corno di Toro x 3
  • Rocoto de Seda x 2
  • Rocoto PI 355812 x 3
  • Unknown (Semillas.de) x 2
  • Giant Mexican Rocoto x 1
  • Unknown (Gotrox) x 2


  • Cherokee Chocolate Tomato x 2
  • Sweet Basil x 2
  • Blue Tomato Seiho x 2
  • Yubari Melon x 3
2014 Starts and Overwinters
2014 Starts and Overwinters

The seeds were started by soaking them in a 0.3% hydrogen peroxide* solution---1 part H202 to 10 parts water---to help prevent damping off later on and to help soften the seed casing. After a 24hr soak, on January 5th the first round of seeds were either planted into a seed tray, small solo cups, or were placed into coffee filters inside Ziploc bags. Since then I have been using the coffee filter method exclusively.

* In Japan, 3% hydrogen peroxide is sold at drug stores as "Oxydol".

Ten days after planting the seeds, I finally got my first hooks. And for the next couple of days after that the rest of the hooks followed. By January 21 most of the first round of seeds had all sprouted. About a week or so later I potted up all the seedlings into 3-inch pots and placed them inside DIY grow boxes.

DIY Grow Box
DIY Grow Box

My grow boxes are made from recycled cardboard boxes I had lying around. I cut out an access door on one side of the boxes and then lined the insides with mylar. For lights, I have CFLs attached to the top of the boxes (hence the need for an access door) which have been working fairly well.

Overall I think things have been going fairly well, however I do get the feeling that growth has been rather stunted. After reading this thread on thehotpepper.com I am fairly certain it has to do with my using 100% coco coir instead of a mix with perlite and other organic material. It appears I need to get on top of feeding with some light fertilizers if I want to see any real growth before plant out. Guess we'll see what happens!