This is my third year growing peppers and, not surprisingly, my collection of varieties keeps expanding - from 2 (2014) to 10 (2015) to 16 this year. Of course, I only have a limited amount of space for peppers in the garden – this year I’ll be squeezing them all into one 8'x4' bed – so I’ll be growing only 1 or 2 plants for most varieties.
|Pepper Seedlings - 5 weeks old|
The majority of new additions this year are sweet varieties: Chervena Chushka, Feher Ozon, Carmen and Odessa Market. In addition, I’ll be giving a bell pepper variety, Orange Blaze, a try. The seeds were sent to me in error when I ordered some Orange Blossom tomato seeds last year. Bell peppers are not usually the best producers (my one experience with them a couple of years ago was pretty bad), but I just didn’t feel right tossing the seeds aside without giving them a try first. I'll also be doing repeats of all the sweet varieties from last year (Jimmy Nardello, Stocky Red Roaster & Melrose).
|2016 Pepper Varieties|
Last year, I had a couple of seeds that germinated, but then failed to come up once sown. By the time I realized there was an issue, I had already gotten rid of the “extra” seeds. This time round, when I sowed the final seed for each variety, I also sowed all of the remaining seeds in the same pot, which gave me that extra bit of insurance in case any of the pre-germinated ones failed to come up.
I have the exact number of each variety that I need, so no juggling things around this year, which is a first! I decided to keep the seedlings on the heat mat at this early stage. The one issue with this is that they tend to dry out a lot faster - I inadvertently let them get too dry a couple of times, but they have since recovered & I've been more mindful of their thirstier ways.
I usually like to pot up the peppers once they have their 2nd set of true leaves, which has been around early to mid April for the past couple of years. This time round, some of them are ahead of schedule (perhaps due to their toasty home?):
|Several seedlings that are ready to move into larger quarters|
And while my seedlings were nice and warm inside, outside an ice storm slowly tracked through Southern Ontario.
Beautiful? Yes. But the 8 hour power outage we had was not appreciated!