Germinating seeds can vary from easy to difficult
“Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.” Elizabeth Murray
The Art of the Garden
As any seasoned gardener will tell you, gardening is an art and a true labor of love. The art of the garden begins with learning about the needs of each seed. Germinating seeds is not a black and white “by the book” process. Each seed type is different and desires different conditions and levels of patience. Some, like the Radish and many Lettuces, only ask for a little water and a few days. Others, like the Hot Peppers and some Perennial flowers, need specific temperature and humidity and MONTHS to germinate!
In this post we will give you some basic tips for successful germination, information of the various seed “types” followed by a chart detailing expected germination times of specific seed varieties.
The “Must Know”s for Successful Seed Germinating
Sowing the seed
Most seeds germinate best at warm (70°F) temperatures. Plants from temperate regions, the arctic, high mountains and high deserts often germinate best at cool temperatures. Plants from winter-rain areas like California, the Mediterranean, Chile, S. Africa and parts of Australia also like cool temperatures. Warm temperatures will often speed germination of these seeds, but lower vigor, survival and germination rates. Warm desert plants and tropical seeds like warmth. Please refer to the germination chart below for guidance on germination temperatures for specific seed varieties.
Seed Types and General Germination Tips
Below you will find a chart of specific germination times for many popular garden seeds:
For detailed information on HOW to germinate Pepper Seeds, click HERE
Set yourself up for success!
Other important factors in seed germination are the Soil mix and pH, Pre-treatment of seeds, optimal hours of light, and various seed germinating techniques. We will be addressing these issues in upcoming posts so stay tuned!
Knowing what to expect from your specific seeds and how to best care for them will help set you up for successful germination and save you the concern of wondering “when will my seeds germinate?!”
“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” Swedish Proverb
Peppers have always been one of the most popular vegetables in the home garden
Peppers in the Garden
There is such a great number of unique and delicious pepper seeds available that more and more home gardeners are trying their hand at growing from seed. Peppers come in a great variety of colors, shapes, sizes and flavors and are second only to Tomatoes as the most popular food in the backyard garden.
Growing peppers from seed can be a challenge but, armed with knowledge and persistence, even the most beginner gardener can successfully grow a great variety of peppers.
5 Tips for growing Peppers from Seed
When to Start Pepper Seeds:
Start seeds at least 10 and preferably 12-14 weeks (if you live in a northern climate with a shorter growing season) before the last frost date for your area.
Germinating Pepper Seeds:
Pepper seeds need moisture, a fairly warm temperature, air, and light for best germination. When choosing a soil make sure it is light and well draining (not “potting soil”) to be sure the pepper roots get get both air and water. A good choice for starting pepper seeds is a commercial peat-lite type seed starting soil directly from a newly opened bag (to be sure that the soil is weed free). Peat-based soils contain a live bacteria that helps to prevent mold growth. Chile seeds germinate at soil temperatures of 75° – 90°F (20° – 35°C) with 85°F (30°C) being ideal. You can use a heating pad or an old electric blanket combined with an pocket thermometer, Electric Soil Warming Cables or “plant propagation mats” found in nurseries and hardware stores.
Soak Seeds BEFORE Planting:
Soaking your seeds before planting will help soften the seed hull. An easy way to soak the seed is to place the seeds in a small sieve and dip it into a cup or bowl of warm water. If any seeds float, dab them with your finger to break the surface tension. Some believe that the “floaters” generally do not germinate as well and/or produce stunted plants. Allow the seeds to soak overnight. (NOTE: this is the “true” organic gardening technique. Some gardeners prefer to soak their seeds in a chemical mix. If you are looking for that technique you will have to search elsewhere as we only promote organic techniques.) After rinsing your seeds, place them on several layers of paper towels to absorb the extra moisture. You are now ready to plant your seeds!
Plant Pepper Seeds:
There are a variety of different seed starting containers commercially available. Some that are recommended specifically for starting pepper seeds are the: Gro-Packs, Styrofoam 40-cell trays from A. P. Systems, Peat Pellets or Peat Pots. Regardless of what container you choose to use you will need to tightly cover them, either with saran wrap or a fitted clear plastic dome. Covering after watering will create a “hothouse” environment- ideal for pepper seed germination! The seeds are set on the surface of the soil (the soil should be MOIST not too wet), one per cell and sprinkled with another light coat of potting medium, then given a light mist of water from a hand pump sprayer. Cover tray with the saran wrap or clear plastic dome and set on heating mat/blanket or other warm place like on top of your refrigerator.
Do not set a domed flat in direct sun! It can cook the seeds.
Remove the dome once to every other day to let fresh air get to the seeds and mist spray the soil if needed. Some chile seeds take a long time to germinate (70-90 days or more) , but they should do so using these instructions. So don’t give up! Once the seedlings are up, remove the plastic dome cover, but do not let the soil dry out. If the seedlings are allowed to wilt, they may not die, but their growth will be set back.
Transplant Pepper Seedlings:
Seedlings should be transplanted to a 3 or 4 inch pot as soon as the first true leaves are fully unfolded, and the second pair of true leaves is just beginning to develop. About two weeks before you plan to transplant your seedlings to the garden you should begin “hardening off” (exposing the seedling to more sunlight and wind). No matter what type of pepper you grow, they like the weather hot. Transplant pepper seedlings outdoors after the last chance of frost has past. If the weather is still cool, delay transplanting a few days, and keep them in a coldframe, indoors or next to the house.
Peppers should be spaced 18-24 inches apart, in rows 24 to 36 inches apart. This spacing may vary somewhat by variety.
Pepper plants prefer moist soil. Avoid wet soil. Water regularly in the hot, dry summer months.
Add mulch around the peppers to keep down weeds, and to retain moisture.
Watch them grow and enjoy!
When your Peppers are ripe and ready to be indulged, click here to check out our delicious recipes for cooking with even the hottest peppers!!
Peppers can be picked as soon as they reach a size which is edible.
The Hottest Peppers on Earth can be great ingredients!
The hottest peppers on earth are intimidating just to look at and most of us are at a loss of how and what to cook with them!
As we explored in a previous post about the History of The Chili Pepper there are many Chili Peppers that have been revered through much of history.The world market demand for Hot Chili Peppers consistently increases. It would seem that we really do believe “the hotter the better”. This could be attributed to what is known as the “The chili high” that occurs due to the bloodstream being flooded with endorphins, after we eat a spicy pepper, as a form of pain relief.
The current Top Ten Hottest Chili Peppers each have a different look, flavor and appeal and, with a little practice, each can be appreciated for its unique culinary qualities.
The World's Current Top Ten Hottest Chili Peppers
When cooking with these peppers, use care and caution. The oils can be irritating to your skin and it is generally recommended that you wear gloves when handling any of these peppers (ESPECIALLY the top 2!).
For variety, different peppers may be substituted in these recipes, however, keeping in mind the increased level of heat intensity, you may wish to decrease or increase the amount of pepper used based on your personal taste preference.
Hottest Pepper Recipes
1. Ghost Pepper Chili Cream Sauce and Coconut Crusted Monkfish
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 onions, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup cream
- 3 Ghost Pepper (Naga Jolokia) chilies
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 1 large monkfish fillet
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable oil
- Place Ghost Pepper (Naga Jolokias) chiles in a small pot, cover with water. Bring to boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes until the chiles are softened.
- Take the chilies out of the pot and blend into a paste in a food processor, adding a tablespoon of the water from the pot if necessary.
- In a skillet, heat butter and add onions. Saute until translucent. Add the chili paste and cook for another minute.
- Add cream and stir well to blend. Simmer for a few minutes until the cream reduces by 1/3. Blend and strain, then keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.
- Slice the monkfish into 1 inch rounds or other shapes, if desired.
- Whisk the egg a little bit in a bowl.
- Combine the flour, coconut, and salt in a shallow bowl or plate.
- Heat oil in a skillet.
- Dip the monkfish rounds into the egg, and coat with coconut-flour mixture. Place in a skillet and fry for a few minutes per side.
Serve monkfish with Jasmine rice and top with Ghost Chile Cream Sauce.
Devil’s Tongue Salt
- Toast the chilies in a skillet on a high heat for a few minutes
- Place in spice grinder along with a little bit of orange peel and the coarse sea salt. Pulse all ingredients together a few times.
This salt would is a great addition to many different dishes according to an individual taste.
Pork Meatballs with Chocolate Habaneros
- 1lb ground pork
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 1 egg
- 6 Chocolate Habanero Peppers (or, 3 Ghost Peppers) -very finely diced
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mix all ingredients except cheese in a large bowl until well combined
- Divide meat mixture into 8 portions and roll into balls
- Put a little of the shredded cheese in each meatball and seal the hole
- Place meatballs on a cookie sheet or in an ovenproof casserole dish
- Bake for 25 min at 350
- Without taking meatballs out of the oven, increase temperature to 450 and continue to cook for 11 to 14 more minutes, until meatballs are slightly browned
- Remove from oven and serve immediately or they can be refrigerated and reheated
Hot Peppers are also delicious in pickling, salsas and a variety of sauces. Get creative with your peppers and you will find the spice will continue to grow on you!
Enjoy your cooking and Happy Endorphin rush to you!
The Hottest Peppers on Earth can be great ingredients!